How to Deploy a Successful Organizational Structure in Higher Education with Jarrod Shappell

How to Deploy a Successful Organizational Structure in Higher Education with Jarrod Shappell

Organizational development (a.k.a. “reorgs”) often get a bad rep.

❌The two Bobs from Office Space
❌George Clooney from Up In The Air
❌The arrogant consultant with the binder who comes in knowing the answers before he’s even asked one question

But org dev projects are some of my favorites to work on, despite the many misunderstandings about them.

They involve psychology, ethics and motivational philosophy. They force you to dive head first into formal and informal power structures, relational dynamics, your origin story and your vision toward the future. In short, they’re incredibly complex, which means the payoff at the end is big.

That’s why I loved this conversation with Navalent’s Jarrod Shappell. As a Partner at the organizational and leadership development consulting firm that has a number of big-name, Fortune 200 brands on its roster, he has done dozens of organizational development projects. Between the two of us, we didn’t hold back on talking details about everything from war stories to success stories.

In his own words:  

“If you are doing org design with anything in mind, other than creating cohesion between where you say you want to go and creating roles and jobs and a structure that enables people to feel connected to that direction, then you shouldn’t be doing any org development work.”

At this point you’re just moving boxes. You’re just looking at an org chart. You’re just trying to get fancy or follow some org trend and ultimately you’re going to find yourself doing the same work two years later.”

I mean, have any truer words ever been spoken? And that was just the beginning. There were so many other truth bombs dropped during this episode.

You can tune in above👆 or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, the RSS feed or anywhere you get your podcasts.

On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why there’s a giant elephant in the room with any organizational design — people fearing they’re being fired — and why that’s misplaced.
  • How to avoid designing around individual people by first considering the categories of work you’re accountable for.
  • Specific case studies in organizational development from Jarrod and Meni.
  • How to ensure the ongoing, long-term success of a newly reorganized team.

What to listen for:

[3:33] Why individual transformation can only go so far — and how focusing on relationships between individuals is the key to change at scale 

[4:48] How traditional organization structures in higher education have the potential to hold institutions (and individuals) back

[4:35] Why the boilerplate approach to governance and organizational development is not a best practice

[7:22] The most overlooked aspect of organizational development 

[10:34] Why the movie Office Space did such a disservice to the reputation of organizational reviews.

[12:13] Why designing an organizational structure around specific people’s preferences is near-sighted .

[14:28] Why you need to get your institution’s strategy right and tight before embarking on an org dev project

[16:23] How continuing education is a different ballgame when it comes to organizational design – and sorry to say, it’s still a business.

[17:49] The biggest mistakes Jarrod sees in organizational design — and why you have to pay now or pay later when it comes to the performance of your organization

[20:42]  The type of leader you need at the helm of a large structural re-organizational in higher education — and why “the answer is in the room”

[23:39] Cringe alert: how to handle an organizational dev project when the leader may be the issue … and the ensuing “Come to Jesus” moments

[26:10] Specific case studies in organizational development from Jarrod and Meni

[30:21] The very best moment in an organizational development project 

[32:07] How to ensure the ongoing, long-term success of a newly reorganized team

Links from the episode👇👇
Jarrod Shapell’s LinkedIn
Navalent’s Complete Guide to Organizational Design
Meni’s LinkedIn
The Education Beyond Degrees Homepage

Transcript from the episode

*Today’s weather has a 100% chance of some spelling errors in the AI-powered transcript below. Hope you won’t hold it against me! 

Meni: Okay, so this episode is going to be a little bit different. You all know one of my favorite solutions to do is organizational development. And maybe some of you have even done one with me. They’re one of the most popular engagements we do, and they’re truly a joy for me when we have gotten to the point where the organization and everyone within can feel successful.

However, these organizational development projects are some of the most sensitive ones I encounter. Obviously, it didn’t make sense to talk through the details with somebody from a past project. And instead of having a boring podcast episode, where we have to talk in code to avoid confidentiality issues, I found someone with the same passion for these types of projects.

I was lucky enough to have Jarrod Shappell from Navalent join me. I’ll let him explain what he does specifically, but Navalent offers executive coaching and consulting for senior leaders to solve their own organizational issues. They have clients like Microsoft, Starbucks, Hallmark, and other Fortune 200s. Although, I know they’ve also worked with some universities in the past.

So today you get two for the price of one. Two organizational development geeks talking shop, and more importantly talking details about how to deploy a successful organizational structure in your own organization.

Jarrod, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it,

Jarrod: Meni, it’s good to be here.

Meni: So, like I said, in the introduction, I am very lucky to have Jarrod join me and we are going to spend today’s episode talking about organizational development. I am really excited because in my career and the things that I’ve been doing, this has been one of the, my favorite projects to do when I was still behind the Dean’s desk and when I started Spur.

And I’ve always loved presenting, you’ve seen this at my conferences that I attend. You’ve seen this in the webinars and the other summits that I’ve been doing. I just love talking about organizational development.

Jarrod, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us a little about who Jarrod is, where you’re from, where you’re at, and then actually tell us a little bit more about Navalent.

Jarrod: I am first and foremost, a husband and a father of three wonderful kids that live in San Francisco, California.

And have been working with Navalent for eight years as a partner there. And our work at Navalent, you said it is often with larger organizations, fortune 200 companies, but we also work with Starbucks, startups, and we also work with nonprofits because we say that we’re industry agnostic, but we’re also an also organizational life stage agnostic. And so, ultimately, our conviction is that if you put a bunch of people into a room and they’re trying to do something together, that is an organization. It’s got a strategy. It’s got relational dynamics. It usually has some kind of power structure governance. It’s got a leader and for us at Navalent in our work, it is, how do you make sure that those things are fitting together? How do you make sure that there’s congruence across those things? So whether you’re in academia and continuing ed, or you are at Starbucks, so many of the same dynamics are at play and our work is to excavate those and again, make sure that they fit and they’re integrous, so the organization can get to where it needs to go.

Meni: What got you into org dev and what got you into Navalent?

Jarrod: Yeah, great question. I think for me, a couple of things. One, I came at it more from the transformation, the development of an individual. So I think initially some background in psychology and some interest in kind of the ethics and morals and values that move people to action. But what I began to see in my work is that individual transformation could only go so far. Even a collective, a group of individuals transforming was not the same as an actual organization changing, right, an actual community changing.

And so I began to become more curious in what it meant to not just transform individuals, but relationships between individuals. And ultimately the context that individuals are together in which in, in our work today as organizations. And so was really just drawn to change that stuck and change that scaled.

And I think the work that we do at Navalent is an opportunity to do that.

Meni: I love that we’re having this conversation because what Navalent does, you work with a lot of big companies and if everybody goes to the website they could see a list of them.

One of the things that we talk about in the higher ed space, is we are so traditional in our models within the organization. Everybody knows exactly what a higher ed organization looks like, right? There’s a president, provost, dean, associate dean.

We have the traditional hierarchy, but the organization has shifted dramatically and one of the things that I’m super curious about, in your work, as you work with these fortune 200s, when somebody brings you in and they ask the question, how do we make this organization better?

Talk to me a little bit about what assessment are you doing upfront and how do you get them moving forward to understand what needs to be done within their organization?

Jarrod: That’s a great question, Meni. I think, oftentimes just like a client walking into a therapist office, there’s a presenting problem. But our work is at the beginning of an engagement is to ask better questions. Maybe questions that they’ve not asked about what we believe are symptoms. We often say the intervention without diagnosis is malpractice. It’s true for doctors, it should be true for consultants as well, right?

So we spend a lot of time asking questions to understand the uniqueness of the context that we’re in. And a lot of folks, and your saying this in your world, right, look at the standard structure or the standard approach to governance for their organization. Best practice is fine to a degree, but I don’t know that there is best practice.

I don’t know that templates are always helpful when you’re thinking about your organization, right? It’s not best practice that you need. It’s your practice that you need. And so a lot of what we’re doing when we begin with a client is to ask, ‘what is your story here? What are the values of this place? When did it start? Tell me about the leaders. Tell me about the difference you want to make in the world.’

Because all of those things should impact the structure of your organization. Should impact what your meetings look like. Should impact what the governance is between a board and in your concept context all the way down to a community of students or of customers.

And so, for us, we want to understand all of that before we begin to talk about the right fit. Because again, it’s about congruence and fit and things being integrous more than it is about there being a right way to do it. And I’m assuming that’s what you see as well. As you’re talking about this boiler plate approach that is often taken or traditional approach.

Meni: Yeah when you know, these one-on-one meetings, the meetings that you have with the individuals. I think that it’s the most often overlooked aspect of org dev and its importance in what we do. It is incredibly important that you understand each one of these people’s, who are within the organization, what their perspectives are, what their goals are, what they like to do, what they don’t like to do, what’s working and what’s not working.

And it’s really funny that in traditional education and I’m not going to, I can’t talk to the corporate world because I haven’t worked in the corporate world, but in the traditional higher ed system, it’s just assumed that everybody is in their role to achieve their job description for the overall of what’s happening, but in those one-on-one conversations, and I’m curious to how they are for you too, you get so much more of what they want to be doing, of what they believe the true mission is, of what they think could be beneficial to that unit. And it’s really powerful how much information you can get from those meetings that lead to what could potentially happen.

And to your point to what that strategy is, what are, how are those meetings for you?

Jarrod: Yeah. I mean, I would say the same, right? If you, a lot of times we’ll be working with an executive team, right. And with the executive team, maybe in our kickoff meeting, we’ll ask each of them to write down on a piece of paper, what they would say the strategy for the organization is, and hopefully the leaders of the company, they get it roughly right, and at a high level.

The ambiguous terms around mission statements and values and strategy and those kinds of things. But then when we get them, one-on-one, it’s a totally different ball game. I mean, you’re getting candor about what the strategy what it says on the walls, what they’ve printed really big and put on your screensaver.

You’re getting some candor about that, but then you’re also getting some candor about where they think whether they think that strategy is possible or what they think that strategy or direction should be. And so it, it does, it, it feels in some cases a lot like a confession, and sometimes we do get some things that we’re like, Oh, geez, probably shouldn’t have told us that and now I have to tell somebody else.

It is, I think you’re onto something there as well about folks wanting to feel connected regardless of their role, regardless of the details of their responsibilities. Wanting to be connected to the strategy in a way that’s meaningful. And I think, again and again, if you are doing org design with anything in mind, other than creating cohesion between where you say you want to go and creating roles and jobs and a structure that enabled people to feel connected to that direction, then you shouldn’t be doing any org development work.

At that point you’re just moving boxes. You’re just looking at an org chart. You’re just trying to get fancy or follow some org trend and ultimately you’re going to find yourself doing the same work two years later after you understand kind of the deficiencies of where you’ve left off. So I think what you’re saying there around people wanting to feel their work to feel connected to what they’re doing should absolutely be a design criteria and any organizational development we’re doing.

Meni: One of the things that always cracks me up about these projects is I love the movie Office Space, but the two Bobs in the in Office Space, they did a such a disservice of when they were doing their organizational review and it’s painful because every time I don’t know about you, but every time I do one of these projects, everybody always comes in fearing that they’re going to lose their jobs.

And we talked a little bit beforehand about that and like we’re not in this to downsize and I’ll just share, I’ll just share my view. Everybody has a skillset that can be beneficial, right? I feel very strongly that people are in their job. For not necessarily for a reason, but they have a skillset that drew them there.

And going back to those one-on-one meetings, I always find that’s a great place to figure out what those talents are that could lead to that strategy. So, first off, comically, I’d love to know when you walk into those one-on-one meetings, do you ever get that the two Bob’s feel from the person you’re speaking to, and then second, when you were talking about strategy how often are the people you’re talking to, how much do you go away from what their actual role is to bring in some other strengths to that team?

Jarrod: Yeah, so, I mean, I definitely get the Bob vibes. I always joke that I’m neither of the Bobs nor my George Clooney from Up in the Air, which people often associate with our work as well. But if I had to be one, I would definitely pick George Clooney.

But I think to your second question, I never want to do organizational development thinking about people. So I think that this is actually one of the places where as you begin organizational development work, as you’re imagining a new structure, we often think, Oh no, well, if we do that structure, that’s going to impact Suzie. And so we can’t go that direction because Susie said she never wanted to do that. Or Susie has been here 20 years and she’s been so loyal and that’s going to feel like a demotion or, and I think designing around people is really near-sighted.

And I think any time you’re doing any design work, it should be very future-oriented. And with that comes not thinking about the work that individual people want to do, but the work that’s required for your organization to be successful. So I can talk about it in all kinds of corporate terms, but I’d be curious in your world, right?

What are the broader buckets of work that an organization is accountable for? Because I think those are the things that you want to identify first, before you do any organizational development work. To avoid just designing around people, right? And I think in those instances, you’re never going to be designing anything further than that.

The staff you have now and the work that they’re executing now. And so so we like to start, like I said, it at the beginning of this category, categorizing of work. We’ve got business development, we’ve got operations. We do it in North America. We do it in Latin America and really beginning to get sharper at what is the actual work being done so that we’re not designing it around the individuals.

Does that make sense?

Meni: It totally makes sense. And you had mentioned something earlier about future strategy. Are you coming into this, helping develop out the strategy first and then going into the org dev or you doing the org dev understanding what the mission or vision is, and then going into the strategy wants the organization feels better.

Jarrod: Yeah. Great question. So often we’ll get hired to do org design and realize that it’s not like the design is fine. The issue is that there’s not an articulated strategy, so we’re not a big strategy research firm. We’re not coming in and doing a bunch of analysis of the market and telling them where to go, you can pay for Bain and McKinsey to do that.

We often come in on the heels of some of those bigger firms coming in. And what we see is that there, you promised to boil the ocean. There wasn’t enough granularity to the strategy to say what then the structure could look like. So we often talk about it in terms of critical capabilities.

If you are an organization that, you’re in manufacturing, let’s say. And in this last year, during the pandemic you were only business to business before, but during this last year you realized, ‘Oh no, I can’t rely on this supply chain, stores aren’t open. I need to figure out some way to get things directly to consumers.’

Well, the reality is you don’t have the critical capability within your organization. You don’t have the processes, you don’t have the talent, you don’t have the know-how to do B2C work. And so what we find a lot of times in organizations is that as soon as the external environment changes, their strategy has to change as well.

And there’s not always the level of detail on the capabilities they need to be successful. And without those capabilities in our estimation, you can’t talk about the org development. You can’t talk about the structure. You can’t talk about the meeting cadence. You can’t talk about any of those things that we want to jump to the boxes on the charts that everybody wants to get to, we can’t get to that without a clear strategy.

So we’re often having to say, ‘Hey, thank you for calling us for this org design. I think that makes a lot of sense. We’ll get there, but we need to spend some time putting a finer point on some of these things here that you have listed as your strategy.’

Meni: It’s so it’s such a tricky piece of it and you’re so right. Even in higher ed, I’ll just speak to higher ed for a second in higher ed, the institution itself always has a mission and vision, right. And that’s on everybody’s website. That changes probably with every new president that comes in has a new mission or vision, but each individual, or department within the institution, also has their, what could be their own mission and vision and continuing ed, they almost all do because it is much more of an entrepreneurial, community based department within the institution. So there is something very different about how we do things and continuing ed and the strategy for a long time was always develop non-traditional programs for non-traditional students or some version of that.

And we’ve even seen the last even the last five years that has been significantly changing to be much more business oriented, but the strategy hasn’t changed as much. And so we’re always having to figure out the best way to recreate the strategy to fit. To then be able to work on the processes to work on the organizations, just like you just said.

So I’m always every time I try to talk to a Dean and let them know as much as you are in a university setting, you are still a business. And one of the things that I love about Navalent’s website. And what you guys have on there is the six approaches to organizational design you should avoid. Those six things is basically what higher ed is always he’s doing.

So if you could just sit here and talk to somebody in higher ed and be like, this is why you shouldn’t do these six things because you are so business oriented. Like how do you get somebody to. Actually move away from these six things that everybody is doing in higher ed, or I’m assuming since it’s on your website and corporate America also.

Jarrod: Yeah. It’s such a good question. I mean one of the things I would imagine, even in higher ed too, is you want things that are research informed. You want things that others are doing in the space. There’s a lot of horse racing in the academic industries. And so, for me, it is w there’s six things. You can look at it on the website. The one that I always think of is, are you going to pay now or pay later? And this is to your point around., We’re a business now and it’s not just a mission statement. I think what happens is if you’re looking at the performance of your business, you want to optimize the people that you have, the processes that you have for more success.

And there is a cost to waiting until it hurts. There is a cost for waiting until there is a big blow up in a meeting or somebody was unethical or there’s a hundred thousand dollars a week missing or whatever. There is a cost to wait until then. And that cost is potential business.

And so I think what I would say to folks that are kinda hemming and hauling around does this really matter to my business? Or are we even a business? There’s a way we’ve always done this. Maybe there has but there is a new normal, certainly in your industry. There’s a new normal in the world where we need to be taking a proactive approach to some of these things that we know impact our business and we have a bias that your structure, your processes, your talent, the relationships between all those people, that character integrity and vision of your leaders matter. And getting those things now is critical to your success in the future.

Meni: So as we talk about leaders, that word is always really interesting to me. My dissertation was on leadership and humor. Funny enough. But when we talk about these org dev projects, What types of leaders are the best leaders to have in place for what could be a large structural change like this?

Jarrod: Oh, that’s a really great question. So many things pop to mind. I mean, the first is that we do say it. I like that you’re thinking and talking this way, we say the answers in the room. And we, as consultants are not coming in with our binder of how your organization should look, we, but we believe that there are people in your organization that care about its mission and vision that do the work and execute it on a daily basis. We believe that there’s that expertise there, and a lot of our work is just to provide the scaffolding for a process and all of our experience in other companies, but to provide some kind of process to pull those leaders through it. So to your question on leaders I think the first one is comfort with ambiguity. There is no greater strength to me right now in our meta context, but certainly in any industry that’s undergoing any change to be comfortable holding multiple options at once.

And so I really believe that you need design team members, people involved in this org development work that are comfortable with that ambiguity. So that’d be one.

Two, I would say courageous people that are willing to be vulnerable about the risk of any decision that’s being made.

People that understand there’s a trade off that if you’re looking at five or six different structures, different options for your strategy. That there are going to be downsides to those things. You don’t want somebody that’s super Rose colored and Pollyanna. A lot of times people think about change management and anything, or change related.

That’s something where we need the most positive people, or Jenny’s always upbeat. Let’s have her on the team. Bob he can articulate a vision with the best of them. Those people play a role, right? They can certainly be helpful, but what you really need is people that understand with each decision is you’re literally cutting something off, decide, right.

Same thing as homicide, right? It’s, it is to kill off options and there’s pain in that. And so it requires a good amount of courage. So I would say that it’s two.

And then a third thing is just I’m in it for the long haul. We find that when there’s any organizational change, big or small people begin people like stasis, right? And so you want somebody that doesn’t feel like change is a threat to their role, a threat to their identity, but did they see it as an opportunity for a different future that they can contribute to. And I think if you can find those three things in a person, those qualities, I think that would serve a development work really well.

Meni: So you just brought up something that I’ve been debating to ask you or not, because I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to be the one answering this question either. We talk about the type of leader that would be good for org dev projects. How do you handle a situation when the leader’s the issue?

 Jarrod: It’s a good question. I mean, all kinds of different ways to be brief, but I think. The reality is if we’re contacted by the leader. So if we’re contacted by a head of school, if we’re contacted by a Dean, to use your example, there’s at least some curiosity about what’s going wrong.

They might not be looking in the mirror and saying, ‘well there’s, what’s wrong.’ But there’s at least some curiosity about how things could be better. And so what we try to do is work with that curiosity. So it could be to your point on that intake process or we’re doing those interviews and then we’re giving that report back to that leader and saying, here’s what we heard in every single one of our protocols, our set of questions that we’re interviewing folks with. We always ask about the leadership. And we understand that there’s like plenty of leader scapegoating and a significant amount of distrust and institutional leadership today.

And yet there’s going to be some level of truth in there. That would be helpful for that leader. So if it comes out that the leader is significantly contributing to some of the pain in the organization we just have a come to Jesus moment and we tell them compared to the other leaders in other organizations, we’ve looked like, looked at and worked with you were having a disproportionately negative effect here, but we’re really excited that you contacted us and we can be valuable because I, again, I don’t believe that an individual’s transformation and organization’s transformation are separate, right?

Transformation implies multiple formations at once. And for us, we do believe a leader can change alongside the organization, not apart from and so I think  the second thing that came to mind for me was if we see a leader, not budging, right? So if you’re doing org development work, hopefully it’s inclusive. Hopefully it’s future-oriented. Hopefully it’s open-handed. Hopefully you understand these trade-offs all of those things we’ve already talked about. If a leader is not modeling those things and we’re alongside of them, coaching them through, what better more generative behavior would be, and it’s not showing up. Then we’ve got to keep pushing harder in that direction. But if that leader is a block all, and you’re trying to create a more efficient, values aligned, future oriented or organization, and that leader is not making the trip, then that organization is not going to succeed.

Meni: It’s a really good way to put it. I actually really liked the way you define that. So let’s talk about. I don’t want to call them war stories. Let’s talk about, let’s talk about a success story. Thinking back to what you’ve done in Navalent and the work that you’ve been doing, why don’t we both share one of the stories that we have that always stands out and makes you smile thinking that was a really good project, that ended up really well.

Jarrod: Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Okay. So the first one that comes to mind is going to feel tertiary. I think so we did an org development project with an agriculture company that’s scattered through the Midwest and large company, multinational company doing really well. But it had been an eat-what-you-kill business.

So it was essentially like 30 different business units scattered and not very centrally managed. And we did this restructure to create something that again was more future focused, more strategically aligned. And so we did the work and it went really well. We did it with the executive team as well, so that’s an important point here.

And on paper, that’s a nice little design, but what we became to discover is that they used to have 30 Cowboys out in their own region doing their own thing. And what we had to do is create a team of 12 general managers. They were actually responsible for all of those different businesses underneath of them and those 12 people really needed to figure out how to one, elevate their leadership and two, work together. And so we’re actually just, we’re wrapping this project up, but it has been a delight to see these 12 leaders rise to the occasion of what it means to lead their new organization. Instead of resenting that they don’t get to be out on their own and that they’re losing some autonomy and now it’s getting big and corporate now.

They saw it as an opportunity for their own growth. They’ve leaned into the relationships between each other and they found synergies between each other’s businesses. It’s just been a really powerful example to me of, again, the inseparability of what it means to change your organizational structure and what it means to change your leadership capability.

And so we’re wrapping up in a couple of weeks and I’m sad. I’m sad. I’m sad to see it end. So, I think any of those instances where it’s not just the technical part of org change, but it’s the human part of org change as well. Anytime those things cross and you really see the leaders taking that human part seriously, it’s exciting. So that was definitely one for me. What about you?

Meni: I should have prepared this question for myself. I have two that stand out and I feel like the way that you talked about yours is very similar to mine. Especially once the projects were coming to an end there is, there’s a, an institution on the West coast that we did some work on and they had been stuck in a rut.

And things had been going so well for so long and then all of a sudden, and they weren’t changing as times were changing and needs were changing. And so when we finally had that conversation of what exactly needs to happen, it was a huge team. There was like hundreds of people on the team.

And we went through and talked about what the organization wants to move forward in being. And I think the most satisfying thing that came out in that entire project was after we had talked to everybody and really started getting their input, not just about strategy and goals, but allowed their personalities to come out in those conversations, it really brought out a whole new way of looking at how people look at their own organization.

And honestly, the reason that I love that project so much, it’s because it changed a little bit of how I look at the project itself. And by the time we had finished looking at the strategy and what the goals are, and what the org structure has to look like, but once we got through all of that finally that moment that you see that everybody else understands what’s happened. And what is going to happen and why this work, even though it could be scary to some people and change is scary to some people.

You could see when they finally realized what’s going to happen for them and why it’s going to change how they work and have them moving forward. It was that moment. And it’s like that moment in every project for me. I don’t know if it’s like that for you, but when everybody realizes that, okay, these people do have it, like it’s for our good what’s happening. Maybe we hadn’t realized that this is the path, but now I get it. They’re not here to shake up just to shake up. They’re actually truly putting us on a path to do the job that we all want to be doing. Not the job that we all think we should be doing.

Jarrod: So that’s so good. Can I ask you how, who gets them that’s poor language, but who helps that feeling arise in your experience? Right, because I think even in our world, if we’re working with a legacy business, the business, I was just talking about as a family owned, private agriculture business with 120 years of story. And so to insert anything new. Can feel really uncomfortable. So I’m just curious in your experience, like what kind of leaders, or what kind of process helps that group coalesce around what’s possible?

Meni: It’s good. This answer sucks, but the answer honestly is time, right? A little bit of time, and continuous buy-in, and showing by example from the leadership, that is what keeps it steady, right? Because if one thing having one major change happen is okay. Like we could deal with it, but having constant change. That will never get to that point because it does take time for people to adjust, especially if people have been in their job for 20 years, 10 years, whatever it is. Honestly, it’s just, it’s really about leadership and the leaders that are in place, continuing the path, continuing to have resolve that this is the right path. Proving it by being a good example and just letting a little time go for others to see, ‘Oh, these pieces are really falling in place.’ And maybe that’s a cop out of an answer, but I feel like it, it just takes time.

Jarrod: No, I appreciate that. I think it’s true. One thing that you just brought up there that I think it’s important to call out is when we’re impatient, we usually take a fragmented or piecemeal approach to whatever change we’re doing, right? So if there isn’t patience, if there isn’t process, if there is not that time for that buy-in to occur, then we just move quick. We move item to item, right? We’re going to change this team’s agenda. We’re going to change who this person reports to. We’re gonna change this marketing program and we’re doing it all separate from one kind of discontinuous cohesive move towards what we want to be about. So I think time is a huge, is a critical component. And I think it’s just helpful for people to know that.

Meni: Well one of the things that I’ve appreciated from this conversation is that it just for my listeners, for the people that are listening to this podcast who are almost all in education, when we say that education is becoming more of a business we’re totally true about it. I mean, Navalent works with these fortune two hundreds and Jarrod and I are basically saying the same thing about how we work in and the approaches to the work we do. So I really hope that this audience sees that. There are so many ways to go about doing it, but the organization and the strategy that you need to have in place are so critically important.

 Jarrod, thank you so much for taking the time today. We’d love for you just to tell a little bit more about Navalent does and even if you want to share something else, happy to open up the floor and feel free to talk to the education world out there.

Jarrod: Education world. I think the first thing is, thank you, honestly. I know, regardless of whether you are a teacher today or you are in some level of administration today, your heart for the development of people, is there. And I so truly thank you for that on the heels of this year and having three kids of my own, just knowing how important the community of educators is. We’ve just all felt it. So truly thank you for that.

Navalent has been doing good work for a long time. And like I said, we, our industry and org life stage agnostic. And if you are feeling like as you’ve listened to this conversation at any point that somebody that could use our services, we would love to just take a phone call and figure out how to be helpful, honestly.

So don’t ever hesitate to reach out if we would ever come to mind, but really just grateful to have this conversation today and be alongside your community.

Meni: That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Jarrod. And please go to We were talking earlier in this podcast about the the six approaches to organizational design, you should avoid go to their website, check out some of the material they have on there.

It’s really good material. They keep it. They keep it out there so people could look at and get an idea of what they’re doing. Jarrod, I appreciate so much you taking the time today. This was such a fun conversation. I loved doing this project and I love hearing other people who do the same thing.

Jarrod: Yeah, of course. Thank you for the invitation and the great to meet you. Great to chat.