Friday, 8 May 2009

Squares, circles and squiggles

Had a very productive awayday yesterday with the Executive Teams from CiCS and the Library. The day started with some exploring of our cultures, and in a very lightheatred but illuminating exercise we had to explain how we thought the other service would describe us. We thought the Library would describe us as unstructured, chaotic, laid back, risk takers, geeky, too technical, too flexible and enjoying change and uncertainty. We weren't far wrong! The Library thought we would describe them as hierarchical, customer focused, process and rule driven, risk averse, inflexible and conservative. They weren't too far wrong either! It was an interesting exercise and led to a lot of discussion about where these stereotypes and perceptions come from, how we have changed and how we can start to change the perceptions as well as understand each other better.

We then spent some time exploring what we all did and explaining our vision and aims, objectives and strategic plans and looking at where we had things in common - there was a lot of commonality here. We also looked at our current and future projects to see where we were already collaborating, and where there could be more collaboration. Joint projects we already have include media hosting, evaluating web 2.0 technologies for communicating with students and developing models for learner support. Future projects we identified include research data management, digital preservation, replacement of our current Ucard, and the implementation of new library management systems.

One of the biggest future projects will be Phase 3 of the Information Commons, for which a business case is currently being prepared - that will be very exciting and provide an additional 500 study spaces.

Finally, we did the shapes exercise which looks at personality types based on which of 5 shapes you think best describes you. I won't go into detail, but the CiCS Executive consists of a square, a circle and two squiggles! Can you guess which one of us is which?


Anonymous said...

Organized and a hard worker, you like structure and rules and dislike situations in which you don't know what's expected of you. "Tell me the deadlines and I'll get the job done," you say -- and you deliver. You prefer working alone to teamwork. Logical, you think sequentially -- A, B, C, D. You collect loads of data and file it so information is easy to locate. But you have trouble saying, "I've got enough information," and making a decision.

You are a seeker and an explorer, searching for ways in which you want to grow and change. You ask: who am I? what is the world about? You are the most receptive of the five shapes to new learning. You are the only shape that's not frozen, and you cause your co-workers confusion when you change from day to day. All people go through rectangular periods when they're in a state of change.

A leader, you are decisive and able to focus on the goal. You have confidence in yourself and in your opinions, and you don't hesitate to tell everyone else the way the world is. You can be dogmatic and shoot from the hip. You like recognition and are delighted to tell people about your accomplishments. You can be self-centered and egotistical. You put stock in status symbols. American business has been run by triangles, and this shape is most characteristic of men.

You are a people person, the shape with the most empathy, perception and consideration for the feelings of others. You listen and communicate well. You read people and can spot a phony right off. You like harmony and have your greatest difficulties in dealing with conflict and making unpopular decisions. You are easily swayed by other people's feelings and opinions. You can be an effective manager in an egalitarian workplace, but have difficulty in political environments with a strong hierarchy. If you're a woman, even if you're not a circle, some circle traits have been conditioned into you.

You are creative, a "what if" person who's always thinking of new ways to do something. Your mind never stops and you do cognitive leaps -- from A straight to F. You see the forest and miss the trees. You don't like highly structured environments. You don't tolerate the mundane well and have a short attention span. If you don't get excitement at work, you'll cause it elsewhere in your life.

Chris Sexton said...

So, now you've got the descriptions - any guesses?

Anonymous said...

How about.... Kath = Square, Dave = Squiggle, John = Squiggle, leaving Circle for yourself (fairly sure on first two)

Julio Anjos said...

And now, how do you describe each other's cultures?

Chris Sexton said...

Quoting Anonymous:
"How about.... Kath = Square, Dave = Squiggle, John = Squiggle, leaving Circle for yourself"

Spot on!