University of Calgary

iS2 Project

February 11, 2011

U and iS²

By Vanessa White

A team’s success is largely dependent on its leader and the confidence, expertise and organizational influence he or she exemplifies. Our leader, Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, president, University of Calgary, evidenced those attributes at the second change leaders network meeting on the morning of Jan. 10.

Dr. Cannon shared with the change leaders the importance of familiarizing the greater U of C community with the change network, in particular, its platform to model and represent the “one university” concept.

In November 2010, the project’s change management team created the change leaders network as a forum for helping to facilitate the roll-out of the iS² Project. The change leaders represent the 27 faculties and units across the university. These 27 individuals were rigorously selected by the deans of those faculties or units.

Identifying change leaders was based on some of the following criteria:

  • they must be willing to support the project throughout its duration (November 2010 to July 2011); and
  • they share influence and are recognized and respected within their faculties/units.

Who’s a Change Leader?

A change leader is essentially an ambassador for the iS² Project—a knowledgeable and communicative representative who will continually share and reinforce among the faculties and units iS²’s core vision for change.

“The change leaders’ role is to promote the iS² initiative among their faculties and units and to provide leadership in demonstrating iS²s values,” says Jody Fraser, change management lead, iS² Project.

How does a change leader see herself in her new role? For Mary McConnell, director of Administration, Libraries and Cultural Resources, being a change leader is “having the opportunity to communicate a campus-wide initiative that is wholly devoted to the process of implementing the iS² changes in the most effective and innovative way possible. More importantly, she adds, “it’s having the flexibility to customize the change approach I communicate to my particular unit, based on my intrinsic understanding of the unit and punctuated by the feedback of my colleagues.”

Fraser notes the changes from the iS² Project will affect each faculty and unit in different ways and it’s the change leader’s responsibility to help communicate changes in a timely, clear and informative manner to capture the forthcoming changes within their faculties/units.

Teaming Up

Each month, the change leaders network hosts a meeting for the iS² change management team. Designed to keep change leaders in the iS² Project loop, the meeting allows leaders to join forces and strategize over change initiatives.

During January’s meeting, the change management team shared the results of December’s Change Readiness Survey that was disseminated to staff across campus. The results of the survey serve as a benchmark for the university’s iS² Project knowledge and to help the change management team and change leaders develop relevant communication strategies for their faculties or units.

Next Up

At the upcoming Change Leaders Network scheduled for Feb. 15, the change management team will drill down through the project’s change impacts—the emanating messages which will eventually be communicated throughout each faculty and unit by the appointed change leader.

Look out for further communication regarding the iS² Project changes on the iS² website, in the monthly iS² insights and UToday—as well as from your new change leader. First, find out who he or she is.

The iS² Project will impact every employee on campus, to some extent, so stay in the know.

One university. One community. One vision.

The iS² Project is a multi-year strategic initiative designed to improve financial controls and administrative services and create opportunities for cost-savings and greater efficiencies across campus. The project’s vision is to build a customer-oriented organization that delivers high quality, efficient and effective administrative services that enable the U of C to be a recognized leader among academic institutions.

To learn more about the iS² Project, visit

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