Picture of Ross from FRIENDS carrying a couch shouting, "PIVOT!"

The Infamous “FRIENDS” couch scene

Pivot. Hear the word and some people can only think of the Friends couch scene with Ross obnoxiously yelling, “PIVOT! PI-VAWT!” As Ross shouts, Rachel and Chandler struggle to hold on to a heavy couch while moving the piece of furniture up a twisting staircase. If you haven’t seen it, it is a guaranteed laugh out loud. There’s no hope of getting this sofa up the staircase…especially with one person shouting directions, louder and louder. As if volume was the issue.


When I hear pivot, I think of business strategy and the elbow room the word gives to entrepreneurs and business owners. I think it is less intimidating, honestly, and more elegant, than the word change. And making change less intimidating is certainly something good for higher ed these days.

Book cover of Soliday and Lombardi's PIVOT: A Vision for the New University

PIVOT: A Vision for the New University, by Joanne Soliday and Mark Lombardi

To me, pivot suggests a tweek, an adjustment without judgment. It’s encouraging, like taking a taste of a new food or giving a listen to a new song. The word suggests a bridge from what was to what can be. Even when the pivots are dramatic and multi-faceted, as the examples provided in PIVOT: A Vision for the New University, by Joanne Soliday and Dr. Mark Lombardi, the word imbues positive action. I find that same infusion of positive, call-to-pivot, throughout Soliday and Lombardi’s book. It works to impress upon us – we higher ed leaders and communicators – the great import and opportunity for pivoting. Now.


Logo for 31Minutes Podcast

H·A ThirtyOne’s podcast offers insights and interviews for higher ed leaders and communicators.

Karen Black and I caught up with Joanne Soliday on the first-ever two-part series of 31Minutes’ podcast. In part one, “Pivoting Toward What’s Possible,” the two Kare/yn’s interview Soliday (who is both co-author of PIVOT and co-founder of Credo, a higher ed consulting firm) about some of the book’s challenges to institutions, such as a new way of looking at consensus and how to find your school’s “Disruptor-in-Chief.” Part two, which will launch in early September, finds us sitting down with Credo’s Chief Brand Officer and Co-Owner, Emma Jones, and the firm’s Senior Vice President and Co-Owner, Joretta Nelson, about how they’re making the lessons of PIVOT accessible and implementable through their Thriving 2.0 framework. We promise you’ll fill up your post-it notes with ideas and begin strategizing for ways to instigate some of your own campus pivots.

Like what you hear on 31Minutes? Share it! And if we see your review or shout out, we’ve got a special 31Minutes sticker just for you!

Find us on all the popular pod dispatchers! Just search 31Minutes and subscribe to get our monthly episodes and bonus content in your podcast feed.