The power of shared language

I try to avoid lengthy legal documents. Two of my sisters are lawyers and I sometimes joke – entirely without justification – that even their birthday cards, when you take into account the various caveats and disclaimers, run to several pages. But lawyers can (and I can’t really believe I’m actually writing this) teach us something about effective communication.

Continue reading “The power of shared language”

From data to action

I’ve been working with one of my clients recently to help them to put together a strategy and action plan for an area in which they’d like to see some improvement. They knew what they wanted to do, but they were struggling to get the necessary senior people on board. Not because they didn’t have great ideas. And not because they didn’t have the data to back up their ideas. But because they weren’t using the data in a convincing way. Continue reading “From data to action”

Understanding value

Higher education in the UK is looking for better ways to demonstrate the value that it creates for its students and for society as a whole. Advance HE (formerly the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education) has been working with a pilot group of universities to explore how integrated thinking and reporting can help. And I’ve had the honour of drawing out some of the insights that the project has yielded so far. Continue reading “Understanding value”

Engaging with stakeholders

There are some words that I dislike greatly, but that I find myself using because I can’t think of a better alternative. ‘Incentivise’ is one. ‘Disbenefits’ is another. But my all-time least favourite is far more commonplace: ‘stakeholders’. Yet while I cringe inwardly just typing the word, the concept is an important one. Indeed, your understanding of your organisation’s stakeholders could mean the difference between success and failure. Continue reading “Engaging with stakeholders”

On planners and planning

I had the honour last week of being invited to present a workshop at the annual conference of the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. It was a great event. And I met some fantastic people. But it was the amount I learned in two short days that astounded me. Continue reading “On planners and planning”