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Extreme fire danger

When we're in the middle of a bad situation -- whether a short episode or a prolonged, multiyear, downward trend -- we can default to tried-and-true methods of thinking and reacting. But often it's just these methods that allow a small problem to grow.

Earlier this year, MIT's Sloan Management Review published a case study on how firefighters in New Mexico responded to a small grass fire that exploded into a major billion-dollar wildfire. The authors suggest that the first responders did not adequately analyze the early dangers or properly intervene in slowing the early momentum of the fire. From this case, the authors extrapolate important organizational lessons on what they call "dysfunctional momentum."

They start with three basic observations about dysfunctional momentum:

  1. People intimately involved in a situation may not focus on issues that seem minor (like smoldering embers).
  2. After dysfunctional momentum is recognized, the situation must be interrupted if the momentum is to be stopped early.
  3. "Situated humility" is needed -- the willingness to reach out to others for possible solutions. No one person can solve all problems.

The authors go on to describe practical ways for leaders to think about problems and relate to others in potentially explosive situations. Leaders and governing boards of theological schools have much to learn from this study, as we notice smoldering embers in our own institutions, address the quickly changing contexts of theological education, and provide the informed, measured leadership required for good governance.

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Strategic Partnerhips


In this on-demand webinar, Rick Staisloff, senior partner of rpk GROUP, will discuss essential aspects of strategic partnerships. He will explore current trends, identify partners, navigate the due diligence process, and addresses common challenges. In addition to technical components of partnerships, he will also examine the intangible – yet critical – elements of partnerships, such as building trust and managing relationships.

Closing the Trust Gap


The current and very troubling condition of trust is a clarion call to action. But despite the dismal data showing pervasive organizational distrust, every organization can assess their current level of trust, learn and adopt a proven trust building framework, and then develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan of action. This webinar details the knowledge and practical next steps to strengthen workplace culture as a result of closing the trust gap.

In Trust Center Resource Grants


An In Trust Center Resource Grant offers member schools a chance to explore innovation at their institutions through a matching grant opportunity of up to $15,000. Listen to this 30-minute information session, including Q&A, as we provide details on eligibility requirements, funding priorities, application process. Previous grantees are eligible to apply as long as they are not within our current funding cycle.

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