Within a month of being posted, “To Those Who Have Stayed” had 24,000 views. Author and higher education leadership consultant Megan Krone had no idea she would get that sort of response.
“I have been very much overwhelmed by how many people have reached out,” she said. “I just had total strangers pouring their hearts out to me. And I just felt like people are really hurting and don’t have space to put all these emotions. It was a lot, and I feel like the article gave them permission to feel that anger and sadness.”
Krone shared the article came about as part of the 100 Days of Writing Project she was co-coordinating with a friend. One daily prompt was “Write about someone who refused to change.” The prompt brought her back to her time in the industry of campus recreation.
“I just thought about higher ed in general. So it wasn’t like a particular person that came to mind. But I just had so many conversations with former colleagues, with coworkers,” said Krone. “I could just think about how frustrated I was for so many people that I really care about, and I think are amazing, especially for those in student affairs. I was frustrated for them.”
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So, what started out as a daily prompt turned into an article that has gone viral in the industry. In fact, Krone noted almost half of the views are from people emailing the article or direct messaging it to one another. And the feedback on the article points to teams starting conversations around the topic, which is a great first step in her opinion.
In addition, based on experience and feedback, Krone shared some insights she has gathered since writing the article:
- First, look at where the excitement over the article is as well as the resistance. Ask, “What parts of the change are people excited about? Who is excited about it?” and “Who is resisting? What are they resisting and why?”“You can learn so much from looking at any kind of resistance to change, because it can really show where the root of the issues are without judgment,” she said.
- Secondly, the industry and its leaders must acknowledge every single person is a full human being and they bring their full selves with them every place they go. “So, to get the best out of people at work, we have to support them in being their best selves everywhere,” said Krone. “That means building relationships with staff — learning about their strengths, their capacities, their needs, their interests — is also important.”
- Plus, it means building practices around individuals. Krone noted it’s a lot of work, especially when staff come and go. However, it’s essential to bring about a human-centric outlook. “To me, it’s the difference between equity and equality,” she said. “We focus on things being equal and fair and consistent. And I think that sometimes gets in the way of us keeping our best people because we’re not doing what they need. We’re doing what we think the general faceless employee needs.”
To help aid in learning about how to be a human-centric organization, Krone said to learn from the experts in the field of organizational practices, culture, etc. A few of her favorite resources are:
- Humanly Possible podcast with Angela R. Howard
- Work Life podcast with Adam Grant
- 10% Happier podcast with Dan Harris
Nearly two months after first posting the article, she’s not planning to let the momentum slow. Krone has two more articles lined up to help keep the conversation in higher ed going. And she hopes to continue to hear from those in the industry.
“I’m still very curious on this whole topic and would love to hear from more people, especially since I’m not in the field full time right now,” said Krone. “I’m hoping to keep learning more and writing more and talking more about it. Because again, I feel like it’s been helpful. At the very least, it’s been helpful for people and for me to get it out and for them to hear it.”
Contact Megan Krone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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