Dr Dai Llemmer

November 30, 2007

A reader writes : Data protection issues preclude self-nomination at this stage in the process, Dai, but your input would be appreciated regarding a personnel interaction issue.

I am facing a number of key challenges regarding a long-standing, pre- verbalised project to advance an off-timesheet relationship with a second party (again, best practice requires full anonymisation of individuals).

A rigorous SWAT analysis of the situation has identified a possible way forward, but this in turn raises a number of so far unresolved questions on which I would welcome specific external guidance.

A specialist literature survey indicates that an invitation to an off-site social situation would be an effective mechanism for interaction and, thanks to a recent adventitious salary increment capture, I have identified an assured finance stream sufficient for a fully funded tender to entertain; but would this approach be best practice in terms of the equal opportunity agenda?

Moreover, there is insufficient data currently available to assure me that I have a sufficiently robust rejection management process in place in the event of less than 100 per cent take-up. Would it be safer to trial the process, do you think, perhaps through a limited-liability third-party spin-off, before moving to full implementation?

You will appreciate that tasking out self-assessment functionality in this way is a suboptimal strategisation of my esteem modalities, but a frank assessment of the situation in the spirit of a 360 per cent SMART audit is desirable. We need to push the agenda forward on this one, so a response by Friday would be appreciated. (Action: DL)

Dr Dai Llemmer writes :

Dear Colin (you really should delete that "From the Director of Assurance Systems: Enhancing Quality 24/7" signature on your e-mails!). I appreciate your courage in writing to me. This is about Rowena in the Registry, isn't it? Have you still not asked her out? In the interests of full transparency, and minimising your tendency to hang around in the corridor outside her office, I think you should. You might try suggesting an on- site coffee as an opening gambit.

Perhaps, with an eye both to the widening participation agenda and to maximising the opt-in potentialities, you could invite some other colleagues too (a strategy with its own adventitious on-gains for the university's catering income stream)? If that goes well ... sorry, if that produces the desirable outcomes predicted in the project spec (and you will obviously have to put in place some robust formative and summative assessment metrics to provide quantitative feedback on success rates), you might mention lunch in the SCR (see above), with a view to a wider speculative-mode networking meeting on a whole-person to whole-person information exchange basis (you might begin by asking what sort of music she likes, or by showing her a picture of your dog - if Targets is still with us, of course) - and take it from there. But, if I might suggest a final, more general quality-enhancement issue: you really should get out more, Colin.

Dai Llemmer is part-time head of crisis management at a research- indifferent university in the South Yorkshire commute-to-work zone.

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