[Published by The Canberra Times 4 May 2012]
I experienced two kinds of management in my 27 years at the Australian National University, and I know which one worked better. One looked forward, was ambitious, and supported anyone who had their own ambition. The other worried about constraints and expended a lot of energy trying to identify and eliminate “under-performers”.
Vice Chancellor Ian Young’s recently announced intention to free up resources by cutting ANU’s expenses, through various measures that still include firing some people “as a last resort”, leans toward the negative. It immediately provoked unrest on campus and it will undermine morale for as long as the policy is pursued.
Reading a book by the late Ray C. Anderson, the founder and CEO of billion-dollar US company Interface Carpets Inc., inspires me to point to another course.