In a November 1, 2009 New York Times "Corner Office" piece entitled Leadership Without a Secret Code, Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust discussed the importance of open communication when in a position of leadership.
Faust states, "I spend a huge amount of time reaching out to people, either literally or digitally, and with alumni networks all over the world, so that I can connect. Leadership by walking around - that's a digital space now, it's a virtual space. An enormous amount of my job is listening to people, to understand where they are, how they see the world so that I can understand how to mobilize their understanding of themselves in service of the institutional priorities."
Her desire to reach out and continually understand the position of her stakeholders is very much in line with a comment she made a few years back in our collection when she stated, "Be ready to be surprised and take satisfaction from those surprises."
In a related discussion on communication with Cornell University president, David Skorton, he shared the importance of communicating openly and spending a greater portion of time observing rather than speaking. In this clip from a sit-down interview, he shares an amusing anecdote from a brief conversation with a Cornell student - whose input made him re-think the way he wrote his weekly newspaper column.