Think systems, not goals

As the end of the year draws closer, our attention turns inevitably to what we want to achieve in the twelve months to come. It might be a personal goal or a professional one. Or perhaps something for our team. Or for the organisation as a whole. But setting ourselves goals and targets might not, it turns out, be the best way to go at all. Continue reading

In search of evidence

It’s very easy to get excited about new ideas. And when it comes to managing public sector organisations, there are plenty of new ideas about. Whether it’s new public management, performance targets or the marketisation of services, innovative theories of how we can do things better, faster or more cheaply abound. But in the race to leap on the latest bandwagon, we sometimes forget to ask the critical question. Do these shiny new ideas actually work? Continue reading

Good management is important. Even in a university.

When I work with people in the higher education sector, one of the most common things I hear is that universities are different from other types of organisation. The purpose is different. The structure is different. The people are different. Standard ideas of what constitutes good management just don’t apply in the higher education setting, people tell me. But I think they do. And now I have evidence. Continue reading

Some thoughts on teams

This might seem odd for someone who works predominantly on his own, but I’ve been giving some thought recently to what makes a good team. Specifically, I’ve been wondering whether we perhaps tend to establish teams of people who all have similar backgrounds, when in fact we should strive for more diversity of skills, experience and mindset. And on the whole, I’m with diversity. Even if it makes it more difficult for teams to work… erm, well… as a team. Continue reading