Disenchanted with the world? Try RM for that warm and glowing feeling

Daisy with multi-coloured petals and dewdropsBar a few loose ends, the JISC funded RM (Relationship Management) Programme has now come to an end for the all the project teams involved. We’re just in the process of pulling all the project case studies together and will be producing a Compendium of Best Practice in RM over the next few months, which will showcase some of the key successes of the Programme.

I’ve been supporting the RM Programme since 2009 and feel privileged to be allowed to follow the ups and downs of all the projects involved. Although I’ve been acting as a neutral interface between JISC and the funded projects, to some extent I have been wearing a semi-JISC hat, yet all the project teams have been willing to share their “warts and all” experiences, sometimes privately, sometimes publicly. It’s not always easy to build up a relationship where project teams feel comfortable doing that. Projects have told me things that they wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable telling their funders (although Myles Danson and Simon Whittemore, the JISC RM Programme Managers are lovely to work with) and this has allowed me to build up a good mental picture of RM across the whole Programme.

I have to say that I have great admiration for all the project teams involved. They’ve worked extremely hard to really try and make a difference to the students and customers in their institutions, and that hard work has paid off. I wish them all success as they continue to improve all aspects of relationship management in their institutions.

Team of people sitting together Aside from improving the customer experience (student or business), for me one of the key successes across the whole of the RM Programme has been that people are now talking to each other: staff talking to students about what they need, staff talking to staff in other departments, and people sharing their experiences with people in other institutions. Relationships have been built. Communication channels have been opened. This is really what relationship management is all about. It’s about breaking down barriers, understanding another person’s point of view, sharing experiences (good and bad) and coming together to try and make things work a bit better for everyone.

Now that the Programme has ended, I will miss following the project work as many of the teams continue their efforts beyond the funding period, as well as missing contact with the individuals involved. From a personal point of view, it’s been a joy and pleasure working with the RM projects, getting to know the people in the project teams, following project successes and failures and seeing everyone safely through to the end. It’s this warm and fuzzy feeling that makes it all worth it. It’s what building relationships (and relationship management) is all about.

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