Bill Diskin answers a tough audience question: What if you enter a new role in an admission and enrollment office following a predecessor who left on bad terms?
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When you’re tossing and turning day after day, wondering how to do things the right way. When it suddenly hits you. The answer's so clear. Just reach out to those who will lend you an ear. Ask AISAP.
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And so, Bill, I have a question for you, as I would love to see if you can provide some intel and inspiration to those that, in fact, are feeling a little uncertain. So this question, in fact, has come from Keith. And Keith is asking the following. “I am a new director in my office of Admission and Financial Aid, and I am finding that my predecessor left not on the best of terms.
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How do I ensure that new ideas and actions are put into place without cannibalizing those few important kernels that were in fact done beautifully and succinctly?” What would you say to Keith?
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You know, certainly I don't know the ins and outs of this particular situation, but knowing what it was like to come into this school and as a new admission director, to me, there were some key things that I felt I needed to do early on. And the biggest one, I would say, is to establish relationships with the faculty and other employees.
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So the business office, the middle school faculty, the upper school faculty, the deans, the director of transportation, all of these people who are going to really play a vital role in what any success that the enrollment office thinks they're having is because of the hard work of those people in those other offices and other positions. And I would tend to think that just getting around the campus and interacting with as many of those people as possible in almost in informal ways, to just start to let people understand who you are and you're not here to upset or or to completely, radically change the things that are good about their experience.
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I think that goes a long way because then if they get to know you and get to begin to trust you, then you can make these incremental changes that you're going to need to make with their support rather than with them wondering who's this new person and why are they changing my world?
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And it's, I mean, it's a tricky situation because you don't know where the alliances have been and you can't automatically set up a new alliance just because you're the new person. But you can certainly respect each other and get to know each other and almost just move forward with an understanding that you have the best intentions in mind and that you believe that they have the best intentions in mind.
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And ultimately, if it's all going to be the right thing for the students and the families that you're working with, that that's what matters most.
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No, I think that that once again, brings forward this word dignity. Just because it was part of the past that perhaps wasn't as positive as one would have liked it to have been. It doesn't mean that it is completely wrong. So evaluate and assess, listen and lean in. And that's very much of what you're saying. And I really appreciate that.
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