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
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.
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).
When do teams begin and end? We see team membership change all the time, whether we’re talking about sports or a workgroup. My favorite baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. As anyone that follows the team knows, they have had quite a bit of turnover in players (for example the recent unfortunate trade of Andrew McCutchen, one of my favorites), yet they remain the Pirates. This team did not end when McCutchen left. Nor did it begin when he joined their ranks. In other words, the existence of a team can and likely will continue even when membership changes. I can think of several work teams that I’ve been a part of, including in my role as director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program here at Saint Vincent, where members leave the team and new members come on board, all while the team continues along in its purpose.
Topics: Operational Excellence, organizational culture, management, saint vincent professor, st. vincent professor, Dr. Mike Urick, Andrew McCutchen, organizational behavior, Jethro Tull, Master of Science in Management
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working on co-editing a three-book series on leadership. The first book focuses on leadership theory. Thus, I’ve recently been reflecting on the importance of theory in academia.
In my May blog, I shared with you one way in which students in the McKenna School systematically examine the ethicality of decisions on the basis of various moral frameworks. While students have many other assignments in which they further refine their own moral principles throughout their studies at Saint Vincent, analyzing decisions made by others is useful in shaping a student’s viewpoint.
Topics: leadership, leadership in college, effective leadership, professor, lifelong learning, blog, saint vincent professor, st. vincent professor, Faculty Blog, mike urick, Dr. Mike Urick, decision making