Monday 29 March 2010

Negotiating the future of the post office

Spent the morning giving the Chair of a village Parish Council a crash course in negotiating, and the afternoon working with her to facilitate a negotiation between business owners about the future of the village post office.

Did not get a deal - there wasn't one there to be had - but did manage to ensure that a difficult set of issues was thoroughly explored, that nobody was bullied or abused, and that everyone is clear what the next steps are - and that felt like a win in the circumstances!

Used the Harvard Principled Negotiating approach (see Getting to Yes, Fisheer & Ury) and as ever it delivered a fair, efficient and (reasonably) amicable process, enabling us to clarify that there was no deal that was going to work in a way that avoided the parties attacking each other (again) and demonstrated that the PC had done all it could to facilitate discussions.

Friday 26 March 2010

Media Training (2)

I was so busy name-dropping in the last post (cue solo trumpet) that I forgot to mention the real stars: all the academics and professional staff from the University of Essex. Through their practice interviews I learned a huge amount, about Alberti, that great renaissance polymath, Goal Setting and Dental Hygiene, making Art History more vocational (though I do have some questions about that), and pioneering research into Alzheimers' disease.

And that was only a quarter of the group (we were split into small groups for the practice sessions).

I love the diversity of specialisms, the expertise and the passion of these people! Leaders of the future...

Thursday 25 March 2010

Media Training

Excellent two days of Media Training as part of the Essex Futures Leadership programme I help to run.

Brian Hanrahan was a great interviewee, passing on a wealth of experience in a most enjoyable way, and Tony King was both informative and a great speaker.

Karen and Kevin from Mosaic who did the media training were excellent, and all present (including me) benefited from their support - and challenge.

We made several podcasts on the first day, and practiced radio and TV interviews on the second.

Monday 22 March 2010

Ideas for Questions

I am due to interview Brian Hanrahan on Wednesday in front of the participants on a programme for early career academics at Essex University (brain child of the inspirational VC, Colin Riordan).

So what should I ask him? The overall themes of the programme are about leadership, team working, collaboration, and how academic life really works, and the specific theme for the day is using the media.

So any ideas for stimulating questions gratefully received!

Also, should I be more Desert Island Discs or Question Time (or Weakest LInk, come to that...?)

Mission Impossible

Only two of the three people due to attend today turned up, and only one of the two invited speakers (due to misinformation about the course being postponed...)

However, the two who did come really entered into it, and we had a creative, productive and enjoyable day, albeit with fewer perspectives than we would ideally have liked...

Whilst we didn't entirely solve the challenge of doubling research income whilst maintaining the quality of teaching and learning in a discipline area, we did generate some useful ideas which the participants believe will really help.

But with the best will in the world, a day workshop with just two attendees takes some energy... one of those days when you feel you have really earned your wages...

Saturday 20 March 2010

What's going on?

People are often surprisingly interested in the other things I do, apart from the particular context in which they've encountered me.

So I have started this blog and a Twitter account as a way of giving people a glimpse of the range of things I get embroiled in.

Some entries will be straightforward accounts of what's going on, where that's in the public domain. For confidential work, I will change names, organisations, timelines etc to protect my clients' identities, whilst telling the stories I think people will find interesting and instructive.

Interviewer interviewed

I am looking forward to turning the tables on Brian Hanrahan, He is attending a leadership programme I am facilitating for Essex University next week, and we will be interviewing him. Should be fascinating.

Impossible Programme

On Monday I am running the Art of the Impossible: how to double Research output in a discipline whilst maintaining the quality of Teaching and Learning. This is for a post-92 University.

I have just learned that only 3 heads of department are now able to attend, so the various exercises, syndicate work etc I had planned are no longer appropriate. Major re-design focusing on creative processes of idea generation and dialogue...