Say Goodbye to the Heroic Leader
Covid-19 just might be teaching us about a new kind of leadership.
A number of years ago while working at Niagara College and planning a leadership retreat, our organizing committee grappled to define what we meant by leadership. While on the surface it appeared to be a relatively straightforward question, the truth is that we initially struggled.
Ultimately though, we did agree that while management is concerned with issues of control relating to efficiency and effectiveness, leadership is required for everything that can’t be…
Posted on 05-01-20
Responding to the Black Swan
A number of years ago while working for a municipality, I was part of a of a task force responsible for putting emergency measures into place across the city. At the time, planning for potentially catastrophic events felt as if it might be a make-work measure. Knowing what we now know, they may actually have been ahead of the curve. In essence, we were working together to build the community’s capacity for what my futurist colleagues would call, a…
Posted on 04-27-20
There’s Always Chocolate
If I were a child, I would be distracting myself with a shiny object or handing over a bottle and telling myself it was time for a nap and a diaper change.
Recent times have been tough and while I haven’t lost my lost my mojo, I definitely lost, or at least misplaced, my normal, fairly resilient, Pollyanna-ish self. Instead, I’ve done more than my share of whining and venting.
As we got started in one of our Campus community leadership webinars this week, I invited participants to share (1) an example of a silver lining provided by COVID-19 and the resulting physical distancing or (2) what they’re doing to cope with the challenge that is providing a positive impact.
While their sense of humour was clearly intact, some of their comments were also thought-provoking. While the responses were diverse, there were some common…
Posted on 03-29-20
Are You Ready for 2020?
Planning for the future never used to be so complicated.
Whether you were planning to improve your personal life, an organization, business, or even an entire community, it was simply a matter of figuring out where you currently were, where you wanted to go, and then developing action steps to address the gap in between.
Today, we live in far more complex and fast changing times.
Truth be told, there has been some kicking and screaming over the years in getting me to spend as much time as I do these days in thinking and talking to others about outcomes and measurement.
Mostly, it is the result of my fervent belief that we’re not doing enough to measure what matters most in our communities because we’re so singularly fixated on economic growth rather than our quality of life.
I can’t remember how we were first introduced, but I can tell you that when we sat down over coffee, I learned Yvonne is an intelligent, energetic woman who is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs.
At our first meeting she handed me a strangely titled book called Ripples from the Zambezi and suggested I read it if I wanted to know more about the work she was doing with others to support business enterprise.
Alberta’s newly elected provincial government recently tabled its first budget.
It generated an overwhelmingly negative response from the tech sector who viewed it as being short-sighted and reflective of a lack of regard for the importance of creating jobs for the knowledge economy.
The budget reflected significant funding cuts reducing support and incentive for economic diversification, the tech sector, entrepreneurs, artificial intelligence, and innovation in general. This article via @betakit perhaps explains it best.
Monday was somewhat surreal for me.
I’ve been teaching online for over ten years but despite the fact that I was sitting in front of a computer in Ontario, Canada, the audience shifted in a very big way.
This time round, my online community leadership course had participation not only from Canada - including NWT, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan - but also from South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico, England, and the United…
Posted on 10-02-19
I Have a Thing for Quirky People
I have a thing for quirky people.
You know the ones I mean — the artist who is always late, those like magpies who are continually distracted by the next shiny thing, and the ones who are brilliant yet struggle within the confines of traditional education.
In large part I find them to be incredibly interesting people who stretch my thinking and my learning the most.
While I would describe most of my quirky friends and colleagues as creative, interesting, eccentric, and oddly appealing, there are others who may not share my opinion.
There is nothing more rewarding than teaching a group of motivated adult learners.
They are quite different from the students I used to teach in a face-to-face college setting where it was sometimes necessary to channel my inner tap dancer to get and keep their attention. Instead, these adult learners are generally much more motivated and eager to learn.
Perhaps more importantly, they have much to contribute to the classroom in terms of information, knowledge, and wisdom.
As I sat down to write this blog, I didn’t have a starting point. I wasn’t even sure about the topic. But, being good at procrastinating as well as being ready to be distracted, I did a quick scan of some old blogs on the topic that I wanted to address - trust. And, wouldn’t you know, I found a blog I had written some time ago. Although it was 7 years ago, it seemed to hold up and might even more relevant today.
My work as the Founder and Principal Collaborator of Campus for Communities of the Future involves delivering a lot of training sessions focused on the how-to’s of strengthening community building. As a result, I’m gaining traction in terms of becoming more comfortable and confident with both the content and delivery. However, I wobbled a bit recently when I started to prepare for a session for economic developers.
While it really isn’t anything I can explain, every once in a while I stumble across a transformative concept that simply feels right. Sometimes I try to push the concept to the back of my mind because I know implementing that change is going to result in disruption, not to mention a significant amount of work. Ultimately though the concept keeps surfacing and draws me in like a moth to a flame.
I am blessed to have maintained a precious relationship with three colleagues with whom I worked over a number of years as part of an exciting community development initiative called ACE Communities. Although we are all now self-employed we continue to connect via monthly group Skype calls. Our conversations are a mix of personal and business but always always reflect deep, rich learning, and probably a little too much fun.