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Thoughts from Jackie


President Johnson just unveiled the university's shared values initiative; read more online. The timing and content of this initiative is right in alignment with our own rollout of our Extension Keys, which are aimed at identified actions and behaviors that aid us in living our organizational values. In previous messages, I wrote about how we can be intentional about INCLUSION in our work and CARE in our interactions with one another and those we serve. Today, I would like to focus on TRUST. Our Extension key on TRUST includes:

  • I teach research-based information.
  • I provide high-quality teaching and learning.
  • I communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully to create understanding and transparency.
  • I am ethical in my decision making.
  • I provide access to vast and diverse professional expertise.
  • I provide confidentiality and respect to all.
  • I am accountable to my co-workers and clientele.

The “I” statements that resonate most with me in the moment are “I communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully to create understanding and transparency” and “I provide confidentiality and respect to all.” Each time I read through the Keys, a different aspect provides me with time for reflection about where I want to focus, what I can improve, or celebrate what I or others are getting right.

Two years into a pandemic and in a world where fast-paced changes are occurring all of the time, it is easy to let the ability to trust slip just a bit. And over time, especially when we are not always face-to-face, much of our work and interactions are accomplished virtually, and we see trust slipping in many spaces in the world around us – trust can tend to slip even more. A lack of trust has a real cost to our teams, our organization, and our clientele. It impacts teamwork, collaboration, funding, reputation and resources, and yes… motivation and morale.

According to David Horsager, author of Trusted Leader: 8 Pillars That Drive Results, as trust decreases, you see an increase in costs, problems, suspicion, attrition, and stress. Alternately, as trust increases, so does morale, retention, productivity, innovation, output, loyalty, and revenue. Just imagine a world where every relationship, every interaction, and every decision each day was built on trust. What would that world look like? What would our workplace look like? Imagine how much time would be saved, how much confidence we could have in those around us, and how much easier it would be to live our lives free of the difficulties that come when trust is missing.

As a leader, I will own my part and keep working hard to ensure you can trust me, trust that I have the best interests of the mission and organization in mind, trust that I am committed to supporting you in your work and attracting and retaining our talent, trust that I will direct time and resources to the things that will continue to move our organization forward in ever-changing times. But we must do this together. We each need to truly reflect on what we are doing each day, and in every interaction, to build and increase trust. We won’t get it right every time, but my hope is that we will keep trying to get it right – and we will see the benefits of creating a culture where trust is key.

Thank you for your efforts toward making OSU Extension a trusted partner and an amazing place to work. I truly am grateful for you, your commitment to our mission, and to one another. Please never hesitate to reach out directly to me with your thoughts and ideas for building trust or any of the other keys this year and beyond.

Best wishes, Jackie