All posts tagged “interview

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Where Has the Time Gone?

About a year ago, we started out on the journey called Higher Ed Solo. If you want the whole story, watch our first video post. Long story short, we wanted to make a place for interviews with, resources for, and reinforcement for the Armies of One that we knew were out there in droves.

We’ve gotten a boatload of positive reinforcement in the past year. We’ve made new friends and learned that we have lots of the same problems – no matter if we’re working as a solo in higher ed or on a team of 20. We need to work on communication with stakeholders and co-workers. We need to find a quicker, more cost-effective way to do ALL THE THINGS. That’s where Higher Ed Solo has tried to fill in the holes, and we’d like to think big teams and solo practitioners can learn from the stuff we talk about here.

So, the time has come to take our little piece of the interwebs to a greater audience. That’s why we’re so happy to announce that we’ll be working with EDUniverse and Higher Ed Live on a new channel – SoloLive.


We’ll be on the Higher Ed Live network beginning in July at 1 p.m. Eastern (noon Central) on the third Wednesday of each month. Our show will air once a month to begin, and we anticipate moving to twice a month in January 2014.

That means our first show is on July 17. EEP!

For SoloLive, we’ll be running the gamut on the sorts of issues people are facing day to day generic viagra in their jobs. How to “do it all” is a common theme among the solo set, and we face it ourselves everyday. We’ll talk about how to manage these things and not just talking about them from 25,000 feet as we might do on the blog, but we’ll use the show as a way to really get deeper with guests and give people takeaways. If folks are going to join us for their lunch period, we ought to give them something they can take with them that might be useful as soon as that afternoon. It’s a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.

We envision structuring the show more like a conference session in a mini-format – with questions – than a show where the viewers sit and listen. We want you all involved because we’ve also learned that the community has lots of good ideas and resources.

We’ll talk about things ranging from how to use social media better to specific tools. We will bring in guests – from small and large teams and solo shops – who can lend expertise to the conversation. As you know, being #armiesofone is hard work and we’ll need you contributing and participating to make it a worthwhile experience. But we’re excited to bring the best of higher ed to you in this new format in the hopes of expanding the conversations.

Over the past year, we’ve met so many of you all at conferences all over the country and doing so has really inspired us. Thanks for everything and we hope you join us for this new adventure!

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Strategizing for the Future

My recent talk with Eric Stoller brought to light the connection between consultants and solo practitioners.

We’re more similar than most people want to acknowledge.

  • We’re frequently generalists.
  • We do a lot of things by accident.
  • We take risks.
  • We live without comfort.

Sounds scary, huh?

One of the most profound things Eric told me when talking about being a consultant is that there is a strength in being able to let go of control in some areas of your work life. Being able to relinquish control, however, is more than just letting whatever will happen happen.

“The greatest decision I’ve ever made was the most risky thing I’ve ever done… and it’s not for everyone,” Eric told me when I asked how he started his career as a consultant.

That sentence – even though it relates to a consultant’s livelihood – speaks volumes about the work we do as solos. The uncertainty in any field can be exhausting, but it can be especially so for Armies of One.

“Being able to go with the flow in a professional sense, when professionalism, a lot of times is about maintaining structure,” Eric said, is necessary for constructing a successful career as a consultant. It’s also an important quality for a solo practitioner.

But how do we deal with uncertainty, especially when we’re often the ones who have to help others deal with uncertainty in the workplace?

One trick I’ve always employed in the communication business – after working for a company that had almost yearly layoffs and rehires – is realizing that I control only my own actions and behaviors. Others try to model the behavior they believe is appropriate in order to show others how to deal with the ambiguity. Others stick their heads in the sand and ignore ambiguity and change – and the possibilities that come with these challenges – until it’s too late.

Everyone has his or her own tricks to dealing with uncertainty. How do you handle the ambiguity and lack of structure that can plague the work life of a solo practitioner?

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A Look at Student Affairs with Eric Stoller

Welcome to 2013! Here at Higher Ed Solo, we decided to kick the year off with a bang – literally – and publishing an interview with student affairs pro Eric Stoller.

In higher education, we all know the Stollercoaster. And if you don’t, then you should. The self-avowed introvert (I’m not convinced yet) brings his high-energy approach to conferences and consulting gigs all over.

Eric Stoller is a higher education consultant who also blogs on student affairs and technology for Inside Higher Ed. The conquistador (he might like that label) is a seasoned professional in student affairs who took his show on the road. When he became a consultant, Eric was able to reach more people and do more writing and speaking – something he’s very good at.

In this interview, we talked about lots and lots of things. That’s how Eric works. He’s all over the map. At the core of our discussion, however, was the idea that even solo practitioners can help out in student affairs. Key to accomplishing that was… SURPRISE… listening and sharing. We also talked about how consultants are a lot like Armies of One.

Quick Five – Don’t Think, Just Answer

Oh, and Eric answered the Quick Five. Here are his answers:

What’s your favorite food?

A theme with me is I like everything. If I’m out and about in a new city – and I think this year I had something like 40 trips – it’s not an easy question for me to answer. I would say Thai, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, homestyle German. I love just a lot of different things.

What was the last book you read?

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

You have a day to live, what do you do first?

Figure out how to live longer. No, I write. Honestly, I would just try to tell a story saying, “Hey. I tried my best, and I hope you do the same.”

You can invite 10 people – living or dead – to dinner. Who are they?

Well, the dead people would probably drive the living away because they would smell bad. … You know, I would like to have a conservation with bell hooks when she was younger because I think she’s getting a little bit tired now. She’s been on the road doing activism for quite a while. I don’t really need to have people who are passed on. Like Angela Davis, I saw her speak several years ago, or Maya Angelou. They’re just like rock star women who I want to hear, and I don’t want to say anything. I just want to sit back and listen to their dinner conversation. Just smart people who are going to have interesting conversations. And I don’t even necessarily want to talk about famous people. Like my Grandpa Paul. He was one of the smartest people I know. Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer when I was 18. I would love to have had more time with him, so I would add him to the list. I feel like a lot of my craftiness, the way I wiggle out of questions, comes from him. He was the one who taught me how to play chess and various games, so he’s added to the list. Musicians, you know, I just love music. It’d be interesting, maybe a jazz musician. Maybe Maynard Ferguson. I think he passed away. Maybe Maynard Ferguson before he stopped being able to hit the high notes and gained a third person. For me it would be anyone in the arts and sciences who has an opinion. I don’t necessarily need folks who are Wikipedia articles for their fame, but just interesting conversations.

What’s your favorite word?