Meet Me in the Middle

In higher ed, we often talk about finding our champion — a top-level administrator who gets the value of content, who will be our advocate in securing the resources to do it right, who will translate and relay our concerns to other decision makers and higher-ups. This “champion,” however, can sometimes be a holy grail — invaluable, but elusive.

What if our champion wasn’t at the top, but in the middle? And what if the the value of this champion wasn’t in their singular power, but in the strength gained by bringing many of them together?

Elizabeth McGuane, who spoke at last week’s Content Strategy Forum in London, wrote in a blog post leading up to the event about how the middle is “where nearly everything happens, and where nearly everything goes to die.” She explains that by finding the people in the middle who have a strong awareness of what is happening in the organization (and what needs to happen), you can gain a uniquely insightful sense of what work needs to be done.

Yes, when the zombies arrive, it will be easy to break down the divisions that make work less efficient, more maddening – when you really need to make changes, the most important ones to make become obvious. You grab the flamethrower, not the axe. But until then, we have to kind of put our shoulder into things and lean. And the more people you have to lean with, the more force you’ll have. That’s just science.

Source: An existentialist’s content strategy by Elizabeth McGuane, Mapped, Sept. 1, 2011

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About Georgy Cohen

Georgy Cohen is associate creative director, content strategy, at OHO Interactive in Cambridge, Mass.. Prior to OHO, she worked with a range of higher ed institutions, including stints at Tufts University and Suffolk University and as an independent consultant, on content strategy and digital communication initiatives. Keep going »

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