There is a burning platform. Although still too many argue strongly otherwise, they do not yet see a growing pressure on resources, where Universities must explore innovative service delivery and support services: increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve quality. There is a need to persuade faculty and staff that they must be part of the solution and ensure every available penny is directed to the university’s core purpose: high quality teaching and research, enhancing the student experience.
People are at the heart of this. Everyone says people are at the heart of the system – but all too often it appears that they are not – strong technically robust solutions that do not pass the test of human factor. Key stakeholders, including HM Treasury and BIS, look for hard projects with clear, measureable outputs. Yet experience shows nearly always that the main barriers to change are not a lack of clarity or logic in a project, but human barriers to change. Soft skills are actually the hardest to do. Part of the change process is the difficult task of developing leaders who can attend to the human factor, engage with their staff, and develop the capability to lead transformational change.
Create a positive prospectus for change. To gain acceptance that a periodic ‘make or buy’ strategic review is not a threat but an opportunity and helps people see the case for change, informs decision making and raises service levels. Well-designed, re-engineered support services improve quality, because good design strips out waste and provides delivery by those best able to do it. It means staff are better deployed to serve the core purpose; funds are liberated for people to deliver teaching and research.
Universities are creative places – VCs complain to me about the paradox they see - where staff are innovative and creative in their chosen disciplines 100% of the time but 100% against this when it comes to running the university. But why should the delivery of support services be excluded? A culture that hates form filling and bureaucracy really ought to commit to find new ways, in a spirit of enquiry that all university staff are surely pre-programmed to possess. I hope your institution has the leadership to create a built-in mind-set to search restlessly, for ways to do things more ingeniously, embrace new technology and do things much better than before.
The human factor is vital – I hope your University is a human place. There is a familiar litany here. Surveys over many years show at best a 40% success rate for change projects – up from 30% when I was a management consultant in the 1990s. They look good intellectually and logically – plenty of IQ, but insufficient attention to EQ – emotional intelligence, a weakness in bringing people with them. Understand this and don’t let your projects crash on the rock of human resistance to change.
Be a leader who ‘gets it’ - Employee engagement is about leaders who ‘get it’, who share their vision and direction, aim to co-create, work with their staff, provide a strong employee voice and see change as part of what your people do – that they generate the best ideas and they actually ‘do’ the change.
The value of ‘nudge’ - if you start with a negative proposition that things will be unpopular with staff, with unions and with students and get your retaliation in early, then you will have a hard life - a line is crossed, barricades go up and buildings get occupied. Instead, behavioural economics or ‘nudge’ can help. University staff value autonomy and independence above all. They like to see the evidence and make their own minds up: nudge techniques encourage positive decision-making, creating an image of what desired outcomes look like and then do it without ever having to be told.
As a boy I went to the Art Gallery to admire this painting by Joseph Wright - ‘The Orrery’ – he used art to promote science, the beauty of the spirit of enquiry that marks out our search for knowledge – it was a device to show how the planets revolved around the sun and not vice versa. What I have tried to show here is how engaging leadership can create new forms of change capability where the human factor is vital in the success of your transformational change projects.
Screen saver during questions - the Human Factor
Spare slide if needed
Spare slide if needed
Keynote address II: Engaging leaders and leading transformation
Engaging Leadership & Transformational Change
Dr Mark Pegg
4 February 2014
THERE IS A BURNING PLATFORM
Everyone is part of the solution
Ensure every available penny
is spent on
teaching and research
PEOPLE AT THE HEART OF THIS
People are at the heart of this
NEW LF SERVICES
The LF brand image and LF services need to change:
• Support from a ‘Change Adviser’ – to individuals & teams
• Offer a Personal Change Readiness Diagnostic
• Change Project Health Check Diagnostic – based on the
Cabinet Office model of Capability Reviews
• Supporting in-house change consultants
• In-house Change Academy
• Build change capability sessions into LF programmes
QUESTIONS LF IS ASKING HE SECTOR?
• What support do you need to develop the ‘change
capability’ skills of your leaders & managers?
• Is there a difference between the support needed
for academic colleagues and those from