Categories: Colleges & Campus Opinions

From the CFO: Communication and Change Management

Gerald Hector, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance

Change is upon us here at UCF. Whether it was planned like the Knight Vision project, or unplanned like all we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, change is one of the only constants in our world and lives. I was once told by a mentor that when dealing with change, I must first take the time to understand why the change is necessary, juxtapose the change against what I perceive as normal in my sphere of influence, and finally assess how it will improve my circumstance. Once I have made those assessments and concluded that the change is warranted, I must take several additional steps over time; (i) embrace the change, (ii) champion the change and (iii) become the change. John Kotter in his landmark book “Leading Change” states that “vision connotates something grand or mystical, but the direction that guides successful transformations is often simple and mundane.” In essence, we must all strive to become vision carriers to drive positive and lasting change.

At UCF, each unit is a cog in a larger wheel. If any of the cogs aren’t functioning properly, our progress is limited and we can expect fits and starts as we work to achieve Dr. Cartwright’s vision for a culture of excellence. While it is our goal to work as “One UCF,” it is my earnest belief that many of us are in different stages in this process. I see and hear it in the interactions we have as we work on the different systems enhancements, and also in the messages and feedback we are receiving from campus constituents. However, like change itself being the only constant, we have also discovered that clear, crisp, and cogent communications about the change provide relief from the concern and anxiety that come along with it. The adage of “when folks don’t know, they make stuff up” is a truism that we cannot ignore, but tackle and confront head on. We can’t fix what we won’t face is the mantra that rings true.

The Division of Administration and Finance is committed to making every effort to ensure that communications are clear, crisp, and cogent, as well as consistent and timely. We heard from you about the gaps in timeliness that allow for conclusions to be drawn that are erroneous, or partially informed. Below are steps that we are taking to augment the various communication channels we have been utilizing up to this point with Knight Vision and other projects. We have created open forums, newsletters, emails, web pages, and informational videos, but we recognize that we need to do more.

This article is the first in a regular series that will allow the division to communicate directly to the campus on matters that impact all of us. Each installment will cover a different unit in our division to help campus stakeholders get to know the units, what they do for the university, and how to access them for assistance and other information. We also will cover topics such as campus utilities, Knight Vision, the new budget model and other matters of importance.

We also will launch an update series entitled “Dollars and $ense” to share quarterly updates on the university’s finances and administrative functions. These quarterly open forums will allow campus constituents to ask questions and be informed about key strategic initiatives that have been launched for our collective benefit. It also provides an opportunity for interaction among various constituent groups, which may help all of us understand how different units contribute to the university. The first of these presentations, scheduled for Oct. 15 from 9-10:30 a.m., will be virtual and focus on the university’s new budget model. To attend the meeting, click here.

We are excited about augmenting our current communication strategies to effectively carry out the change management initiatives here at UCF. We firmly believe within the Division of Administration and Finance that if our communications afford us all the opportunity to put our oars in the water, then the execution of rowing together in the same direction becomes easier. Without good communication, followed by effective execution, we will be in the same place a year from now rowing on the same spot. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “motion is not action.” We endeavor to have action on improving upon our goal of “One UCF” now and into the future. It starts with good communication.

Gerald Hector, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance
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