Millsap College Uses “Wisdom of the Crowds” to Select President

Written by on September 25th, 2009

Life is too complicated. No one person or group has the answers!

You know how-  from time to time – you get a song stuck in your head, and it just keeps playing over and over and over!  I’ve never looked at it too seriously, occasionally I have wondered if the content of the song was something my psyche or soul needed to help it adjust to a situation or to get an “attitude” adjustment.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve noticed that I’m stuck in a rut writing more and more about the “wisdom of the crowds” or as some refer to as “crowd sourcing”.

I’ve been greatly influenced by Don Tapscott’s book, Wikinomics, (not just because he’s also named Don) because it really awakened the reality of how the Internet has changed the way we run our lives, businesses and organizations.

In the past, the person at the top of the organization had a phone to the outside world, a very small group of advisors and his or her gut to make decisions.  Today, that same person at the top has a Twitter account,  Facebook account, etc,  which provides them a million points of view on a subject or feedback on a proposed idea or new product.

Journalist figured this out early.  Instead of picking up the phone, they just reached out to their new fangled rolodex (twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) and asked what their reader wanted to hear or,  more importantly,  access to sources and experts.  It not only made their job easier but got relevant content to their audience.

So I was delighted to see today Millsap College moving in this direction.  Millsap College presidential search committee  decided to use these techniques to find out what students, alumni and community members were looking for in a new president.

They created a Zoomerang survey with the following instructions:

Members of the Presidential Search Committee at Millsaps College invite all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College to complete the following survey. The committee will use the survey results to help identify the priorities and desired characteristics for the next president of the College. All responses will be anonymous. Your input is valued and appreciated in this important process.

It probably took 10 minutes to set up the survey, ten meetings to determine the questions, but the results will not only engage students, alumni and supporters but it will shape the discussions for a new president!

How do you see your organization or department using this concept?

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