Say yes to the request.

#14 in my series of Lessons Learned blog posts
Don’t be afraid to say yes; it doesn’t always mean you’ll get more work.

2010 was the year of saying yes … but not necessarily getting more work as a result. This was unexpected for me. I’m accustomed to responding to numerous requests from senior administrators, department heads, faculty members … in my pre-creative services life, they were looking for something web- and technology-related, and they came to me for help. Yes, we can design a web app to respond to that business need. Yes, we’ll build a tool that generates simple web forms. Yes, we’ll lead a web redesign.

In the past: yes = project begins (i.e., more work)

Perhaps it’s the nature of communication and creative work. I’m finding that on more than one occasion, I say yes and then I wait. Is communication a lower priority? When your department is overloaded, is communication the thing that can slide? Is it the effort that you can delay until next academic year?

Note: I can’t say I follow up with the requester in all instances. But depending on who I’ve said yes to, I do sometimes check in and ask about getting started on that creative work we agreed to do. I decided many, many years ago that if I waited for people to give me what I needed to get something done, I’d never accomplish anything.

It doesn’t go without saying: if you have a reputation for saying “yes” on your campus that translates into being viewed as responsive and action-oriented. These qualities are rare in higher ed. So you’ll stand out. A good thing.


Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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