Go to the U of M home page ESUP logo - click to go to ESUP website ESUP blog logo - click to go to ESUP blog

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Dynamic Duo

Effective teamwork is foundational to the success of ESUP. Whether it’s the teams formed by the Program’s governance structure like the Project Leadership Team (PLT) or those formed around the University’s business processes in IDPs, strong teamwork is a key factor for the Program to reach its goals.

According to businessdictionary.com, a team is “a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project”. With that definition in mind, Richard Toetschinger and Mary Gilbertson make a great team. Richard is a University employee for the Student work stream and Mary is his counterpart from CedarCrestone Inc (CCI).  Their job is to “plan for the financial aid team and to make sure [they] report [their] progress to project managers and the financial aid steering committee,” says Richard. Mary also stresses the importance of “making sure all of the campuses are heard and that they all have a voice.”

Richard Toetschinger and Mary Gilbertson
This collaboration between CCI and the University is essential. Richard illustrates this when he says that the project would have gone poorly without an expert like Mary on board, “It’s very nice having Mary here because she’s gone through this before at other schools, so she brings that knowledge. There’s a trust that she knows what she’s doing.” It’s this trust that’s the foundation of teamwork and problem solving. For example, when scheduling their IDP sessions, Richard and Mary grouped the financial aid business processes in sets of two or three instead of serially. Richard explains this “helped the functional staff see the bigger picture and make some connections between processes.”

Richard and Mary continue to learn from each other during this process. They both say they’ve learned to hold back and not to take things personally. One thing Mary appreciates about Richard is a sense of calm he brings and his “understanding of how financial aid works. He knows the business analysts who work for him and their strengths.” Richard appreciates Mary’s “expertise, sense of humor and her fine baking skills.” Their humor helps keep things fun while spending nearly 40 hours a week together and their skills keep the team on track.

No comments:

Post a Comment