Internal Communications Task Force

At our 2019 Annual Conference, our Internal Communications Task Force presented its 215-page report to Vice President John Lawrence and the leadership team. Check this page often to learn about ISU Extension and Outreach’s progress on prioritizing and implementing the task force’s recommendations.

Updates from John Lawrence

(From John Lawrence's “Did You Know” message for each date shown.)

Progress on  Specific Recommendations

The task force arranged the recommendations to align with themes generated from the qualitative data analysis. Progress on implementation will be noted here as specific recommendations are addressed.

For the complete list of recommendations, as well as descriptions of the task force's charge and objectives, process, and findings, see the Internal Communications Task Force Report Executive Summary (April 2019, pdf).

Theme: Re-evaluate roles between field specialists, regional directors, county staff, and councils to educate and clarify individual responsibilities for accountability and buy-in.

Theme: Implement methods for a two-way, field-to-campus, feedback loop for improved relationships and effectiveness.

Recommendation: Implement listening sessions or virtual “office hours” with the leadership team.

  • 11/11/19, We held five virtual listening sessions in October about Structured for Success. We are evaluating the technical platforms for virtual office hours in the future.
  • 11/11/19, A separate step that we will begin in January 2020 is a brief monthly digital update from the leadership team about program and professional development opportunities. Watch for details in the coming weeks. (See "Introducing Second Monday Live.")

Recommendation: Create an internal virtual suggestion box.

  • 8/5/19, Share with Us virtual suggestion box is now available. Share your questions, comments and concerns at any time.
  • About every two weeks, the vice president and leadership team will review comments and provide responses.
  • Occasionally we will ask for input on specific proposals and upcoming decisions. Your feedback always will be anonymous and confidential.

Recommendation: Create a public website to gather information about needs across the state.

  • 8/5/19, Office of the Vice President website is now available.
  • On this new website you’ll find links to special initiatives, area-wide meeting information, the vice president's weekly “Did You Know” messages, other updates from the Office of the Vice President, the ISU Extension and Outreach strategic plan, and other information about the organization.

Theme: Implement centralized, unified messages to achieve the same understanding of key information across the system.

Recommendation: Develop a method for systematically communicating university visits across the state.
Recommendation: Develop a method for systematically communicating regional or county staff visits across the state.

  • 7/15/19, County visit notification email protocol established to address both recommendations.
    Visitors (campus faculty and staff, regional staff, county staff): Send an email ahead of time explaining where you’ll be and why.
    County staff: Acknowledge you received the message.
  • Over time, we may discover that we need a more complex or automated system. However, sending an email to let our colleagues know when we’ll be visiting their county is a best practice that we all can implement right now.

Theme: Provide standardized, immediate, meaningful staff and council onboarding for consistent, base-level knowledge of the organization.

Theme: Provide financial resources and training to eliminate barriers and increase effectiveness of interpersonal communication.

Theme: Define consistent, stable, and geographic teams across program and service units to allow for face-to-face interactions and effective communication pathways, and to deepen relationships.

Recommendations beyond the themes