Principles and Practices

Principles of the College of Agricultural Sciences

  • Decisions are built from the ground up.
  • It is more important to develop cooperative solutions than to win negotiations.
  • Stick to your word.
  • Seek the positive interpretation of situations.
  • Try to understand the long-term consequences of a decision before making it.
  • It is tough to get anything done without taking risks.
  • One does not need to manage every detail of a system, but it is important to have a pretty good understanding of the system and why it is there.
Practices that we embrace Key points in each practice
Manage our conversations so they are effective One conversation at a time
One person speaking at a time
Someone managing the conversation
Be clear about the outcomes and the process
Be definitive about closure: Where are we? What happens next?
Listen respectfully and generously Pay attention to what the person is saying
Allow people to finish
If you have any doubt that you understood, always verify your understanding
Acknowledge-and truly consider-different perspectives
Check for completion: Is the person finished? Is there anything else?
Communicate with each other completely If we aren't aligned, say so
If something doesen't work, say so
Make and keep commitments with one another Be specific about what the commitments are
Use X by Y (who will do what by when)
Call if your commitment is in danger of not being fulfilled
Be on each other's side Manage each other's reputation
Be supportive and helpful
Be inclusive, invite people who may have an interest or may want to contribute
Look out for the interests of our group and our University
Acknowledge and appreciate each other Look for what can be acknowledged: tell people what you appreciate, what works
Practice acknowledgement frequently
Be authentic
Be aligned on our strategic intent and current projects If we are not aligned, communicate
If progress slows or stops, acknowledge it
Keep resources and energies focused
Always be looking to stop low-impact programs and activities


A powerful group...

  • made up of people who commit and deliver
  • ...produces results
  • ...respects the individual
  • ...handles disagreements
  • ...has personal energies focused on common good
  • ...manages its reputation
  • clear about decision processes
  • able to declare "breakdown" and address it
  • ...has conversations about what doesn't work
  • responsible for its effect on the world in which it operates
  • ...calls something a mistake only if we haven't learned from it
  • ...has fun together

Principles and practices: a review
College of Agricultural Sciences, Oregon State University