The Pursuit of Academic Distinctiveness
Well, it is week two of my blog and we are in the process of arranging a couple of meetings before the deliverables are finalized.
The first meeting is with various senior administrators from the advisory group to finalize the expected deliverables and outcomes of the initiative. The second meeting is with the Research Subcommittee to discuss the research methods, various target populations, sample sizes, approach, etc.
This two-step process is critical prior to officially implementing the search phase (Phase 1) of the Academic Distinctiveness Project, as it will ensure a shared goal, clear expectations, and a university-wide perspective – a critical milestone prior to implementation.
This will also allow us a more definitive and comprehensive timeline and project outline for when all are back in the fall. As with many summer schedules, this has been a bit of challenge to schedule, but worth the wait before the implementation of the research phase.
Why the above is critical, according to Fisher (1998), In the Industrial Age, a work characterized by hierarchical organizations that relied on management direction and organizational departmentalization to provide order and consistency.
“Unlike rational organizational structures of the past, organizations now need to rely on employee empowerment rather than management control and direction. Team organizations have created work structures that are more democratic and flexible with a common mission of sharing responsibility for results and decisions between management and workers. The ideal team is characterized by a global rather than departmental focus. Problems are controlled at the source rather than by a separate policy function. Continuous improvement is highly valued. Self-managing teams are said to be the key to leaner and more flexible organizations capable of adjusting rapidly to changes in the environment and technology.”
I believe that when working within a team environment, we need not only to look at the structural perspective, as I mentioned above, but also the cultural and the political perspectives as well. The structural perspective is the easiest, the cultural gets into the aspects of symbols and norms, which motivate the company.
However, the political perspective tends to elude inexperienced managers greatly! Gatekeepers, information bottleneck, entrenched employees, shadow management styles, etc. I believe that in order for an individual to really impact teamwork, he/she should focus on all three perspectives, or he/she will find it more difficult than expected.
As for a team supporting team work, you need to find the motivation of each person, which are not always universal. Furthermore, it could be the last thing you expect. So take the time, find out and you will be amazed how much you see if you look through all three of the lenses.
During this process, I have been discussing with our Dean of Faculty about the dynamics of the teams that we are bringing together for this project. I wanted to support my claim that it is important to remember that every time a team is put together, even though teams go through the following stages: 1. Forming – team members are introduced; 2. Storming – the team transitions from “as is” to “to be”; 3. Norming – the team reaches consensus on the “to be” process; 4. Performing – the team has settled its relationships and expectations; and 5. Adjourning – the team shares the improved processes with others—that without “Adjourning” the first four stages do not matter, as it will be work in a vacuum.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the
right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if
we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would
continue to open their wallets.”
- Steve Jobs
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
What advice would you like the Advisory Team to consider?