Skip to main content
Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
A newsletter header image with an image of Dan Bollman behind the title 'The Details with Dan Bollman'

We need to talk

May 6, 2015

The beginning of a project is special. There’s excitement, anticipation and lots of energy. There’s also confusion, uncertainty and ambiguity. Sometimes you don’t know exactly who’s leading—or if anyone is. Some people feel anger or fear or a sense of being left out. Bright spots emerge and people grab on. Momentum moves in one direction, then in another.

You get it, right? It’s crazy and messy and frustrating and beautiful, all at once!

IPF’s need to re-envision ourselves is a huge project. We’ve taken a few baby steps past the very beginning, but all the feelings I just described still apply. The supervisors meeting we had last week was one of those baby steps. Nearly all of IPF’s supervisors sat together and got introduced to a strategic framework that will guide IPF’s work in the coming years. They began to think about how everyone in IPF fits into that strategic framework. They started to understand the incredible value of key performance indicators (KPIs) and how they can focus our work. And they got a reinforced vision of what customer service means to our organization. It was four hours of working together, but it was just the first step on our journey.

My bet is that many people left that meeting with more questions than answers—and that’s OK. I know it’ll take more than one meeting for everyone to feel like they know where we’re headed and how they fit in. But as we continue to work together, my goal is for you to have a sense of clarity about IPF’s goals and how your work helps us reach those goals.

One way to gain clarity is for me to talk to more of you. I want to have some “town hall” meetings that you all will be invited to attend. The details haven’t been finalized, but I’m thinking we’ll have about three of them, in different locations at different times. I’ll talk a little, and maybe someone else will talk a little, but then it’ll be your turn to talk. You can ask questions, express frustration or share a success story.

You also might see me or a member of the strategic framework team at one of your staff meetings this summer. We’re looking at how we can divvy up certain staff meetings and have two or three members of that team stop by for 15 minutes to talk about what the strategic framework team is doing and answer questions. Or I might show up at your team meeting just to chat for a few minutes.

Supervisors, I’m expecting to have our next SOS (Supervisors Opportunity and Strategy) meeting sometime in September. Watch your email and The Details for the date, time, location and all the details.

As always, send your thoughts, questions, etc. to

Until next time,