Author: Richard Sharpe
This article sets out Elementa Leadership’s approach to improvement and change. This approach is based upon extensive first-hand experience of organisational change in large corporate organisations, large public sector agencies, national charities and universities. It focuses upon the organisation as a living human system and suggests that a process of emergence might produce better, more sustainable results than a rigidly planned approach to change. It challenges the dominant narrative of ‘transformation’ and instead focuses upon the development of ‘adaptive capability’ as the source of organisational renewal. In a turbulent and rapidly changing world how organisations respond to changing external and internal conditions will largely determine which will continue to succeed and which will experience drift and decline.
Author: Richard Sharpe
The external challenges that universities in the UK, Europe, North America and Australia are facing particularly in the light of the rise of East Asian universities is putting a premium on the effective leadership of nation state higher education systems and of their individual institutions. This article presents the need for a new model of leadership in higher education and offers universities a guiding conceptual framework which can inform and shape investment in leadership development. Bridge-Building Leadership is for those who choose the connected university
Author: Robin Sharpe
This short literature review seeks to disseminate the theoretical and academic underpinnings of Elementa Leadership’s own understanding and thinking of what makes a world class university. The reputation of the world’s leading universities has long transcended sovereign borders. However, in more recent history, the increasing connectedness and transnational fluidity of higher education systems has changed the landscape for all universities, not just a few. Rightly or wrongly, all universities are now defined not simply within the context of national borders, but on a global level. In this regard, understanding what it means to be world class appears particularly central to the future visions and strategies of higher education establishments across the globe.
Author: Stephen Overell
The work of university staff is under unprecedented pressure. Many top management teams and administrative staff appear to have decided academics are “the problem” that stand in the way of efficiency and organisational unity. Meanwhile, academics feel they are subject to endless internal initiatives and told to adopt a customer service mentality that does always not sit easily with the scholarly vocation. This paper argues universities should not try to “engage” academics by telling them what they should do or feel, but instead they should embrace the principles of “good work” – performance, fairness and voice. Good work is a philosophy of employment relations in universities that aims to liberate higher performance through respect for the inherent value of work.
Author: Richard Sharpe and Stephen Overell
This article clarifies approaches to strategic planning and the process of implementing change based upon principles of 'voice' and 'equity' designed to honour and value levels of academic autonomy and diversity whilst creating the basis for greater interdependence and institutional collaboration. It centrally focuses on the widely problematic academic/administrative interface, highlights the need for a new type of 'bridge building' leader and offers a viable alternative to the more linear, 'managerial' and control orientated approaches to change already being adopted in the sector.
Author: Richard Sharpe
Leadership Capability is one of the four key elements of Strategic Agility. This article provides a summary of some of the literature on 'top teams'.
Author: Richard Sharpe
This article looks at how organisations might consider strategic planning and thinking to respond to the scale and complexity of changes both globally and nationally and puts forward ideas about engaging all stakeholders in an adaptive process.
Author: Richard Sharpe
A culture that supports innovation and entrepreneurship is a key enabler of an ‘agile university’. This article sees innovation and entrepreneurship more as a state of mind that can be applied across all organisational activities and is centrally concerned with seeing ‘ideas into action’. Based upon first-hand experience of UK and US HEIs, this article identifies the key observed barriers and inhibitors to ‘ideas into action’.