A. Leading for the future
When asked to define leadership at the beginning of the year, I proposed we do away with the idea altogether, encouraging networks of interdependent and supportive collaborators instead.
Now that the year has come to a close, I’m not sure if I stand by my definition. On the one hand, I think that’s still my goal – to encourage those I work with to each take the lead in their areas. On the other hand, I have come to accept that this kind of encouragement is itself a form of leadership. It doesn’t happen automatically; it requires intent and skill.
I’m more prepared now to wholeheartedly accept the definition by Stephen Covey that I posted at the beginning of the year: to communicate to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
Based on what I’ve learned this year about listening to myself and my body, I would go a little further. Continue reading
Part 1: Life Audit
I chose to do the Life Audit, which got a little challenging around the 50-goal mark, but then I got a burst of inspiration towards the end. The things about having 100 goals, I’ve noticed, is that you can be a bit “wasteful”, which is a great way for figuring out what you want more of in life. In my case, it was art – opportunities to create and engage in a bit of pottering around. 27 of my post-its had a wish that was art-related, whether it was learning to knit or taking an improv class. I don’t think I can realistically take up all 27, but it’s an indicator that I need at least one. Continue reading
Prompt: If you have a website, blog or online document – create an “About Me” page or introduction. It should start off by telling people why you’re doing what you’re doing. It should then explain clearly what it is you are doing, and how you will do it.
Response: See this page. I’ve broken it down into my why (my backstory), my how (the creative arts), and my what (my academic and artistic ventures). I’m finding it hard to keep it short, though, so suggestions for edits are much appreciated!
Prompt: Identify key figures in your community and create “pen portraits” of them. This is different from interviews because it is telling their story in your words, rather than theirs.
Response: The people who stand out for me have always been great teachers: they have generously shared their expertise, patiently helped me work through my fears, challenged me to revisit my assumptions, and never told me what to think. Learning was an adventure, a journey of self-discovery. I aspire to embody these characteristics in my own work. Here are some of the stand-outs, in no particular order. Continue reading
Prompt: Create a Draft Mission Statement. Take some time to consider the following questions. Write your answers in your learning space. Explain your idea in terms of “why”. Why is it important? Write it down and spend some time trying to simplify the message as much as possible. Then add the how, and the what.
Response: It’s always a challenge to put the why before the what! I think it still needs some work, and feedback would be much appreciated.
Update 25 March 2016: I’m leaving my long ramble in, because it was crucial to getting me to my shorter mission statement, which you can find right at the end of the post. Writing my ‘About’ page was also really clarifying for getting to the shorter statement.
1. What does the Commonwealth mean to you?
2. Do you think being part of the Commonwealth is a good thing for your country – have you experienced the benefits of being on #teamcommonwealth?
3. How does the history of your country’s connection to the Commonwealth affect your feelings towards The Commonwealth now?
4. Make a list of positive and negative things you feel about the Commonwealth and make suggestions for how those that are negative could be improved.
5. The Commonwealth Charter includes 16 core values and principles of the Commonwealth. Which of the Commonwealth values and principles do you hold as most important to you as a leader and why?
6. Is there anything you would add to the Commonwealth Charter?
Prompt: Imagine a newspaper or website from the future – five or ten years from now. They are writing a story about you. What does the headline say? What is the story about? Add it to your future timeline.
Response: I absolutely hate assignments like this, because they require you to be fairly transparent about the extent of your ambitions. I’m an extremely private person, and I also hate being wrong. What if my super ambitious dream never comes to pass? How utterly embarrassing. Ugh. So this assignment is a bit of a challenge, and I’m cringing inside as I write this. FYI, I used NewsJack to create my remixed newspaper headline. H/T MIT Codesign Studio, 2014.
The headline discusses teaching arts-based strategies I use in Building Bridges, and announces that these will be used in general teaching practice for secondary school education, to replace current methods that depend heavily on outdated textbooks and rote learning. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Prompt: Try to plot the key moments in the development of your idea starting with the thing that began it all. That’s what we might call the “trigger”, so put that down as the first event on your timeline. Add in other key events, and try to remember important conversations or meetings.
Response: I used Timeline JS for this exercise, even though I’m usually very much a hands-on, coloured pens-and-post-its kind of girl. I like its ease of use, its media-rich format, the ability to keep adding events as I progress through QYL this year, and the fact that it is so darn pretty. I don’t do my best “thinking” work on a computer, though, so I’m using notes I started scribbling over a year ago when I was (entirely independently!) trying to figure out my trajectory. Continue reading
Prompt: List three definitions of leadership, and then describe your personal definition of the term.
Response: It was difficult not to turn to the usual suspects, but I tried to choose quotes or definitions that resonated particularly well. Continue reading