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A survival guide for college managers and leaders by David Collins

By David Collins

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Where there are important pieces of the policies and procedures jigsaw missing or where existing guidelines seem out of date or inconsistent with the college's higher level aims and values, or indeed with each other, this is an excellent opportunity to consult and get as many views as possible as to the way forward. Starting with setting out what the present situation is and what you want to achieve in general terms offers a good framework for individuals or groups to add their contributions. Depending on the importance of the policy in question, this may be as simple as a one-off email request for suggestions to a series of discussion groups over a period of time.

In this respect, it can be useful to assign individual strategic aims to each of the members of the senior management team (SMT) as overall 'guardians' and to ensure that they report back to the corporation on a termly basis as to what has been achieved. The SMARTer the aims (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely), the easier this will be, although it is often a good idea to list activities that the college is undertaking which those responsible believe are moving the college in the required direction, even if a direct effect can't really be calculated.

Take your diary and mark them in before doing anything else. If you can't decide, take a possible block of time and assign it to 'Provisional holiday dates'. If you start to feel guilty, worry. You've got a problem. ' Try and keep to these rules. For many this can be really difficult, but believe me they are important if you wish to have a family and/or social life. Being a workaholic isn't something to be proud of. It's as dangerous and life-threatening as being an alcoholic. If you can't go a day without work and you're at your desk from dawn until dusk, make sure you have really good health and life insurance.

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