In a survey of more than 2000 employees across all professions and sectors of the United States economy, researchers found that when academic and/or private sector institutions set the highest ethical standards within a workplace, employees responded with a greater commitment to their work, improved loyalty, and greater enthusiasm for making impactful contributions. Establishing a “Doing the Right Thing” culture within an academic institution – without cutting corners – leads to more ethical and productive behavior on the part of the administration, faculty, students, and staff, while building trust within the organization as a whole.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast, a phrase originated by Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields, President at Ford, and an absolute reality! Any university that disconnects these two elements jeopardizes institutional progress in an ever-changing academic environment. Changing an organization’s culture in times of rapid change, and adapting to such changes, has been recognized as one of the most difficult leadership challenges in medical education and academic medicine. In order to succeed, there must be clear communication and alignment at the executive level in institutional leadership so that expectations are well-aligned, institutional directions are clearly communicated, and goals, strategies, and tactics are fully articulated to university faculty and staff. As our college advances rapidly toward full accreditation, organizational change has become the ‘new normal’ for all of us, raising the question of how to best thrive without losing sight of true North on our compass.