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The home of experts in higher education and beyond

Our consultants have senior-level expertise in sectors that operate for the public good.

We work with non-profits and for-profits including universities, schools, charities, the NHS and arts/cultural organisations.

These institutions are educating our future leaders, providing a platform for talented artists and transforming lives.

But transformation has its challenges.

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Latest news

How to rescue 'marketisation' from the sin bin

Jan 20, 2020

Marketisation has become a dirty word in higher education. Here's how it can be rescued from the sin bin.

Three news items caught my eye over Christmas and New Year. First was the news that the OfS is planning to come down hard on universities that offer financial incentives to students in Clearing. Second, was the prediction in The Times that all students at some universities will receive first class degrees by 2030. Third was the report this week that drop-out rates among students who had accepted unconditional offers were nearing 20% in some institutions.

Last year’s unlamented Augar report argued that “since the opening up of the sector, universities have increased and professionalised their marketing” and as evidence, cited universities spending millions on advertising, offering cash in hand inducements, inflating grades, lowering entry requirements and proliferating unconditional offers.

For me, all this is clear evidence of marketing failure. Anyone can put more bums on lecture theatre seats by lowering the bar, offering bribes and promising the illusion of a high-quality degree. This is not marketing. It’s nothing more than cheap and shoddy sales promotion that belong to the bazaar, not British higher education.

Professional marketing is about understanding your target market and delivering a product or service that fulfils their needs and wants better than competition. In most universities, this means recognising that you will live or die by your ability to attract tuition fee income. And if what you offer students is perfectly suited to what they need and want, you will not only survive but prosper.

Just as universities need to learn about the importance of being different and distinctive, so they also need to professionalise their marketing by offering degree programmes that are distinctive and competitive within their comparator groups. Check out a dozen university websites and you’ll come across generic claims, generic language, generic strategies and generic mission statements.

The same is very largely true for degree programmes. Very few make the effort to be distinctively relevant to the student audience they’re supposed to be appealing to. Why? Because they are developed by academics who on their own have neither the competitive skillset nor the customer understanding that a professional marketer brings to the table.

Which is why I argue that it is time for academia and marketing to start working hand in glove. Working together to answer questions as fundamental as why should a student choose this programme over a competitor? What is the programme’s USP? Does it understand what students are looking for? Is the programme name distinctive? Is its proposition strong enough to attract students away from a competitor?

It’s tough enough to get on a student’s UCAS short-list, which is why distinctiveness in university positioning is critical. But once you’re on that list, the programme itself is the single biggest determinant of choice. Maximising conversion from a shortlist of five is programme-driven. CRM is fine at brand level but doesn’t work at programme level. Here we’re talking about real differences, not perceptual nuances.

Making programmes distinctive, relevant and more attractive to students nourishes the university’s overall reputation. By demonstrating that your institution understands what students value and goes out of its way to deliver at programme level.

Unconditional offers, clearing ‘bursaries’ and rampant degree inflation demean not only the universities involved but the sector as a whole in the eyes of the public. Like it or not, universities are now operating in competition with each other.

To succeed in a competitive world, you need to have a product which meets customer needs better than competition. In higher education, this means academia and marketing working together to achieve a common goal.

Only then might the word ‘marketisation’ be rescued from the sin bin.

David Miller is a Consulting Fellow for Halpin - the home of expert consultants in higher education marketing, fundraising, governance and strategy.

Recruitment opportunity - University of Sheffield

Jan 20, 2020

Our client University of Sheffield is recruiting two senior positions within the newly created Department of Campaigns and Alumni Relations.

For more information we've provided the links below:

Director of Campaigns The University of Sheffield is seeking to recruit a Director of Campaigns (permanent or interim) to work in partnership with the Vice Chancellor and senior leadership to develop and deliver the university’s first major campaign.

Deputy Director of Campaigns The University of Sheffield is seeking to recruit a Deputy Director of Campaigns to support and shape the University’s fundraising strategy and major gift fundraising to help deliver the University’s first major campaign.

Closing date for applications is 20 February 2020.

3 questions governors should ask of their executive/marketing team

Jan 13, 2020

As a governor, you want to feel confident in the decisions you make. Many of your board decisions will be informed by student recruitment trends and predictions; after all, there's a good chance your institution's financial health is heavily dependent on student fee income.

Given this, as the UCAS deadline of January 15th passes, it’s likely that you’ll be taking some time to assess the current recruitment position.

Your starting point is the internal application data of course; for example, 2020 cycle trends vs previous years, actual applications vs planned by subject, the team’s predictions and projections. You’ll probably also be interested to view the data published by UCAS on the 6th February which will give a sector-wide view of application trends by age, country and subject.

So, you’ll have the data. But is this enough? Are you confident that you have the full picture? Do you have the assurance you need in order to confidently make your decisions? If not, then try asking these three questions to give you further insight and understanding:

  1. What makes us so special? It might not be possible to be completely different to our competition, but how are we distinctive? And where's the evidence that our audiences believe - and value - this distinctiveness? There should be clear metrics in place to measure performance; after all, it’s critical to know what success looks like.

  2. Where are we most vulnerable? Even if the data looks great, what’s going to limit our success next year – and the 5 years after that? Which of the three key phases of the applicant funnel – awareness, interest or conversion – is the biggest challenge, and why? What do we need to do about it? After all, to succeed in a competitive market, you need to be winning at every stage.

  3. Where should we be doubling our efforts? Any successful marketing plan will have a range of different tools available to the team; the art of marketing is often in mixing those tools together at the right time in the right way. However, this question identifies the one activity that is currently delivering the best results and allows clarity on where resource should be focused. This is especially useful if resource is limited, or if urgent adjustments are needed; it signals what is really working.

If you’d some support in digging deeper into your marketing and recruitment data or insights, we’d be happy to arrange a call to discuss. Get in touch here.

Rachel Killian is a Senior Consultant for Halpin, the home of experts in higher education governance, marketing, fundraising and strategy.

The 4 biggest risks to campaign success

Jan 06, 2020

Fundraising campaigns rely on many factors to achieve success. But high-impact campaigns all have one thing in common – the institution has given time and consideration to a thorough campaign risk assessment, identifying and mitigating areas of weakness. Here are the four biggest risks to the success of your campaign:

1. Lack of leadership

Successful fundraising campaigns are led from the top and have broad buy-in across the institution. Senior leaders are prepared to give time and get actively involved. They are willing to help build relationships with prospects and ask. A highly experienced fundraiser-in-chief is vital, but they cannot do it alone. One of the biggest risks to a campaign is the change of senior leadership within the campaign period – the loss of a VC or Development Director during the campaign. Before you embark on your campaign make sure that the leadership is likely to be in place for the life of the campaign.

2. Launching too soon

Campaigns have three phases (planning, private and public) for good reasons – the different phases help you achieve momentum and test and set your target. One of the most common risks to campaign success is to launch too soon. A campaign feasibility study can help you identify the best point at which to launch.

Campaigns typically launch at 40-60% raised. If it’s a first campaign, it’s prudent to go for a higher % as your knowledge of your pipeline is less robust and the confidence of your institution will be lower. It’s better to launch when 60% is raised, and finish above target or ahead of time to generate confidence and momentum for your next campaign.

Targets can be tested and scaled up or down throughout the planning and private phases. There are no ‘rules’ around this. You only need to fix and declare your target when you go public. And indeed, some campaigns launch without a fixed target or timeframe at all.

It is important to set an ambitious but well-informed target - better to overshoot and have second campaign/phase than undershoot and extend time. You can choose to announce your target but be less committal on your timeline.

3. Setting an unrealistic target

You need to be clear about how much you are planning to raise, from what sources it will come from and over what period of time. Setting an ambitious but realistic target is vital to success. Choosing an arbitrary number because it is the same as an institutional anniversary or bigger than a competitor institution is a big risk.

The scale of your target will be determined by what you decide to count – philanthropy, philanthropy + research, + government… its up to you. There are no hard and fast rules about what you can include. The key is to choose what is right for you to signal that your campaign is highly strategic and is about additionality not ‘business as usual’. It’s vital that you are transparent as to what you are counting and that this does not change if your campaign struggles. Lack of clarity leads to internal/sector cynicism and risk of the campaign being seen as a failure.

Your target must be informed by a robust analysis of your prospect pipeline. This should be both quantative – an assessment of the warmth and capacity of your prospect database – and qualitive – discussions with your top prospects. Success will lie in a small number of high-level prospects – individuals and trusts (and for some institutions corporates too). The received wisdom in fundraising is that the Pareto principle applies – that 80% of funds will come from 20% of donors. For most campaigns, especially first campaigns, it’s probably 95/5.

Back counting is a given and will enable you to set an appropriate target. Generally, institutions back count for 2-3 years but some go further back. As long as you have clarity and can justify it then there are no ‘rules’.

4. Lack of investment

A car can’t run without gas and a campaign cannot run without a fundraising team. You can’t scrimp and just expect to do more with the current resources or wait to see how the campaign goes before you invest more. Lack of resourcing or delays in resourcing leads to lower amounts raised - simple.

Campaigns are hard work and require great fundraisers to do a lot of asking. You need the right mix of capacity and capability. Given that it can typically be two years from first meeting to major gift, you must invest in capacity early.

It’s hard to get fundraisers and keep them, so you will delay your major gift income if you don’t recruit hard at the start. Not only is it difficult to get people, the ones you recruit don’t always work, so the earlier you find this out the better. Profiling can assist with recruitment.

Additional capacity will be needed to support communications (internal and external), events, data and research and engagement opportunities and stewardship. You can’t step-change philanthropy through a campaign without appropriate investment and it must be made at the outset.

Halpin is the home of experts in higher education fundraising and beyond – offering consultants with ‘boots on the ground’ experience at the most senior levels of fundraising. If there’s an area of your fundraising that could benefit from an external perspective, get in touch.

Susie Hills is Joint CEO of Halpin – management consultancy specialising in higher education fundraising, governance, strategy and marketing.

Halpin announces new Consulting Fellow

Jan 03, 2020

Halpin is delighted to announce that Ewart Wooldridge CBE joins the team as a Consulting Fellow.

Ewart Wooldridge CBE 2 3x4 for website.jpg

Ewart Wooldridge was the founding Chief Executive from 2003 to 2013 of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, set up to play a key role in developing UK and international HE leaders and their institutions. He has a well-established portfolio of consultancy, advisory and governance roles in the HE sector.

He was previously Chief Executive of the Civil Service College, and a Chief Officer in Local Government. Before that he worked in HR and general management roles in the media, television, and the arts. He was Director of Operations at London’s South Bank Arts Centre in the mid-1990s.

His project and consultancy assignments in HE include facilitating senior teams, coaching, and working with university leadership teams on strategy development and the management of change. He is licensed to administer a variety of leadership behaviour tools, including delivering 360-degree feedback. He is a consultant to the National Union of Students offering coaching to Chief Executives of Students’ Unions.

He has strong experience in governance development, having devised the Leadership Foundation Governor Development Programme jointly with the CUC, and designed and run the highly successful VC/Chair retreats for the LF. He has been Deputy Chair of Council at the Institute of Education, London, a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and is now on the Council of St Georges University of London and Chair of their Remuneration Committee.

Ewart was awarded the CBE for services to leadership in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2004. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Cardiff University in 2012 and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University in 2014.

He is a major contributor to a book published in 2019 on ‘Strategic Leadership of Change in Higher Education’. He is joint author (with Dame Madeleine Atkins) of an Advance HE Report also published in 2019 entitled “Agility & Resilience: Meeting the Strategic Leadership Challenges in HE”.

Joint CEO Susie Hills says, “We are very pleased to welcome Ewart to the team. He brings with him unrivalled experience from the HE sector at the most senior levels. He will be a valuable asset to our firm and to our clients.”

Ewart comments, “I am delighted to offer my experience and expertise to Halpin who are making a growing impact on governance and leadership in higher education”.

Halpin is the home of experts in higher education governance, strategy, fundraising and marketing. If you'd like to discuss your institution's specific challenges, book a call.

Risk + impact = smarter cost savings

Jan 03, 2020

Across the sector, budgets are under significant strain and some institutions are facing very significant financial challenges. Most are looking to make painful savings often badged as ‘efficiency savings’. Typically, a target % saving is set, often across the board with individual services expected to set out their plans for savings and to fight hard to make a case if they feel that those savings will be damaging.

Logic may tell us that a ‘one-size fits all’ cut is unlikely to be the best approach and yet that is often the approach that ends up being taken – ‘everyone is sharing the pain equally’. This is the blitz-spirit approach to saving money; it might feel ‘fair’ and it might feel like the easiest approach but it’s the least strategic approach.

Sometimes benchmarking data is added into the mix – sometimes drawn from commercially provided sector datasets. “Your team is x% more expensive than the average amongst our competitors so your budget will be cut by £y”. Of course, we all know that we often end up comparing apples to pears because every institution is different – often more than they may first appear. You are anchoring your savings strategy to the mass of strategic decisions of others in the sector, not your own. How many of them are getting it right in this complex and changing sector?

So how do we undertake really smart cost savings programmes? The answer must lie in some form of impact and risk-based review of expenditure. Each professional service should be asked to explore how their work is impacting on the university’s priorities and risks, to answer fundamental questions such as:

  • What strategic plans and KPIs are they contributing to? How?

  • What risks are they mitigating against? How?

  • What activities are of the highest strategic importance? And the lowest?

Their plan and budgets should set out:

  1. The strategic priorities and subsequent KPIs they contribute to,
  2. What risks they are assisting in mitigating,
  3. How these link to the activities and deliverables of the team,
  4. How the team spends time against these deliverables,
  5. A breakdown of budget against deliverables and strategic priorities,
  6. How this links to the services risk register,
  7. Activities ranked by the impact they have on the strategic priorities and risks,
  8. Savings targets set against lowest impact activities,
  9. How to drive investment (where possible) towards the highest impact activities.

Professional services heads will need peer support and scrutiny (possibly externally provided) to enable them to undertake this objectively. This peer scrutiny can help each head to appreciate the cases of others and offer insights for the final decision-maker(s). It can help build cross-service consensus on key priorities. Indeed, a smarter form of “blitz spirit” can emerge from this process if it is completed within a team rather than in service silos.

Setting a cross service fixed saving might be quick and ‘easy’, but it’s not smart or strategic. Taking a strategic, impact-focused approach across professional service teams is the right the way forward in these challenging times. It’s not the easy path but it can bring professional service leaders together, lead to a greater shared understanding of strategic priorities, identify new opportunities to break down silos and find smarter ways to spend smaller budgets.

If you need support with your planning and budgetary process, the Halpin team can help advise, guide, support and challenge.

Susie Hills is Joint CEO of Halpin, the home of experts in higher education strategy, governance, fundraising and marketing.

Collaborating with your competitors

Nov 29, 2019

We all know there is an increased level of competition between universities. There’s no doubt that this is real; in student and staff recruitment as well as reputation and league tables. Clients tell us that there is a higher degree of caution when sharing their successes, for fear of revealing commercially sensitive information. Equally, projects which may have failed are hidden away with shame, rather than used as learning tools to inform the next curriculum or marketing innovation.

So I was intrigued by the possibility for collaboration at the UUK’s Marketing & Communications conference this week. A number of the sessions showed that the success of one university does not diminish the achievements of another; rather, collaboration and sharing of skills and resources can benefit both the individual institution and the sector more widely.

The most obvious example was from the British Council, who were showcasing their ‘Study UK’ campaign. It’s a £6m project that promotes the UK as the first-choice study destination to international students and their influencers. International recruitment is critical to the financial health of many universities, but it is challenging and resource-intensive to effectively reach and engage with target audiences from all over the world. However, by aligning institution campaigns with the Study UK campaign – for example by echoing the same key messages about employability, quality of teaching and student experience - then this can create greater impact as a whole, rather than the two running parallel to each other.

Even better is that the British Council is keen for institutions to play an active part in the Study UK campaign; your university could take over their Instagram for a day, lead on a Facebook Live event or contribute to their blog. In most cases, their reach is going to be larger than any one institution, and there’s no cost.

The second opportunity was inspired by the value of university research that was completed with students earlier this year by Savanta ComRes. They were able to identify 5 key benefits of higher education:

  1. Enjoyment of learning
  2. Developing skills and opportunities
  3. Gaining vital life skills
  4. Building diverse networks
  5. Contributing to society

It’s obvious that many of these are related to employability; but the emphasis is much more on preparing for a fulfilling life and career, rather than any single metric. It seems to me that this is a message that is universal to the sector and not specific to one institution. As a group, we are missing an opportunity to be explicit about the broader benefits of degree-level study; instead we see a plethora of institution-specific messages that are reduced down to graduate employment rates after 6 months, or average graduate starting salaries. Applicants deserve much more insight into what it really means to study at university beyond these statistics and a collaborative approach to sharing this message would have much greater reach.

The final point is about working with our close neighbours. Whilst the importance of having a civic role is high on strategic agendas, the practicalities of ‘town vs gown’ can bring specific local challenges. Claire Whitelaw, Head of Communications and Engagement at Durham University, shared their approach to improving community relations after a significant increase in their student population was having a negative impact on the city and its permanent residents.

It was great to hear about some of the initiatives that are being taken to proactively manage relationships with their local communities and it is clear that this is another area where working in partnership can bring benefits. Where a city has two or more universities, local residents don’t differentiate between them – students are students, who cares where they are studying? - so it makes sense that the response from those institutions should also be a collective one. It’s another case where collaboration is potentially both more efficient and effective.

The Universities UK Marketing & Communications event was held on 27th November 2019.

The power of a review - a digest

Nov 26, 2019

Throughout November on our social media channels, we've been shining a light on the power of a review. We've shared content from Halpin staff and fellows, and we've also shared articles and resources that we've found online.

We all find it easier to plan and put new things in place than we do to review how our plans have turned out and, if required, consider how we can dismantle and rebuild things.

But if an institution wants to futureproof itself against inevitable turbulence, then regular and intelligent review across all areas of its structure is crucial. Reviewing a particular service area allows senior leaders to take and step back and appraise the results of their efforts. Sometimes all it takes is a small tweak in your approach here and there to make big differences.

Halpin Joint CEO Susie Hills suggests that seeking an external review should not come from a fear of failure and noncompliance (most institutions will be compliant); it should be about aiming for best practice and governance that supports your institution to thrive in uncertain times.

It all starts with a review. Whether it’s your governance, your fundraising, your marketing or your strategic direction, we have put together this digest of useful links from both Halpin experts and other sector experts - we hope it's helpful.

Planning vs Strategy…

Strategy is not planning, and it’s said that a strategy without a plan underpinning it may simply be a wish. Read more on separating out the two in your mind at Inside Higher Ed.

Are you in a ‘comfort trap’ when it comes to strategic planning? Avoiding making difficult decisions through habit? Harvard Business Review presents the case for breaking out of your strategic planning habits.

Building institutional resilience

A mid-year strategic review can easily turn into a paper exercise, just to tick the box. Here are some simple tips for optimising the results of your review.

The old adage ‘work smarter, not harder’ has never been truer. Here are some tips from Harvard Business Review on how to sharpen up the processes behind your operations.

When things go wrong…

Are you thinking about failure in the wrong way? Harvard Business Review offers a different perspective in their article ‘Strategies for Learning from Failure’.

This article from Forbes sets out a clear strategy for turning a business around without any knee-jerk reactions. It focuses on a simple three-step process: 1. Frame the problem, 2. Create a clear vision, and 3. Empower the team you have.

Problems crop up all the time. Effective problem-solving is a rare and beautiful skill. Rather than jump straight in with the ‘fix’, step back and let your team help. This blog on problem-solving was first published over two years ago and remains one of Halpin’s most visited pages to date.

A spotlight on service reviews

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Reviews: Halpin worked with Central School of Speech, Music and Drama to look at race equality on campus. Read more about the project here.

Governance Reviews: Halpin’s team of governance experts worked with University of Bath at a time when their governance came under public scrutiny. More info, and a link to the final report can be found here.

Is it the right time to review an area of your institution? Here’s a digest with plenty of further reading on governance that may help.

Portfolio reviews: The size, shape and substance of the courses on offer is at the heart of a university’s purpose, and it is neglected at your peril. Here’s a blog on portfolio reviews from Marketing specialist Rachel Killian.

Family policies: Do your institution’s family policies offer the right sort of support for your staff? Or are they reinforcing tired stereotypes? Could it be time for a refresh? Here’s Halpin Consulting Fellow Ailsa McGregor with more.

Performance Reviews: Universities are being managed as though they are businesses. This article from Times Higher Education suggests that the misapplication of private sector HR techniques harms individuals without raising performance.

Inc. makes the case that ‘the dreaded annual performance review is a relic of the industrial age’. Here’s their take on a new approach to performance review.

Could it be time to conduct your own performance review? Avoid getting stuck in a rut by taking an objective look at your career. Rachel Killian makes the case for a regular personal/career review, allowing you to reassess where you are and whether it’s still right for you or not.

The difference a review makes:

Here’s how London Met University was turned around by ‘getting a grip’; taking both ownership of its past and responsibility for its future.’, transforming the University from a struggling institution to one with improving scores in all key performance areas.

And finally, here’s Joint CEO Susie Hills on how bringing in an external review team can help you to bring about a culture of regular review by modelling how it can be done in any part of your institution.

In the face of unprecedented change and uncertainty, there is a clear need for universities to undertake reviews to ensure their operations are efficient, effective and resilient. Over the past two years Halpin has undertaken more than fifty reviews assessing areas including governance, health and safety provision, the student experience, facilities, and equality on campus.

If there is an area of your institution that is ripe for a review, get in touch for a conversation.

#WorldKindnessDay2019 - higher education leading the way

Nov 13, 2019

On #WorldKindnessDay2019 Halpin is delighted to share the news that Joint CEO and Co-founder Susie Hills has been chosen as one of 2019’s 50 Leading Lights by Women of the Future, sponsored by Unilever.

These awards recognise the contribution of kind leaders to business, the economy and society.

Susie is listed alongside fellow higher education professionals Cathy Brown - Director of Strategy and Operations, Advancement at University College London, Anne-Wil Harzing - Professor in International Management, Middlesex University Business School, and Vivek Nama - Clinical Gynaecologist at Croydon University Hospital NHS Trust.

She says, “I’m really pleased to see fellow higher education professionals included in the list. This is great news for the sector and shows that HE is leading the way in kindness. I’d also highlight the work that University of Sussex is doing with their Kindness Research.”

She is featured in today’s Financial Times, along with the 49 other professionals who have been recognised as beacons of kindness. They will all gather next week at a reception at St James’s Palace, London with special guest HRH The Countess of Wessex.

Congratulations to Susie, and to all the other people on the list.

If you are interested in Susie speaking on Kindness in Leadership at your conference contact us via our website, and check out our blog for articles by Susie and other Halpin colleagues who are inspired by kindness.

Halpin is the home of experts in higher education fundraising, strategy, governance and marketing.

The case for a personal review

Nov 06, 2019

The case for reviewing strategy, performance and structure is a strong one but in this month where Halpin reflects on the power of reviews, I’m keen to reflect on a different type of analysis; a more personal one. I’m going to make the case that as professionals working in higher education, just as we should review organisational performance on a regular basis, we have a similar responsibility to stop and consider our own impact, performance, career journey and needs.

In the same way that our university’s external environment might change due to policy or regulation, market trends or economic factors, so too does the context in which we operate as individuals. Our family shape and size might grow, shrink or mutate into something different. Our financial situation might dramatically improve - or drastically decrease.

Our ‘internal’ environment is continually changing too. As we gather more experience, we learn more about who we are, what motivates us, how we respond to different scenarios and colleagues. Our priorities change; we might be hungry for a new challenge, or we might have a need to slow down and focus on family instead. At a different stage in our career, we might feel that our current role isn’t making the positive impact that we were looking for and seek out something that we feel is more worthwhile our time.

However, despite all of this movement through different stages, it’s very easy to stay within the same role, in the same department and institution, often for many years. This does seem to be particularly common in higher education, where the annual long-service ceremonies are typically full of colleagues who have worked for the university for 25 years or more. It’s not surprising; a university can be a ‘nice’ place to work; generous annual leave, reasonably well-paid roles, well-kept campuses with a range of sports facilities and plenty of choice of places to meet for lunch or coffee. Even better, it can feel that you are ‘making a difference’ to other people’s lives; you are playing your part in educating the talent of the future.

I was one of those people. I was very comfortable in a higher education role. My colleagues were my friends, the workload was manageable, there was rarely any tension or significant pressure and the best time of the year was graduation. I spent most of my days in meetings, with time to catch-up on emails in-between. I made the same decisions on operational plans and resource allocation each year. I followed the same cycle of activity and reporting, research projects and events. I pretended to myself that I wasn’t bored – every cycle brings something new, right?

It took a decision made by someone else for me to wake up and review what I was doing. My role had suited me perfectly for a few years – my family was young and I needed the regular working pattern and an office close by – but as my external circumstances and internal situation had evolved, I made no attempt to review what I was doing and respond accordingly. As a result, I wasn’t delivering value to my university - or myself.

It is not my intention to knock loyalty to one institution or company. Of course I don’t believe that everyone should change their role for the sake of it, or that there should be a limit on the length of time you should stay in one faculty or department. There’s definitely no space here for uniformity or rigidity.

However, I suspect we have all met people who might benefit from taking some time to review where they are, what they want to be doing and whether the ‘fit’ between themselves and their role is still as good as it once was. At an organisational level, taking the time to review what we do, and making any needed adjustments is fairly normal practice. I think it’s time that we also recognise that this process is necessary for us all as individuals too.

Halpin offers a wide range of coaching and mentoring services from seasoned experts who have been where you are. Get in touch if we can help.

Rachel Killian is a Senior Consultant for Halpin - the home of experts in higher education and beyond.