Thursday, September 22, 2011

Creating a Professional Atmosphere

Creating a Professional Atmosphere

One of the goals of Bloomington New Tech has always been to create a culture and environment that is unlike other schools.  Ultimately, we want our environment to emulate that of a business.  As we have grown and changed as a school, one of the most crucial pieces that we have learned is that if you are going to expect something different from the students then we must be intentionally teaching and modeling the desired behavior.

Over the course of the spring semester, I was able to work closely with Rob Lyles, a Vice President at Cook Medical and an invaluable community partner, around the idea of teaching our students what the term professional environment actually “looks” like in the real world.  After much brainstorming and planning, we decided to create an opportunity for our sophomores to visit the Cook Medical facility to experience the environment first hand and to have an opportunity to hear from professionals across a wide variety of fields. 

In order to prepare for this trip, the students spent the week prior working on a video project to instruct viewers on one aspect of professional environment.  Ms. Roth and Mr. Turner kicked off the project with an entertaining display of what’s NOT a professional environment.  The final piece of the project included practicing how to dine in a professional setting.  With the support of Ms. Miller and our cafeteria staff the students “dined” buffet style as “Cook executives” moved from table to table asking questions.

The visit to Cook Medical provided several learning opportunities for our students.  There were several take-aways from the visit to Cook and I would like to highlight a few of those.

Kem Hawkins – President Cook Group
“3 things that will set you apart from 98% of the people in this world”

1.       To be early is to be on time

2.       Allow yourself to fall in love and learn

3.       Being positive is a choice you make every day

Rob Lyles – Vice President, Cook Medical
On fun in a workplace – “We have fun at our work but it cannot disrupt the work environment.”
On clothes – “Clothes need to be appropriate to the context.”
On culture – “Culture is the most deeply valued part of the organization”

 Ron Mobley – Vice President of Human Resources
“You are responsible for innovating and achieving in your life”

1.        Know where you are now.

2.       Determine your goal.

3.       Close the gap between the two – What actions will get you there?

Chris Mobley and Pete Pulverini – Product Managers
“You can’t sit back and let things come to you.  You have to walk through the door of opportunity.”

Our visit to Cook Medical was fantastic.  I cannot thank Pam, Kathy and Jenell enough for all the work they put in to making our trip a success. 

The staff has already seen a significant change in the culture of the school and the professional way in which our students conduct themselves.  I know this trip will be another key piece to creating our ideal school culture.

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