Friday, March 24, 2017

Bean counting in academia

Never a checklist, always complexity. (Michael Fullan)
The largest cost in academia is the staff.
To save 2% the too obvious target is cut 1 person out of every 50 = Saving made.
But if you know you work with complexity a single solution is unlikely to address complex concerns.

Get a moral compass.

Work out what your core business is, and what's bottom line.
Restructure or at least prune what's not core business.
Catalyze committment to the vision with efficiency
Differentiate between whats essential, whats nice, whats fiscal vs pedagological
eg not changing shape of assessments because they are financially sensible, they still have  to be educationally sound also.
eg consider cost reductions of things expensive with value but is the cost worth the gain.
It cant be done without thoughtfulness. As Simone de Beauvoir said of ethics, it doesn't lend itself to recipes; thoughtfulness will be required.

Consider the costs of getting things done.
What does/does not pay for itself.
Eliminate low value activities that are not core business.
Consider where the core business is not cost effective and might be cut. Do it. 
Redploy meeting times, shorten meetings, get rid of meetings that are not cost effective.Time is money, saving time, saves money:
Imagine a meeting of about 16 exceptionally well paid people. They discuss for 2.5 hours the need for the organisation to save money.
16 people x $45.00 an hour = $720
 What I know is that's not working. There was not a single action point that resulted in a single cent being saved. A lot of hand wringing went on, a lot of air, both hot and frosty, got aired.
Following remonstrations to save money, I cannot help but think, cancel such meetings....and other meetings that could instead free up time for work.

Look for value added rather than value substract. (Seth Godin)
Not replacing staff when a position becomes vacant versus managing underperforming staff.
Depletion should not occur in the value base. (Hargreaves)
Look for enduring greatness. (Fullan)
Nurture relationships. The single factor common to successful change is that relationships improve. If relationships improve, schools get better. If relationships remain the same or get worse, ground is lost. (Fullan)
Offer leave without pay
Offer leave with redundancy

Gain control of miscellaneous spending
Paper: In Nov-Dec at a time when where i work has no students,  photocopying was in excess of $2500..l
Leases on computers: Could these be for more than 3 years
Hourly paid: Marking, hourly paid tutorials,
Looki after the cents and the dollars just might look after themselves.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Improving communications and workplace culture with a five finger meme. Rules of engagement.

Rules of engagement in a workplace renowned for herding cats...Simple rules.

Some simple rules for engagement based on an easy 5 finger mantra:

1. Thumbs up:
Bring your positivity

Engage with shared purpose: we are all in this for a shared reason, improving on what is, or will be otherwise.

Be respectful, polite, assume the best of others.

And give attribution where it is due >^^<

2. The index, pointing finger, or trigger finger.
Don't point at others.
Dont. Point. Fullstop.

 Make "I" statements rather than "you" statements.
Practice assertiveness skills:
The Desc script:
Describe with concrete data not with judgements
Express your concern regarding this
Suggest alternatives, seeking agreement
Convey the consensual consequences of such an approach.

3. The middle finger
Don't be rude.
image via

4. The ring finger
Engagement and commitment

Be on time
Use other's time respectfully
Follow through, accountability and responsibility matters.

Image by luv2laff(2014)

5. Small things matter:
Everyone plays more nicely when fed, watered, and get toilet breaks.
Treat people well, relationships are the only way we have to collectively move forward.
And remember other lives outside of a work-place also matters.