We have recently launched our ‘Charter’ here at the Department of Library and Learning Services, which showcases our team aspirations, our working environment and our working relationships. We ended up having a little get together to recap on what we had learnt, how we got here and what's in store moving forward.
Before I get into the celebrations I think it's best we go over how the Charter came about. After some conversations in various departmental meetings it was decided we would investigate a new way of working on projects by exploring 'Squads'. A squad is made up of individuals who wish to participate based on their interest in the topic that the squad will be exploring. There is a squad 'Sponsor' who essentially is the one who created the squad and who oversees its progress. There is also a squad 'Coach ' who helps keep members on track with tasks and provides support to the sponsor.
Squads are generally quite fast-paced with short sprints of working and even shorter meetings to really focus on just getting things done! The ‘Culture’ squad was responsible for the development of the Charter. This wasn't a particularly easy topic to explore as it's quite a broad topic to begin with. What is culture? What is our culture in the department? Isn't that just the environment we work in?
There were some very deep and rich conversations within the squad about all of these questions. However, we all did agree on one thing: we needed something that displays what we want our culture to be like, the kind of environment we want to work in, and who we aspire to be as a team, both with regards to each other but also to the communities that we serve.
The way to achieve this? The Department of Library and Learning Services Charter.
And so began the development of our Charter. The whole department regardless of position or role or grade had opportunities to explore, challenge and debate what the end Charter would become, what would be on there and how we would hold each other accountable if we didn't feel it was being adhered to. This was done through a couple of departmental development days where we explored all of these concepts. The squad then met to collate and produce the Charter.
A date was set to launch the Charter and our Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Mohammad Dastbaz was invited to support us in launching this initiative. I was personally very pleased to see Mohammad turn up, despite the bad weather and his busy schedule, to be with us at our launch event. I think it spoke volumes in recognising the innovative work we had put in to our department and he wanted to be here to tell us that himself.
The launch itself was a chance for us to openly talk about what we had learnt through the process and to recognise that this was something we did together, as a team. The overarching message from the launch event was that we shouldn't be scared to innovate or let failure prevent us from trying things. We are a small institution and with that comes the freedom to be agile and to take more risks. We shouldn't be stuck on a track of 'but we've always done it this way'. That way might be wrong. It’s ok to be wrong, learn from our mistakes, welcome alternatives and move forward.
We all ended the launch with the grand reveal of the final product: a pair of large, framed Charters. One will be put up for all to see in the Library; the other will belong in the staff offices to remind us of our guiding principles. There was of course some bubbly which went down very well and lots of amazing home-made cakes enjoyed by all.
I also found out I can eat 13 pringles at once.
Digital Learning Opportunities Manager