You Win With People
By Frank Polen, ECMC Foundation Fellow
It may be fair to say that if you have not had the opportunity to experience Gateway Technical College (Gateway), you have not fully experienced career technical education (CTE).Gateway is a bar raiser. From their top notch administrative staff, to the high tech modern labs, Gateway encompasses it all.
With delays in travel, the stress all quickly vanished when Gateway President Dr. Bryan Albrecht began by welcoming our group. His passion, his sincere love for what he does and the connectivity with his staff was very uplifting.
Dr. Albrecht and his administrative staff aligned to my beliefs. In my home state of Ohio, legendary Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes is revered for his statement, “You Win With People”—I believe that the leadership at Gateway live by this as well.
In education and business alike, it is quite easy to say what your culture is, to post your mission and vision statements; however, it is entirely different to live it. From their onboarding, and continuous professional development of their staff (now in version 5.0), to the fact that they could jab at one another in a professional setting, speaks to the volume about their relationships with one another. It is obvious that they love what they do and have a team that is built to each individual's strengths. I really liked how they hire people for what they can do, and they do not get caught up in how they do it—as long as it ultimately adds up to “the Why!”
Two tools I would like to learn more about and plan on implementing is determining program relevance and understanding when to combine and/or expand programs. Staying current in job markets, margins, and demands is paramount to CTE centers. Building a strengths-based culture would be the second. Having our staff go through the Clifton Strengths Assessment, or using a similar tool, would identify what our staff does best, and allows us to play what each individual does best everyday.
From being a servant leader by developing your individual leadership style, to learning more on managing managers, to being a role model in every way and everyday, to developing a strengths-based culture to tipping the floor—at this time of the year, just finishing one, and planning to begin another, the Gateway experience is in many ways the shot in the arm that I needed.
About the ECMC Foundation Fellow
Frank Polen is the Assistant Superintendent and Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Adult Education at Buckeye Career Center. He is an ECMC Foundation Fellow of the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program (PLSP) at ACTE – Sponsored by the ECMC Foundation. The program is part of ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative Initiative.