Weekly Update – September 27, 2009

on September 27, 2009 in Weekly Update

Last week’s email left you hanging with only a partial explanation of Annual Priority #3.  I know you have been anxiously waiting for me to complete it, so I am going to jump right in. 

Annual Priority #3

Organizational Alignment and Development: Building organizational capacity and capability

There are four sections of this priority and last week I addressed the first, which focused on improving the alignment of our leadership and communication structures.  Sections two through four are: improve financial control, improve the performance of human capital, and improve the processes that support the operations of the College.

 Improve financial control:  First, we will focus on refining the college-wide resource allocation and budget methodology. The goals are improved decision-making, funding tied to the College’s strategic plan, and a clearer understanding by budget leaders of the budget development process and timeline.  We anticipate the process will be disseminated to users by the end of the semester.  It will not be static: it will be a continuous improvement process that redefines processes, measurements, assumptions, and focus, as needed.

A second area of focus is professional development, travel, and institutional representation at professional organizations.  While college leadership is committed to these areas, we need to define our vision, philosophy, and procedures for a strategic approach to each.  This does not mean that we intend to cut resources.  However, we need to understand how those resources are being invested and determine gaps and overlaps.  Similarly, we will be reviewing organization and association memberships.  There is an expectation that San Jacinto College (SJC) be represented at local, regional, state, and national events, but do we understand where we are present and why and where we are absent and why?

Improve the performance of human capital:  The faculty, staff, and administrators are the human capital of this college –you, the employees, are the heartbeat of SJC.  To reach the vision and goals of the future, we must invest in our people and, thus, recruit, retain, and develop our employees, while building great teams and a culture of trust.  For this next year, we are redefining the role of the human resource (HR) function in the organization.

We will continue to institute our performance management system, using the plan-do-check-act model.  We will assess the organizational wellness of the College, using a diagnostic instrument focused on ten factors: trust, learning, gratification, language, ownership, energy, change, interaction, creativity and innovation, and communication.  These factors have a significant impact on the workplace environment — they contribute to or take away from the “wellness” of our organization.  We anticipate rolling out this 10-minute survey in mid- to late-October.  The responses remain anonymous and provide a baseline for areas that we need to address in the future.

Improve the processes that support the operations of the College:  This area includes five actions with one, modernizing aging communication infrastructure, resulting in a significant outlay of dollars.  Our communication network switches are past their useful life and replacement parts are almost non-existent. This modernization will increase capability, system stability, and will enable the move to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) for phone and other communications.  After the initial investment and conversion, the College should experience reductions in operating costs.  In conjunction with the switch replacement and VoIP conversion, we have chartered a Call Center Task Force to assess the College’s Call Center and implement prioritized recommendations.

A second action under this priority is the creation of a culture of evidence that ensures employees are data informed. We have been operating under this premise for several years; but this year, we will place a greater focus on our data – both quantitative and qualitative.  I plan to focus on a culture of evidence in next week’s update, so I will not discuss it in depth today. 

Additionally as part of this priority, we will be defining a new framework for managing, reviewing, and updating the policies, guidelines, and procedures of the College. While we cannot get through a complete review process this year, we will develop a timeline for completion.  Plus, we will review the effectiveness of Banner business processes and establish an accountability matrix.  Banner has been our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for nearly eight years.  Some of you remember the good or bad old days of the previous legacy system, but Banner is our ERP for many years to come.  We must continue to find ways to use the system more effectively.

Finally, under this priority, we will define a college-wide strategy for Green initiatives.  A one-college Green Council has been chartered.  This is an interesting area and one that requires innovative thinking.  Some things that we have grown accustomed to result in point reductions under the criteria of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification (i.e. irrigated planters reduce points versus planting native vegetation without irrigation).  While committed to Green, we must understand the implications of our decisions, and I look forward to the recommendations from this Council.

WOW – Annual Priority #3 is a comprehensive one!!  Some items are strategic while others are operational, but their successful implementation will have a significant impact on the College.

In closing, I want to remind you that we are entering the sixth week of the semester, and many students may be seconding guessing their abilities. This is when some encouragement might be needed for just one more student.

Have a good week,


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