Monday, 7 June 2010


Our Vice Chancellor, Martin Bean, has just delivered a lecture on leadership in the Open University, this despite hosting David Cameron only an hour before.

He started by saying that people need an informal space to learn and mentioned having informal breakfasts for an hour before formal meetings with senior managers. He believes that leaders need to adapt to a situation and an organisation's values not impose own personal values.

What should a leadership team look like?
  • shared vision
  • clarity of purpose
  • willingness to confront tough challenge
  • inspiring leaders
  • decisive
  • excellent communication
  • dedicated to the success of the university
  • living the values of the university
I asked him how you get these various 'tribes' in the university to have a shared clarity of purpose. He referred to having a mission statement, to the original OU mission statement of openness to people, places, methods and ideas, that a mission should be like the North Star, somewhere to point at, broad, not focused, something that followed from the start of the statement "we exist to...".

May be. I like that mission statement because it is to me what the OU is about, but Martin Bean also touched on the innovation of the competition. that innovation was what the OU had thirty years ago and somehow we're now stultifying. I hope he knows how we're going to get going again, because the OU is one of the best things about Britain. In fact, that's a quote that Bean brought up from Peter Florence who twittered:
"OU is up there with NHS, the Beatles and Shakespeare."
Yes, the OU is as great as them, but unfortunately half the Beatles are dead, so is Shakespeare and there are some as says the NHS is on its way out. So may the OU survive to fulfil its mission.

No comments: