Vogel Wakefield newsletter, February 2016
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The higher education issue


Right from when we founded Vogel Wakefield, we had a conviction that, though we weren't from the world of higher education, we had plenty to offer it. Five years later, universities represent one of our most significant areas of business and we have discovered that counter-consultancy and higher education are made for each other. Coming from the BBC, we recognised in university cultures complex beasts that deliver ambitious public purposes in a competitive global market. Modern higher education combines significant managerial intervention with a tradition of professional autonomy. Striking the right balance is difficult. Focussing on areas such as facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and fostering external partnerships, we have been working with university clients to navigate the silos which can impede such objectives while respecting the grain of academic environments. It's more of a conversational approach than a managerial one. Talking to prospective new clients, a question we're often asked is, “What is it like to work with you?” So we've written a short series of blog posts to provide some answers. This newsletter provides some highlights – hopefully of interest to readers other than those in academia.

Away from higher education, we're constantly exploring new influences on our coaching practice. One such topic is trauma, a much misconstrued subject. We include here a piece exploring its relevance to leadership. 
 

From the Vogel Wakefield blog

Universities still have some distance to travel to adapt to the 21st Century. Universally challenged.
Complex university cultures could do more to mobilise distributed leadership. We use conversation and reflection to access it.
Trauma is more prevalent than we imagine. How does it show up at work and how can we deal with it?
 
Read more at the Vogel Wakefield blog.

What we're reading


Martin's reading

  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante. This is the third in Elena Ferrante's four-part Neapolitan series of novels. The series as a whole is a breathtaking portrayal of friendship from childhood to old age. Part 3 is set against the social upheavals of the 1960s, as the two lead characters encounter adulthood and their awakening to social and gender politics. 
  • In Praise of Blasphemy by Caroline Fourest. A passionate and topical defence of free speech by a colleague of those who were murdered in the attack on Charlie Hebdo last year.


Mark's reading

  • Emma by Jane Austen. I first read this decades ago and found re-reading it extraordinarily rewarding. Austen creates wonderful comedy out of her characters' often painful lack of self-awareness. A truly great book, made possible only by the author's acute powers of observation and willingness to listen. She'd have made a great coach..
  • Augustine by Robin Lane Fox. A fascinating biography of one of the great intellectuals of the last two millennia. It’s not just the depth of his self-absorption but his ability to critically reflect upon it and write about it in compelling terms that make Augustine such a modern figure.
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