ECM Faculty Focus
Charles Darwin 1809-1882
A number of people have spoken to me about the ECM Review paper and expressed their ideas and their concerns about how the Faculty will move forward in the future. A key concern has been how to handle the challenges that lie ahead if we change the way we have traditionally been structured.
I am inspired by the notion that our staff are considering how to evolve so that we can work together to rationalise our daily tasks to free up time for creativity and academic pursuits. Much of the focus still remains about how we can achieve this with the model that has been proposed and how will changing our existing structures help us to achieve our goals?
My personal view is that the review clearly identified that the way we currently organise ourselves creates competition, barriers to collaboration and makes communication more difficult.
In this organisation we have traditionally been affiliated with certain groups and it is possible that those groups may change in the future. Some staff have expressed concern that the new groups may not be as effective as the current groups.
As we strive for our strategic goals, we need to ensure that the dynamics of groups evolve towards cooperation. We can do this by establishing clear organisational goals, clear individual/personal objectives, a clear organisational structure, effective decision making, a sense of fairness through basing decisions on espoused values, candour, having a sensible balance between group and individual rewards, good communication and consistency.
We need to avoid certain group dynamics evolving where groups see more differences between themselves and others than similarities. If this happens, the group may begin to stereotype other groups, pointing out the differences between them and others (e.g. they just aren't in touch with reality!). This can lead to misunderstandings and fighting over resources, isolation, mistrust and silos.
Strong group ties can develop within a group, but we want to ensure that groups are open to new input and inclusive of new members. A group could come together with other groups in a spirit of cooperation to meet new organisational challenges. There could be a shifting collage of group interactions to suit the changing research and teaching needs.
This could create a rich innovative environment. There could be many more personally enriching experiences that make us feel a greater sense of belonging. This kind of environment could help make this a really great place to work. I believe this is not only desirable but necessary if we are to be as effective as we can be.
The challenge for us is to create the kind of place we all want to work in.