Jefferson Community College, Steubenville, OH
Having successfully defended my dissertation in early June, I found myself with a luxury that was absent for many years, free time in the summer. I took in an REO Speedwagon concert in August and four concepts came to mind: Persistence, Quality, Core Competencies, and Adaptability.
I have seen REO Speedwagon perform live at least 20 times over the past 30 years; their sound is always great and the show is always enthusiastic. As a band, their musicianship is unparalleled.
Since their formation in the early 1970s REO Speedwagon has undergone several personnel changes. They played in bars early on, reached world-wide superstardom with High Infidelity, the best-selling album in 1981, and then found themselves back in the clubs in the late 1980s and 1990s. Yet, because of the quality of their sound and their ability to adapt to changing musical tastes, they have been able to persist and thrive well into the new millennium.
Their ability to adapt was evident during the recent show when they ripped through the anti-war hard rock anthem from 1972 Golden Country and then immediately played Can’t Fight this Feeling, one of the power ballads that put them on top in the 1980s. One aspect of REO’s music that never wavered was their energetic stage show and commitment to quality music. By maintaining these core competencies, they have sustained success after nearly 40 years together.
Persistence, Quality, Core Competencies, and Adaptability. The principles that have enabled REO Speedwagon to endure are the same principles that are required of entrepreneurs in our constantly changing economic climate. Today’s entrepreneurs must have the persistence to continue in the face of tougher times and increased competition. The quality of their products and services must be second to none. And today’s entrepreneur must be able to adapt to changing customer wants and needs. Sustaining success is no easy task. The entrepreneur who identifies, understands, and works at continuous improvement of his/her organization’s core competencies improves the chances of long-term success.
Come to think of it, persistence, quality, adaptability, and focusing on core competencies are four pretty good rules to live by for the classroom instructor who wants to continue to serve his or her community college’s students. It’s no secret that our students have changed over the years. Those of us who are willing to develop new classroom techniques on a solid pedagogical foundation may find ourselves like REO Speedwagon…still rockin’ hard well into the future!