Feeling the Heat of Uncertainty

We are in such interesting times. For so many people and especially those working in higher education—along with families and individuals considering a college or university—there are moments of relief and a resurgence in satisfaction about this renewed opportunity. But others are in a “boom or bust” mode, wondering if the lingering uncertainty that has been around for quite some time is temporary or really is going to have a lasting impact and result in a permanent slowdown—for almost everyone.

New York Times reporter Ben Casselman wrote an article back in April that noted the following: “There is little sign so far that rising gas prices, stock market volatility or fear of Covid has damped consumers’ willingness to spend, or businesses’ willingness to hire. But those factors are adding to uncertainty, making it harder for policymakers to discern where the economy is headed, and to decide how to react.”

Fast forward to a recent article he wrote this month with Jeanna Smialek titled, “This Is Going to Hurt” and accompanied by this subhead: “Inflation is expected to remain high later this year even as the economy slows and layoffs rise. Already, signs of financial stress are surfacing.”

The financial stress gets further exacerbated, because based on the recent research via SallieMae and Ipsos, they note, “While families view college education as an investment in the student’s future—one that could lead to better opportunities—there is confusion and uncertainty when it comes to financing that education.”

Lawlor Recommends

No question, the heat is on due to so much uncertainty. But as we have noted for several years now, all of this is driving the necessity to be consistently innovative and edupreneurial. One of Tom Fishburne’s recent Marketoons focused on “The Innovation Funnel,” and he pointed out how important it is for so many of us to consistently think outside-the-box. It can really lead to new opportunities.

College and university leaders must focus now on bringing more small groups together for new idea generation (ideation) and engage in more soft thinking rather than hard thinking. Soft thinking is metaphorical, approximate, diffuse, humorous, playful, and imaginative; it germinates new ideas by covering a wide area of possibilities. Hard thinking tends to be logical, precise, analytical, specific, judgmental, and consistent; it harvests new ideas by focusing on the practical. If you do this, it will definitely help diffuse uncertainty.


About Lawlor Advisory
Lawlor Advisory provides college and university leaders with an informed depth of expertise and a breadth of perspective to create distinction, enhance value and achieve results by providing market intelligence that leads to intelligent solutions via research, consulting, and communications. Currently, our advice and counsel are focused primarily on enrollment management, leadership/organizational consultation, operational audits, strategic planning and SWOT ideation sessions, creation and development of segmented communications via multiple channels, and presenting our Trends in Higher Education for campus communities and board leadership prior to facilitating multiple ideation sessions to generate new ideas and viable solutions.