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From the Vice President

“The Difference Between a Pebble and a Mountain Lies in Whom You Ask To Move It”

Developing our strengths will get us closer to “doing what we do best every day” than if we try to fix our shortcomings. This is the basic premise of StandOut 2.0 by international headliner speaker and author, Marcus Buckingham. Buckingham joined us on campus last month for a special event presented by Boise State College of Business and Economics and our partners at KeyBank.

It was an honor to hear from one of the business world’s leading experts on teams and performance, especially given the relevance of Buckingham’s work to philanthropy. Buckingham bases his work on The Gallup Organization and Donald Clifton’s StrengthFinders, and applies the concepts to the workplace, leadership and fulfilling the quest for long-lasting personal success. He says that when we pay attention to our strengths as individuals, what we’re doing is finding out how we can most successfully rely on each other. Considering the kinds of partnerships we form with alumni and donors, “how can we most successfully rely on each other” is a very important question to answer.

If we define the strengths of Boise State University based on known traits such as “visionary, risk-taking, forward-thinking and innovative,” how would we best leverage these strengths with supporters of the university? Our University Advancement team also must consider how we play to individual strengths that are important for fundraising, such as strategic, connectedness, empathy, ideation, responsibility and more.

Buckingham teaches us that we are at our best when we are working in teams of individuals with diverse strengths, and when we know how to leverage our differences. When teams engage the best of each person, they are much more productive, engaged and effective. So when strengths are in play between our team, donors and alumni, the impact is much greater—and more meaningful to everyone.

I am committed to building a team with diverse strengths, growing our understanding of how strengths enable us, and using our strengths to maximize mutually beneficial relationships with our alumni, friends and community. This is how we discover how to most rely on each other. Buckingham says that innovation and best practices can be sown throughout an organization, but only when they fall on fertile ground. He also says, “the difference between a pebble and a mountain lies in whom you ask to move it.” Understanding our strengths gives us the power to align possibility with fulfillment and, together with your help, advance the mission of Boise State.

StandOut2.0 and Now Discover Your Strengths offer assessments to identify your strengths

Laura Simic’s Top 5 Strengths:

  1. “Strategic”
  2. “Futuristic”
  3. “Maximizer”
  4. “Connectedness”
  5. “Individualization”



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

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