How has your team evolved? Introducing the Evolve Team Series

26/10/2020

For all the negatives of the coronavirus pandemic, it has also been a time of heroic sacrifices and tremendous learning. It is this – the commitment of our staff and the innovation, growth and development within our University – that we wish to capture in a new internal staff series.

As part of a team, within the bigger University team, you are invited to pause, reflect and record these changes for the new Evolve Team series.

Evolve Team Series
We are encouraging you, as a member or leader of a team, to take stock of how your team – be it a smaller division within a larger team or the larger team itself – has evolved from where it was in March to where it is today, and what you are likely to embrace going forward, post COVID-19.

This invitation is to all teams – Academic and Professional, Administrative and Support Services (PASS) -across the entire institution.  It is also inclusive of the frontline staff, whose stories have been shared as individuals.

This is a team exercise since it has taken a massive, integrated team effort to enable us to successfully reach this point to date. 

Capture our Learnings
We would like to capture this feedback for broader internal sharing so that each of us can learn from one another.  In addition, it will provide a big picture of all the learning, improvement and exceptional commitment of teams in our “new normal”.

We will, in effect, be capturing a slice of Nelson Mandela University history in our shared journey towards completing the 2020 academic year while staying safe, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrate Successes
We want to celebrate these successes and the role of staff in exceptionally difficult circumstances, without negating the realities of the challenges each of us may have faced and endured.  This should be recorded too.

Story Format
To support you with this, reflect-and-record process, we’re providing a Q&A (questions and answer) format to both enable the systematic gathering of information and to allow for easier reading.

Q&A
Please use the following guiding questions:

  • What is the role and responsibility of your team? How big is your team, and are you part of something bigger? (This is the contextual question, as the reader needs to know how the team fits into the Nelson Mandela University picture).
  • What were the biggest hurdles that you had to overcome during lockdown? (This could be anything from managing fear and anxiety, depleted staff numbers, lack of connectivity, juggling work with home life, poor digital skills, managing teams remotely etc.)
  • What new skills has your team learnt – as individuals and as a whole? (New online skills like Zoom, MS Team, WhatsApp lecturing, empathy, setting boundaries, who is creative, who is a team player, integrated working, multi-tasking etc.)
  • With a concerted shift to digital operations, please describe your new way of working? (Are you a well-oiled integrated unit having regular meetings, do you use new technologies, are you more efficient, more skilled, more engaged, distanced, lonely etc)
  • Name the general advantages and improvements of your ‘new norm’ and identify some of those things you would like to retain going forward? Cheaper, easier for meetings, more efficient, ability to turn things around; and what will you like to keep – new hours, flexi-hours, new online systems etc.)
  • What are your team’s COVID-19 three to five catch words?  These are those words that best describe how you have evolved.

Photographs
We would like to know and see who you are? If you are on campus, we can arrange for a photograph to be taken or you could share your selfies so that a collage of your team can be created; or you can select an item or place that epitomises your evolution and includes the names of all team members. Be creative. It is something you have been practicing since Lockdown. 

Inquiries
The Evolve Team series is new for us – a concept to both celebrate and capture our successes at this unprecedented time in world history. We welcome all questions and ideas to improve upon the idea because we do not have all the answers.

Together, however, we’re confident we can capture and acknowledge the incredible strides made in #savinglives and #savingtheacademic year.

Communication and Marketing