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A COMMON SENSE GUIDE TO AVOIDING PERILOUS POLITICAL LANDMINES AN ACL WEBINAR. MARCH 25, 2009 Good Politics Makes Good Sense.

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Presentation on theme: "A COMMON SENSE GUIDE TO AVOIDING PERILOUS POLITICAL LANDMINES AN ACL WEBINAR. MARCH 25, 2009 Good Politics Makes Good Sense."— Presentation transcript:

1 A COMMON SENSE GUIDE TO AVOIDING PERILOUS POLITICAL LANDMINES AN ACL WEBINAR. MARCH 25, 2009 Good Politics Makes Good Sense

2 Never do this:

3 Predictable Patterns of Collaboration Research Shows:  Collaboration can be powerful – but 60% of all partnerships fail  For those partnerships that survive, the partners are more likely to have repeated contracts in the future (familiarity breeds trust and drives down transaction costs)

4 Predictable Patterns of Collaboration Lessons?  The system for establishing and managing the partnership can make or break the initial transaction  Have tolerance for failure (not all your efforts will succeed)  Seize and build upon even modest success to set stage for next collaborative transaction

5 Partnerships are built on human systems The system for engaging people in your collaborative is the political context The political context is the second pillar to success (captivating idea + effective system for engaging people = action) It is your responsibility to establish a framework within which the entire effort makes sense to multiple players at multiple levels of the organization Coherent, consistent communication is the bedrock of political success

6 The Framework for Success coherenceaccountabilitytransparency

7 The Idea! (as dreamed up in your office) We are going to build a common platform for course management across our colleges, unleashing the potential to share 25,000 courses.  (This is what you think you are communicating effectively)

8 As It is translated by a group so it is understandable to them Πρόκειται να χτίσουμε μια κοινή πλατφόρμα για τη διαχείριση σειράς μαθημάτων στα κολλέγιά μας, που εξαπολύουν τη δυνατότητα να μοιραστούμε τις προσφορές σειράς μαθημάτων στα μέλη μας.  What they could be hearing/repeating: Faculty will lose jobs! Someone else will decide our curriculum! We’re going to have to learn a new course management system! (Irrational negativity) or  Irrational positivity: We’ll get free money for new courses! New immersion video technology for everyone!

9 As it is then translated back for others on the campus We are to build a common platform for the management of line of courses in our colleges, that start the possibility of be shared the offers of line of courses in our members. Tomorrow!  And now the original message is hopelessly garbled with little or no chance of being effectively taken up as a coherent, strategic opportunity.

10 And the result is predictable:

11 PICK UP THE PHONE! VISIT CAMPUSES GET TO KNOW THE KEY STAKEHOLDERS ANALYZE THEIR PLANS READ THEIR WRITINGS If you don’t, you will inevitably start to “solve problems” they don’t even have – and certainly run the risk of being irrelevant 1. Understand your members as individuals and institutions

12 GROUPS ARE RARELY CAPABLE OF ACTING BUILD TRUST SUPPORT DECISION MAKING PROVIDE A COHERENT CONTEXT TRANSPARENT SYSTEM FOR ACTION If you are relying on a committee to take an idea and move it to action, you will soon be mired – you must use the group as part of the system for action. But you must build a coalition and develop a transparent way of moving forward. 2. Large Groups of People Act in Unpredictable Ways

13 GET OUT OF YOUR OFFICE LISTEN, LISTEN LISTEN UNDERSTAND DOMAIN OF CONTROL BE CURIOUS NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING If you are not consulting broadly, you are not doing your job & you are missing out on the value in the wisdom and diversity of thinking offered by others. 3. Avoid Unilateral Action Like the Plague

14 SELF CONTROL IS VERY IMPORTANT TACT & DIPLOMACY ARE CRUCIAL IF YOU ARE UNSURE, EMULATE You’ll all have to work together for many years on many projects – don’t throw a hand grenade in your own boat. 4. Communicate With Grace

15 DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY THERE IS NO ROOM FOR NEUROSIS FOCUS ON STAYING EFFECTIVE BE QUICK TO GIVE CREDIT BE QUICK TO ACCEPT BLAME Even if you don’t feel confident, you must act in a calm self-assured way. You gain that self assurance not through absolute mastery of all the content – but mastery of a system for broad consultation and action. 5. Get Over Yourself

16 PEOPLE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED NEVER WITHHOLD BAD NEWS CHECK IN EARLY AND OFTEN Everyone wants to be part of a “going concern” – so engage them by sharing both good and bad news as a way to let them guide needed adjustments. 6. Do Not Surprise People

17 LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT 7. Tell Them What You Are Going to Do: Do it: Tell Them What You Did

18 THERE IS A TRANSACTION PACE BENCHMARK THAT PACE AND IMPROVE IT CONSTANTLY ASSESS AND EVALUATE BE CLEAR ABOUT HOW THINGS WILL END Always have an exit strategy. Consult with other consortia on “transaction pace.” 8. Be patient – but know when to exit

19 COMMUNICATION PROJECT MANAGEMENT NETWORKING LEADERSHIP Always, always, always improve your performance. 9. Develop and refine your skills

20 By Applying These Skills From pitchfork mob to….. Just another fabulous day in your magical consortium

21 E. M. FORSTER, HOWARDS END “Only connect. That was the whole of her sermon” Barbara McFadden Allen, CIC,


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