Bentley University kicked off a week-long celebration to mark the inauguration of President Alison Davis-Blake with a series of workshops for staff. Led by organizational experts Shawn Quinn of the University of Michigan and Ryan Quinn of the University of Louisville, the workshops facilitated discussions among staff members on topics such as why building a positive organization matters and how positive organizations increase employees’ productivity and workplace satisfaction.
The workshops included breakout sessions for colleagues to learn more about each other on a personal and professional level, inviting them to identify specific ways in which their work benefits others and in which they benefit from others’ work, too. The goal was to demonstrate the interconnectedness of staff across Bentley and how meaningful relationships among staff can energize them and create a more positive workplace.
“It was a thought-provoking workshop,” said Dan Sheehan, the university’s director of IT client services. “The facilitator engaged us in simple activities to demonstrate how to generate positive energy by using different types of communication appropriate for any employee. I appreciated hearing that breaking down silos is less about organizational structure and more about building better relationships with people across the university.”
“It was refreshing to learn that actions that are so easy to do like being genuine and an active listener when you ask a question can positively impact and energize the people you work with,” said Juliana Freire, a visual designer in the marketing division. “Personal connections have the power to motivate and inspire ideas and insights in other people.”
“My biggest takeaway was about energizing other people,” said David Hatch, a senior human resource business partner. “I know that people can bring down colleagues with a negative attitude but this made me think about the converse: If you’re energizing others, it lifts up everyone. I’m going to be thinking about how I can do that in my work.”
The entire Bentley community will be included in inauguration activities throughout the week, with events designed for faculty, staff and students leading up to the installation ceremony for President Davis-Blake. For more information, visit the Inauguration Schedule of Events.
About Shawn Quinn
Shawn Quinn coaches executives and their teams and is an instructor in the Executive Education Program at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He teaches courses on leadership, change and innovation. He also plays a key role at the university’s Center for Positive Organizations, which in 2012 was awarded the Research Center Impact Award in recognition of its major impact on real world management practice. He has consulted with companies such as General Electric, Coca Cola, Telefonica O2, American Express, Reuters and the U.S. Army. He has also helped develop and run the Competing Values Change and Innovation Assessment with more than 100 teams and organizations.
About Ryan Quinn
Ryan Quinn is an associate professor of management at the University of Louisville’s College of Business. He is an expert in change management, conversations and positive organizational scholarship, with research focused on unleashing human and organizational potential. He has also served on the faculty at Washington University, Brigham Young University and the Darden Graduate School of Business. As principal of Lift Consulting, an organization created “to help productive organizations become extraordinary,” he worked with the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan on research, teaching and consulting, and has helped many organizations to apply the principles of positive organizational scholarship.