With Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day in front of us, I’m reminded of an old western hero and his horse that my own father loved; the Lone Ranger and his trusty steed, Silver. My father was born into the Great Depression, an era that was a turbulent point in American history overburdened by problems that needed interventionist changes and at the same time awash in changes that required speedy action on the part of leaders. The first Lone Ranger episode aired when my dad was 14-years-old and ended when he was 22. You could say, he matured into adulthood while watching the masked man overcome obstacles while galloping across the landscape on his horse.
Interestingly, although we associate westerns today with hero cowboys that beat astronomical odds in order to save the day, as all great mythological heroes attempt to do, the Lone Ranger never escaped under a volley of incessant gunfire simply by riding off into the sunset. The Lone Ranger’s creator, Fran Striker, intentionally developed a credo that emphasized being prepared and “that all things change but truth.”
If you think about our work as higher ed professionals in the same way that the Lone Ranger enacted his credo, we have some solid take-away lessons for how to approach the changing and somewhat unpredictable future of higher education. This could be the transitory stage in higher education that calls us as professionals to make a leap.
- Be prepared. Get your teams ready to take action under inevitable changes.
- Pack your horse with what you need and no more. You can’t ride off into the sunset and hope to live to see the night fall unscathed without being ready for what may come. You have to know what you need and how much of any one thing you need.
- Be ready to act. The Lone Ranger is known for carrying silver bullets, which as a precious metal had to be used sparingly. He didn’t fire as much as he could in a scattershot method. He fired only when it was deemed absolutely necessary, under great cognitive consideration. In other words, he acted with strategic execution.
As a side note, the Lone Ranger never shot to kill. He only wanted to prevent his opponent from getting the upper hand.
On June 30th, you’ll have the chance to attend a Stamats Intensive, where we want to offer you what our research indicates is the future of the higher education landscape and what you can do to get ready for it. Don’t wait for a hero. Get ready to pack for the inevitable ride to come. The state of Higher Ed is changing. Are you ready to meet it head on?