ERIC Number: ED255264
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: 0
Continuing Education and the Pursuit of Excellence. NCCSCE Working Paper Series.
Mitchell, Helen Buss
Adapting the principles outlined in "In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best Run Companies" (Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.) to the operations of continuing education departments, this paper discusses eight rules for success and provides examples of their application. Rule One, "Bias for Action," emphasizes the importance of taking an active role in student recruitment, business/industry linkages, and trend anticipation. Rule Two, "Close to the Customer," advocates that continuing education departments understand and respond to the wants and needs of the community. Rule Three, "Autonomy and Entrepreneurship," indicates that innovation rests upon the reduction of authority and accountability to the lowest possible level and a kind of ownership and pride in accomplishment. Rule Four, "Productivity through People," highlights the importance of a climate of trust, sharing, and interpersonal warmth. Rule Five, "Hands-On, Value-Driven," argues that institutinal survival depends on maintaining shared values and a distinctive identity. Rule Six, "Stick to the Knitting," suggests that an organization should stick close to one central skill at which it can outperform its competitors. Rule Seven, "Simple Form, Lean Staff," stresses the value of avoiding bureaucracy and complex organizational structures. Rule Eight, "Simultaneous Loose-Tight Properties," recommends a combination of firm central direction and maximum individual autonomy. Concluding comments suggest that much of what continuing education departments do already is consistent with these rules, and recommend that values be given serious consideration before any plans are made for change. (HB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council on Community Services and Continuing Education.
Note: Originally published as an insert in the Community Services Catalyst; v15 n2 Spring 1985.