Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A Call to Action - meeting Notes June 20

The following notes summarise an internal CSLLD meeting held on Jun 20, 2012 -- which was really a preliminary "call to action" that is necessary prior to any formal planning

Aim: To identify strategies for instigating research activities & developing research capcity within CSLLD.

In Attendance: Karen Cieri, Gary Fry, Linda Dawson, Elizabeth Mountford, Donna Murray, Steve Sjoberg, Melissa Nixon, Glen Speering, Jon Mason & Leigh Blackall.

Materials: A draft document Profiling CSLLD Research Capability was circulated prior to the meeting. This document needs to be completed by all staff engaged in research activities. It was noted that entries into this document combine professional & personal research activities.

Issues & Inputs: 

  • In its first year CSLLD has focused primarily on establishing its suite of teaching programs and research activities are yet to be coordinated 
  • Research is seen as just as important as the teaching programs - particularly as the centre heads towards achieving self-sufficiency. There is also a close relationship between relevant research and relevant teaching.
  • Partners who established CSLLD - CDU & DET - have different expectations regarding research
  • Ethics approval is very important for many research activities & if not cleared by the appropriate agencies (CDU &/or DET) then it is likely that publication of research findings becomes compromised - BUT, if a contract is already in place that specifies research activities & outputs then "ethics approval" exists by default
  • Useful to follow the ARC & NEIF procedures - Gary has used ARC as a best practice model
  • Literature reviews don't require ethics approval & provide important perspective on related research that may require ethics clearance.
  • Research activities can be vary enormously in scale - it may be useful to take on small challenges first
  • "Ownership" of the research data & output will need to be explicit - possibly on a case-by-case basis
  • Ensuring the Strategic Plan provides adequate scope for development of research capability  
  • Readiness - Centre needs to assemble documentation that will bring efficient workflows to the process of responding to grants. 
  • Some concern expressed about Intellectual Property - this will sometimes be straightforward (using letters of exchange) & sometimes complicated (DET may own the primary data but who owns the output?)
  • Strong interest in establishing a CSLLD Journal sometime within the next 12 months - possibly using Open Journal Systems as a vehicle to capture quality research outputs of staff & students. This would just need to be hosted locally as it is free software.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Succession Planning as a Form of Leadership

By Glen Speering


The Northern Territory suffers from high rates of staff turnover, from high levels of churn, and a shortage of experienced workers in most professions. Staff turnover can lead to continuation problems of programs and ventures, resulting in poor outcomes for end users (clients and participants) and relationships between partner organisations (Speering, 2012). Vacant leadership positions are then often filled, with no continuation or succession plan being apparent.

In the absence of on the job training, supervision or mentoring, it is succession planning that becomes the essential element of preparing staff for leadership positions and limiting problems with program continuation. However, what is not often though of is that the act of preparing succession plans, is in itself a form of demonstrated leadership.

As it is “... the principle job of a leader to develop the next generation of leaders” (as cited in Groves, 2007: p. 241), then any process which develops leadership is in and of itself an act of leadership.

Demonstrating the value of specific skills, for when a member of an organisation leaves, is an important process for providing pointers for the next person (generation) to be working in that position. Providing pointers and guides to what works and what has been discovered to be valuable can be counterweighted by the elaboration of problems and unresolved issues within a leadership position.

This week, a soon to be retiring member of the Centre for School Leadership, Learning and Development (CSLLD) team, demonstrated elements of the above process. In what have clearly been unintentional and natural acts, tremendous leadership has been shown throughout the week. Knowledge transfer was apparent with a personal development and reflection activity (Myers Briggs Type Indicator session). A succession plan was also put forward for comment and discussion. The act of preparation and thoughtfulness shown towards other team members at the CSLLD by preparing the succession plan is an important piece of work which is not often carried out. 

Us humans sometimes appear to have a little princess syndrome where we think that no-one else could possibly do our job, or that we won’t need to confront the thought of being moved on, or about the hole that is left when we move up. After all, for most, there is a hole that we have had to fill, with no help: So why should I help out someone else when I didn’t get it? And it is in this space where it is important to put aside natural tendencies, to self-evaluate, to self-reflect, and to make sure the right thing is done for the next generation – the next person. That act of being outside of the self, to do what is right, what is beneficial, is an act of leadership. And an important one at that.

Kevin S. Groves, (2007) "Integrating leadership development and succession planning best practices", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 26 Iss: 3, pp.239 – 260