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Why You Need Thought Partners Now More Than Ever

In the past, I have written about the importance of having your go-to people and your circle of trusted tribe members who can be a sounding board as well as a source of insights. But in the last couple of weeks, while dealing with the ramifications of this global crisis, I have also realized how valuable thought partners can be.

What is a thought partner exactly?

A thought partner is someone who challenges the way you think. This person has information or a point of view that inspires you to innovate. They can help you change your assumptions, paradigms, and actions.

Right now, leaders all around the world are grappling with the same issues we are all trying to face. Why not zoom, group chat and/or conference call with people who are not currently in your immediate circle of trusted advisors to find out how they are problem-solving, what tools they are using, what lessons they’ve learned, how they are managing their emotions, and any other tips they would like to share.

And don’t forget to share what you know. Depending on where you are in the country, you have been the first to oversee the process of moving instructional services and student services online. Many have closed your entire campus. You may have moved all your students out of the residence halls and provided students with computers and the internet. You may have even navigated how to effectively raise emergency funding for students and faculty.

We can learn so much from others and share our own experiences as well. We all need this support right now.

This week I want you to reach out to potential thought partners. And keep an open mind of where you may find these people. What if our thought partners are people we never met in person but had the opportunity to exchange ideas, problem solve, strategize, vent with and most learn from? Use online resources to find these partners and reach out to a few in the coming weeks.

Thank you to my thought partners for sharing their wonderful ideas: Virtual Town Hall Meetings (either weekly or daily) for students, staff and faculty, Mailing “We are in this together” postcards to the students, creating “We’re in this together” video – featuring staff and faculty to list a few, posting virtual activities (museums and national parks), sending cards to your staff, and meetups (coffee hours, dinners, karaoke, virtual games, trivia. I wanted to share just a few ideas as we continue to support our staff, faculty and our student body through this challenging time. Wish you the best this week.

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