Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Just for CiCS
One of the issues that comes up a lot in any large, complex organisation is communication. Here in CiCS we have over 220 staff in 6 different locations, and it can be a difficult to get it right - not least because people have very different needs, both in what they want to see, and how they want to see it. One person's information overload is another's information desert. Some people want everything to come to them in an email, some see email as a distraction or an old fashioned way of communicating, others have really taken to social media. We try to make information available as widely as we can, and there a number of good sources to go to - but that's not to say we can't improve.
There also has to be an element of proactivity - people have to go and find things, not wait for it to be just given to them - this is a University after all :-) Nothing winds me up more than someone saying "I didn't know about that", when I've written a blog post about it, or "nobody told me", when there's been something in Just for CiCS. Just for CiCS is our internal Google site, set up for the department, which has a lead story, and then various posts about work and about people. The work stories are updated frequently, sometimes daily, and the people ones every month, when we also produce a paper version of the site for those people without easy access to computers. It's an excellent source of news about the department - and I always find out things I didn't know before.
I hope this blog provides an update of the things I do and am thinking about, and the Learning Technologies one is excellent. There's also the monthly email to all staff and students in the University.
But, as I said earlier, there will always be things that we can improve, and the last staff survey indicated that some staff didn't always know how or why decisions had been taken, or felt fully engaged with the department's direction. So, we're meeting in the next few days to look at putting together a staff engagement strategy and implementation programme to improve that.
Finally, I have heard the odd comment along the lines of 'I'm too busy to read that", or I've got too much to do in my job to find out about that". That always makes me think about Stephen Covey and his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. His 7th is "Sharpen the Saw". This is based on the analogy of a woodcutter who is sawing for several days straight and is becoming less and less productive. The process of cutting dulls the blade, and when someone suggests that he stops to sharpen the saw, he says 'I can't I'm too busy sawing...." We all need to take a break and sharpen our saws occasionally.