Push and Pull

Vintage B&W photo of two people pushing/pulling a stubborn llama

The perfect metaphor for push/pull?

Pushes and pulls are the basis for moving data on the internet but how about as a metaphor within our own division? I have been thinking a lot lately about about how we push and pull various ideas within UTS and throughout the enterprise. Here are two examples of what I mean.

I am excited about a new model for using Blackboard for this year. Analytics is still a major part of the offering but the plan is also help faculty find better ways to use Blackboard, which can vary dramatically from department to department. The lowest level of use is to merely post the syllabus or a few class notes. A higher level of use occurs when both students and faculty are both pushing information likediscussions, questions and answers, or links to outside information into Blackboard.  Other students are then inspired to pull that content which adds both breadth and depth to their education. Fostering that type of interaction in both Chemistry and Poetry classes is not easy but becoming expert in helping faculty do so is what we’re after.

We placed more focus on career management in 2013. One of our biggest investments was in the manager development program, designed to train our managers to be better in the art and skill (science) of leadership. As an example of how well that has worked, Kaven Moodley (Enterprise Applications) and John Ellis (Integration) are two examples of managers who have been very active in taking the information from the training and pushing it down to employees. I know of several examples of managers taking the training and pushing it back out to their team and then asking for feedback on where that training seems to be working the best. No real effort at improving our skills in management, leadership, or “followership” can be successful without this kind of two way interaction.

I want to issue an open invitation to everyone to think about the push and pull of information. Is it working? Are there  improvements you have seen? Leave comments in this article about effective ways you have seen the manager training improve things in your department.

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