Brian Dude, OBU: INFLCR Client Feature

This fall, INFLCR is highlighting our clients across college athletics, and their successes and lessons learned through empowering athletes on social over the past year. Thanks to these featured clients for not only empowering your athletes, but also being champions of the INFLCR app and platform!

In this Q&A, we’re featuring Brian Dude, Associate Athletic Director for External Operations at Oklahoma Baptist University.

What was your work history to get to this point in your career as an Associate AD for External Operations at OBU?

I got my start as a student assistant in the Sports Information department at the University of Oklahoma during my junior year. I spent three and a half years in sports information, serving at different times as the SID for men’s golf, and men’s and women’s gymnastics while also being heavily involved with football and basketball.

After completing my master’s degree I switched gears and was hired as an intern with the Sooner Club, the OU Athletics annual fund. After a year I was hired full time and worked with the Sooner Club for six years, eventually serving as the director of annual giving.

In 2015 I was given the opportunity to come to OBU as they were making the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II to oversee all external operations including sports information, fundraising, sponsorships, and licensing.

In the context of COVID, will your workflow change this year? If so, how?

Absolutely it will. With all of our fall and winter sports suspended until January we’re having to get creative on how to keep our student-athletes engaged, but also to keep our fans interested as well.

With no competitions going on, we’re meeting much more frequently as an external unit to discuss content ideas for social media, website, community engagement, etc. As one of only a handful of Division II programs using the platform, we’re also trying to think of new ways to leverage INFLCR to help our student-athletes share their OBU experience even in the midst of the pandemic and its challenges.

What are the top 3 tips you have for other Associate AD’s when it comes to organization?

1. Focus on your priorities and write them down daily. Especially at the Division II level, we have SO MUCH on our plates that it’s easy to find yourself “spinning plates” all day long and by the time you get ready to leave for the day you have to ask yourself “what did I really accomplish?”

I use a productivity schedule that lists my top three projects for each day, with an additional “to do” list at the bottom, along with scheduled appointments. It also leaves space to list “things I get to enjoy today” and my “life theme” to help me stay focused on the things that really matter.

2. Develop a common language to use on your team that allows everyone to maximize their productivity. We’ve been greatly helped by the “5 Gears” developed by Jeremie Kubicek, an OBU alumnus, and his partner Steve Cockram from GiANT. Our team knows that if I have my office door closed that I am in “5TH Gear”, meaning that I’m “in the zone” or working on a project that requires my full attention and shouldn’t be disrupted.

It works the other way also, where we can tell each other to check out of task mode and take a few minutes to be social and decompress for a bit.

3. Remember that purpose trumps task. I have it written on the whiteboard in my office as a daily reminder. Purpose leads to clarity. If we can’t clearly define the purpose behind something, or if it doesn’t fit with the overall objective of our department or university, then it’s probably not worth doing.

It’s a great filter to make sure that we’re never just loading ourselves down with busy work, but maximizing our ability to be both efficient and effective.

How has your workflow changed since implementing INFLCR throughout all OBU Athletics?

With the relative small size of our staff, it’s certainly added a little bit to our plates on game days, as well as throughout the week. But we were committed to INFLCR being an important part of our strategy moving forward, so it’s been worth the extra time spent to see the success we’ve had with our student-athletes and teams.

Everyone on our staff understands why we’re doing what we’re doing, and we’ve also been fortunate to have some student interns with a vested interest in taking an active role in keeping everything up to date with uploading and tagging content.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten, and who gave you that advice?

That’s a tough one, but one that I keep coming back to is this quote from Herbert Cooper, a pastor in OKC, from a sermon in 2012 – “Be faithful in the small things. Small doors can open into big rooms.”

Keep up with Brian:

Twitter: @brian_dude

LinkedIn: Brian Dude

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