Selfish Silos

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What is it within Higher Education and Student Affairs where we tend to build such thick silos? And why, oh why, do we dare each other to try to knock them down, in the hopes that they will actually prevent any attempt of infiltration?

Let’s be honest, when we go to conferences and jump on #SAChat, we are all over talking about how we can collaborate and work on breaking those silos down. However, consider how many of us then return home or log off and make no forward motion on our thoughts, ideas or intentions?

As the famous Russian screenwriter, Sonya Levien once said, “Good intentions are not enough. They never put an onion in the soup yet.”

Unless we put action to words, put initiative into intent, we are never going to remove these immense silos.

So, why are we never able to make these silos come down? Why do we never make those actions for change? Why do we speak the truth but never practice it?

It’s simple. We are too selfish.

We are selfish with our careers. We are too focused on our professional path and making ourselves and our office look good. We’re so afraid of failure that we will only trust ourselves to meet our goals and expectations in order to get to that next promotion. As mentioned in today’s “Glorious Busy” #SAChat, we make ourselves seem busy and important to look as if we deserve our promotion, not realizing that all the time we are actually slamming doors and windows closed with our attitude.

We are selfish with our time. We are too focused on making sure we get out of the office on time, or too consumed with meeting soft deadlines that we don’t take time for colleagues and learning who they are and how they play into helping to serve our students.

We are selfish with our resources. We work so hard to get the few resources that we need for our offices that we hold on for dear life to them and never share.

We are selfish with ourselves. We focus everything on us, and our office, and how everyone can help us, collaborate with us, better serve us, we never take time to offer how to help another staff member, or office or program. We are also very protective of ourselves and never put ourselves at risk for betrayal, however without taking that risk, you can never find the huge successes either.

Perhaps if we were more selfless, we could break down some of these silos that are plaguing higher education institutions. Perhaps if we could remember that we are here for the students first, then we could break down some other silos. And perhaps if we practiced what we preached and felt both confident and humble to reach across to offer and accept help, we could break down still other silos.

How are you going to be able to break down some of the silos on your campus?

Until next time!
Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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