Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to see the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” in the theater and really enjoyed it. I especially liked the scenes where Mr. Rogers (played well by Tom Hanks) referred back to the songs that I remembered on his show from my childhood. I have come to know these songs and other Neighborhood of Make-Believe songs well. My daughter loves the “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” show (produced by Fred Rogers Productions) and I enjoy the music because I like how several of the songs are slight updates of Mr. Rogers’ originals. My family and I listen to Daniel Tiger songs all the time – and in them I hear a lot of Operational Excellence (OE) principles. After listening to these songs, I believe that OE is alive and well in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. In this blog, I will share how some of the lyrics to Mr. Rogers’ and Daniel Tiger’s songs illustrate the OE philosophy.
Topics: fred rogers, Saint Vincent College, SVC, Michael Urick, Daniel Tiger, Saint Vincent, Operational Excellence, blog, saint vincent professor, st. vincent professor, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog, Mr. Rogers
I believe in Santa Claus. And I believe that he practices Operational Excellence. After all, embracing Operational Excellence (OE) is the only way that he would be able to fly around the world delivering presents in one night!
In last month’s blog, I wrote about traveling this summer with the band I play in. But this summer wasn’t all just fun and games! I also traveled for academic purposes (okay, maybe those trips were little fun, albeit exhausting, too). In August, I first went to Boston for the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, the largest conference of management academics in the world. Then I flew home for a few hours before driving out to Lexington, Kentucky, with some of our exceptional Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) graduate students. I love summer but, as I mentioned in a blog three years ago, fall is my favorite time of year. I think one reason why is that I can get back into a standardized routine with less traveling once the semester begins.
Many people who know me as a professor and researcher are often surprised that I also lead and play music with a jazz/early rock/horn band called Neon Swing X-perience. Likewise, many people that know me as the vocalist and trumpet player for the band might also be surprised of my academic career. Yet, through many years I’ve tried to balance both roles and this summer was no exception. While I taught a summer class, helped to effectively recruit one of the largest classes our Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program has welcomed and worked on a half dozen research publications, I also found time to tour with the band.
I was infatuated with trains when I was a child, so it’s no surprise that “The Little Engine That Could,” the classic children’s story told since 1930 and published in several book editions by Watty Piper, was one of my favorites – and one that I now love to read to my child.
Many scholars and educators have contemplated the importance of a liberal arts education, so I do not seek to presume that I am stating anything new in this month’s blog. Rather, this month I aim to reflect on my view of the importance and meaning of a liberal arts education.
This month’s blog is a little more philosophical in nature than some of my other blogs because I’m writing about miracles. Let me start off by saying that I am a firm believer in miracles. To me, a miracle does not have to be some big once-in-a-lifetime supernatural cosmic event (although those count too, I suppose). Instead, I believe that miracles can be “little things” that happen each day. Some people view daily life as though nothing is a miracle. Others view every positive thing that they experience as a miracle – even those things that are perhaps mundane. I like to think that I fall into the latter camp.
Recently, Dr. Gail Fairhurst (a friend, mentor and colleague of mine from the University of Cincinnati) visited Saint Vincent to give a guest lecture on her research. While her comments were primarily about how to be an effective leader through focusing on communication style, she also talked about the nature of problems that leaders must solve. I am reminded of some research of hers that I read in which she identifies problems as “wicked” when they are challenging to describe, difficult to solve and closely related to other problems. She and her colleagues term these to be problem “knots” because they are often tangled together in such a way that multiple problems relate to, confuse and add to each other (Sheep, Fairhurst, & Khazanchi, 2017).
I recently co-edited three books on leadership with a colleague from Poland. In them, I co-authored chapters with five students or alumni of Saint Vincent College’s Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program and six SVC faculty. One of the chapters, co-authored with Dr. William Hisker, was entitled “Benedictine Leadership” and was adapted from a foundational document we wrote in the development of the Benedictine Leadership Studies program at Saint Vincent. But my primary role in these editing projects (aside from writing some chapters) was to look over the works of other authors to consider for inclusion in the books.