Say "Extension is Broken" out loud. Does this make you feel uncomfortable? I once read that, "Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you're doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they're hiding out in the comfortable zone. When your uncomfortable actions lead to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more."
Like it or not, I'm back for more in this series about How to Fix Extension. Here are three ideas I'd like to share:
As I've been engaging with my personal learning network of Extension professionals over Twitter, Google+ Hangouts, and through Google Docs - where we've been collaborating on presentation abstracts - this Wayne Gretzky quote has been on my mind.
It's one thing to stay relevant and to keep up, which Cooperative Extension is currently struggling with, but it's another thing to "skate to where the puck is going to be." I feel this takes risk. The kind of risk that will often times lead to failure, but eventually success if we keep trying.
Leading up to the IPO of Twitter, Co-Founder Biz Stone reflected on how far the company has come. He states in this Inc.com article, that "[Entrepreneurship] is all about making mistakes." I'm glad he said this because so many people are ashamed to fail or make a mistake, so they just don't try.
I love learning from my mistakes, holding After Action Reports, and debriefing on my Extension workshops, activities, and events. Our mission is to extend the research of our Land-Grant Universities and use it to improve people's lives. I believe this is a process we can improve on everyday as we seek excellence. Dare I say, "Extension work is all about making mistakes?"
A 21st Century Extension Professional has got to think outside the box and try new things (that might fail). Here are some other ideas I had on How to Fix Extension:
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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