I feel that now our team looks like that Boy Scout patrol I used to lead during my childhood: we worked hard, we laughed a lot and we would get things done.
I haven’t written in a while because we have been busy putting something together that dazzles me everyday and now when all is starting to make sense, I am writing again. We have such a great group of people that I do not even know who is leading. Everyday I show up to work and there is a continuous 360 degrees feedback session.
When I was a boy, I spent a long-time being part of an organization founded by Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, the Boys Scouts movement. There were some practices that until now just made sense to me like each troop was divided into patrols formed by 8 members. These patrols adopted names from animals that represented the spirit of the team. They participated in all types of competitions, but there were never individual competitions. When one competed, you were always representing your patrol, a group who always walked with the leader up front and the sub leader at the back to ensure that we all moved at the same speed and no one was left behind. I feel that now our team looks like that patrol I used to lead during my childhood: we worked hard, we laughed a lot and we would get things done.
“May you live in interesting times,” states the Chinese curse. Courtesy of a global pandemic that arose in Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei, we certainly are. (Conspiracy theorists may counter that America introduced the virus covertly into China, see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/12/conspiracy-theory-that-coronavirus-originated-in-us-gaining-traction-in-china.) The world is in lockdown. Even President Trump has had to backtrack from saying it was a non-event and all would be sorted by Easter to saying things are going to get far worse. The picture of the huge US navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort, entering New York harbour is deeply dispiriting.
Inspired by teaching his 18-month old granddaughter new words, here is the first half of is David’s leadership alphabet with his thoughts about the real meaning of some of those vital words we all use; more next month!
I am enjoying teaching my 18-month old granddaughter new words using wonderfully colourful Dorling Kindersley books . It’s marvellous as we go for walks around our village and she spots cats, dogs, horses, cows, birds and butterflies (pronounced blies). Using the word “despondent” to describe Eeyore is beyond her pronunciation ability yet, but I succeeded in getting my eldest daughter to describe herself as obstreperous (“optrous”) by the time she was two. We’ll see how my granddaughter’s eloquence progresses over the next six months.
This joyous activity gave cause to this Grandad to consider how some of the keystone words from the lexicon of organisational leadership are used… and abused. Accordingly, here is the first half of the alphabet with my thoughts about the real meaning of some of those vital words; more next month!
So much written about Millennials suggests that they are turned off by the way generations before them have done things. As someone engaged in professional learning this interests me.
Millennials, it would seem, are more civic and community minded than their predecessors. Lacking the financial security from which their parents have benefitted they are not as interested in a career path as generations before them. Instead, meaningful work, creative outlets and immediate, interactive feedback mean a lot. One only needs to look at a random selection of start-ups to see this behaviour in evidence.
What does this mean for those of us now who work in more traditional institutions, based on and run by baby boomers or Gen X-ers? It’s an important question because bigger and slower moving organisations still need to employ, engage and retain millennials.
It’s that time of year when a good proportion of the population works itself into a state of agitation. It’s school and university exam season; time to judge the learning you’ve learned. I guess almost every reader of this blog will have taken an exam at some time and/or shepherded their son(s) or daughter(s) through doing so. They will have a broad array of memories about the experience. Does our collective recollection indicate we were affected by the same degree of anxiety that seems to prevail today? Or, is this one of those situations glimpsed in the rear-view mirror that appears smaller than it really is? Were we scared, short of sleep and forgot the single most important coaching line ever uttered, “Read the [insert appropriate profanity] question”?
However, is there a deeper, more important question to pose at this time? That is, “Is our approach to education fit for purpose?” Have we forgotten what makes sound pedagogy; what represents real learning as opposed to mere information transfer, which like water finds its own course in and immediately out of someone’s head?