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By Trish Olson, Interim Associate Dean

At the Extension Program Conference last week, I attended a session about storytelling as a tool for evaluation by Dr. Richard Krueger. He told us about a study that predicted the characteristics of a successful Extension educator. Was it content expertise? Was it their ability to explain complex research to lay practitioners?


While these skills are important, to succeed in the unique environment of Extension education, the number one characteristic was dependability. Everyone on the team an educator works with needs to know he or she can count on the educator. This idea is important to all of us, but especially to new employees grappling with working in regional or county offices where they are expected to work in teams with FD statewide to get work done.

We don't often get the chance to enjoy each others company.

Dependability is key to you personally, and for your team, to move a "to-do" list to a "to-done" list. Experts in time management actually say not to work from a to-do list, but by the calendar — make a realistic estimate of the time needed to complete the task and schedule that amount of time to accomplish the task on your calendar for all team members to see. Just as important, the the bold act of placing the due date on the calendar tells your team members they can count on you to do your part. In other words, you are making a public commitment to dependability.

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