The Field We Love Playing On

May 13, 2018 at 11:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

The quote above has stayed closely with me ever since I first heard it many years ago. It’s a theme that I strive to personally embody (imperfectly) and professionally foster (again imperfectly) each and every day. Our individual and shared journeys of potential can at times feel littered by judgement and competition (a combination of our own and others). Whether that judgement and competition is real, perceived or feels embedded and immovable, it’s presence can have a significant impact on our ability to lead and make a difference in our own and others lives.

“Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.” – Virginia Burden

Cooperative advantage for us is how we change the game. Unpacking, fostering and leveraging it within our own and others lives opens up pathways to purposefully reconnect with the field we love playing on. Interconnectedness is our innate way of being as humans. It’s also how we most effectively bring leadership to life. This past week I got to witness another inspiring example of what’s possible when we consistently reflect on, practice and celebrate cooperative advantage within our spheres of influence.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S Truman

The Year 6 students were completing their 9th L.E.A.D. with Me weekly session. The three classes have only got one more program day this week that will conclude this part of the program. The reason I say this part of the program is we are always committed to connection to meaningful action beyond all our program experiences, whether it’s through ongoing communication, reflection opportunities or the continued practice of the student’s developing skills, attitudes and behaviours. That’s why last week’s session was all about how do we bridge the gap, between where we are and where we can be.

“The real challenge is for each of us to determine where we feel we can make the most impact.” – Jay Samit

In a particular challenge two groups became one. They weren’t told to. They didn’t need to ask permission to. And they certainly weren’t looking for recognition from others for doing so. They just noticed, and then acted on, that the combination of people, resources and time would be so much more effective this way than trying to go it alone. It was powerful to watch. Especially because in the now bigger group no one needed to be in control. There were invitational questions, each group member was heard, everyone bought in, everyone played a role, and really importantly everyone celebrated the journey up to and post completion. It was cooperative advantage in action.

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilisation work.” – Vince Lombardi

Advertisements

A Piece of the Puzzle

October 23, 2017 at 4:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s such a privilege to be a piece of the puzzle within so many educational journeys. As I’ve written before, we understand the amazing commitment schools and educators have for the welfare and educational opportunities offered to their students as they progress through their school years. Education is a complex and interdependent journey, with many important pieces of a puzzle supporting students, staff and school communities to achieve the best outcomes for each individual. It’s so humbling to be reminded of the positive impact we are apart of creating as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically, together.

“An extremely important and beneficial program for all students in Year 5, 6 and beyond. Our Year 5 students were fully engaged in every session and couldn’t wait for the next Friday! Cameron is an enthusiastic, positive, approachable and kids relatable presenter. The success of this program is attributed to him and his interactions with our Year 5 students! Thank you Cameron.” – Year 5 Teacher at one of our client schools

The feedback above came from one of our client schools at the end of last term. We were so humbled by the beautiful words that the organising teacher left us with on that final Friday. The 80 Year 5 students we got to work with were incredible. I can’t wait to hear about the ripples they create as leaders of their school community next year. More importantly though, I can’t wait to hear about the ripples they create as positive difference makers each and every day as leaders (not needing to wait for a badge or to be the eldest in the school to be called a leader).

“I haven’t had this class for quite a while, the changes are just incredible.” – Comment from a Casual Teacher who was present within a program experience last week

Our new L.E.A.D. with Me Program is providing us with the opportunity to have ongoing contact with a cohort over a longer period of time. Each class completes sequential weekly sessions of 90 minutes in length over the course of a term. The comment from the Casual Teacher above came last week as we worked with the Year 4 group for the 8th of 10 sessions. The growth and development within the 3 classes has been fantastic, and it’s so humbling to not only have this noticed and reported back by their classroom teachers, but also by others within the school community.

“Absolutely fantastic and worthwhile day…. This will give all teachers at our school leadership techniques to inform their students. Thank you!” – Year 5 Teacher at one of our client schools

Something that we love about our program experiences is that learning is not just for students. We are constantly learning from the wisdom and contributions of the participants, but also the teachers are constantly learning as well. What we’re most passionate about is meaningful connection to action beyond the program day. And for that to happen we know that the teachers play a really important role. It’s so humbling to receive feedback like the one above from a new client school last week who’ll have teachers within the school creating new leadership ripples after those who were apart of the experience share with other teachers as well.

“One of the Year 5 parents I was speaking to was wondering whether you offered any small group outside of school programs?” – Email question from a Principal last week after beginning an ongoing L.E.A.D. with Me Program

We love hearing from school communities about how much students share with home about their experiences. It’s great to know that the participants want to pass on information about what they loved, what they learnt and what happens now. We were also really humbled by the email enquiry above we received last week looking at ways we can further support the learning and leadership journeys of students within our programs. It’s an exciting development that we’re looking into as we journey towards our vision of ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. Thank you to all those we have the privilege of sharing this journey with.

Anybody Got Feedback?

August 7, 2017 at 3:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

During the past week I got to spend two days training 40 Year 6 students who are taking on the role of Ambassadors within their school community. It’s the start of a brand new program that I’m helping the school develop, and what an inspiring two days it turned out to be. I had worked with the whole Year 6 cohort at the beginning of the year (our L.E.A.D. with Courage™: Stage 3 Leaders Program), then reconnected with their 12 elected leaders a couple of weeks after for a day, but now I was back to support those courageous students who had put their hand up to be a part of this brand new school initiative.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

There were so many highlights that came out of the experience but one particular aspect of the process really shone through as vitally important. Giving and receiving feedback are skills that need to be practiced. Being open to and filtering feedback are also skills that need to be practiced. Carving out time for and then using the constructive feedback we receive are again also skills that need to be practiced. This list could keep going on and on but as the quote above suggests, the reason for this type of practice is that feedback is vital if we are serious about wanting to improve in anything. And these students, and the client school, and us at Explore Discover Act, are definitely serious about continual growth and development.

“Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas.” – Jim Trinka and Les Wallace

Many times throughout the two days the teachers and I were left in awe by the way these Ambassadors stepped out of their comfort zones and made real a piece/s of feedback that they, other individuals or the group as a whole received. They themselves were the catalyst for most of the valuable, compassionate and explicit feedback that was being shared, either through informal or formal opportunities within the program, or through our living walls that were being filled up with questions, ideas and connections. I can’t wait to hear all about the incredible contributions that these students will continue to make within their school community as Ambassadors, purposefully using their thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in their own and others journeys of potential.

“One of the things that I’ve learned is to be receptive of feedback.” – Ben Silbermann

I’d just like to leave you with the reflections of one the teachers who I had the pleasure of working with closely throughout this process, and over the past few years. Her commitment, and the schools, to providing the students with engaging, challenging and inovative learning opportunities continues to energise and inspire me. What a privilege it is to get to do what we get to do!

‘WOW!  What an amazing 2 days. I have walked away feeling energised and inspired, as I know the students have as well (their body language said it all). On behalf on Emma and myself, I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work you did with our students, your professionalism and expertise to get the most out of them was wonderful to witness.

Over the 2 days I reflected on the students responses and engagement and felt proud that they were able to articulate all the passions they have for our school. It was satisfying to hear them talk, discuss and have a valued voice to share what they believe our school to be on such a deep level. It demonstrated that the aspects we have been putting into programs is truly making them confident young people.

Thank you so much again for an engaging 2 days.’ – Year 6 Teacher/Assistant Principal

How often?

July 31, 2017 at 7:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” – Brené Brown

It’s Saturday afternoon as I’m writing this. I’ve just finished facilitating the July session of our year long Let’s L.E.A.D. Program with SCARF Youth here in the Illawarra (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families). I’m feeling so inspired (again). But also reflective. So much of what came up within the session today, plus what a Year 5 girl said during one of our program days a week ago, keeps bouncing around my head.

“Leadership’s not a title. It’s a behaviour. Live it!” – Robin Sharma

As you know I’m passionate about leadership. I love learning more about it. I love talking about it. I love noticing it. But I guess what’s even more important than all that is how often do I embody it and make it real through my thoughts, words and actions? As the Year 5 girl remarked so wisely within our program day last week, if leadership was a form of transport I’d choose a boat, they’re popular but how often do we use them?

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.” – John Wooden

The challenge of leading inspires me (the purposeful use of my thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in my own and others lives). I love that the Year 5 girl’s comment, the work being undertaken by the participants involved in our year long Let’s L.E.A.D. group and my own reflections on those above are not mired in judgement, but rather are a part of the process of staying curious, compassionate and purposefully aligned (and continuing to realign) along the leadership journey. It’s definitely not about perfection. I’ll take progress and creating ripples over that each and every day.

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi

The Spark

February 20, 2017 at 6:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

shutterstock_135091277

Not only was this past week full of amazing participants, but it was also full of amazing conversations. We are so very grateful for the depth of connection we’ve been privileged to foster within our client schools as we are welcomed so warmly into each unique learning environment. I love the conversations that I have with the Principals, Assistant Principals and teachers who I interact with during a program day. These conversations open up the pathways to most effectively journey together towards the vision of ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’.

“To embark on the journey towards your goals and dreams requires bravery. To remain on that path requires courage. The bridge that merges the two is commitment.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli

One of the conversations this week that left me feeling so inspired was with an Assistant Principal within one of our client schools. Throughout the day we had the opportunity to discuss many things. One is how I will be assisting the school to empower a group of Year 6 leaders to build their own learning experiences that they will then deliver for the rest of the cohort within a new Ambassadors Program. Another involved the potential of facilitating a Professional Learning experience this year for their staff at the school, as well as another day for all the staff involved in the network of schools their connected to who come together once a year. But the most inspiring part came when she explained an innovative program they developed last year and the ripples they are now experiencing from it.

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” – Thomas Jeffersom

After noticing on their school camp that other schools who do bikes head off around the bushtrack at the Centre, compared to their own group staying in a controlled setting, this Assistant Principal enquired why. They use this camp every year and had just thought that this was the way the activity was always run. In the subsequent conversation the camp staff explained that due to the amount of students within the cohort who required scooters, because of their lack of experience on bikes, this bushtrack extension of the activity wasn’t possible within their program. Rather than just accept that this was the way it always has to be, or get angry and look to blame someone or something, this Assistant Principal used this spark to turn a challenge into an opportunity.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mohandas Gandhi

A teacher from the school put his hand up at the beginning of last year and went to Victoria to become qualified in bike education. The school dedicated some financial resources to purchase two bikes to pilot a program at their school. Then because of its success they bought a fleet of bikes and rolled out the program in a much larger way. Because of the enthusiasm and interest it caused within the school community it was then expanded to include parents learning to ride after school hours. A ripple created from this resulted in students receiving bikes for birthdays/Christmas/etc. and families choosing to use leisure time riding within the local community. And incredibly, just 12 months on from that conversation with camp staff, a whole cohort of kids experienced the bushtrack extension whilst at camp at the end of 2016! Wow, what an incredible example of exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically.

“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.” – Norman Vincent Peale

We all encounter ‘the spark’ on a regular basis within our journeys of potential. What we choose to do next though is completely up to us.

Bridging: Ideas into Action

January 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ACT

I wonder what 2017 will bring? There are certain things that are already booked into the calendar or are being planned, but obviously there is also so much open possibility as well. Within this open possibility there can be a focus on resolutions relating to outcomes. We’ve all done it, I’m going to ___________ (fill in the blank – lose 10kg, get a new job, etc.). And then in a few weeks time as we navigate choices, complexity and challenges the resolution seems to slip away. What we’re planning again this year is a mantra to guide our thoughts, words and actions focussed on process.

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Buddha

Our plan: being passionately curious about how we as individuals and groups bridge ideas into action. Why: we believe so strongly in potential and in the difference that we are all able to make in our own and others lives. We also know (as described in the image above) that it is action that changes things. The bridge between knowing and doing though can be a challenging one. So, to be most effective in creating purposeful and powerful ripples ourselves and also serving the communities whom we support so they can do the same, making learning a priority is a must.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi

How: to start with by asking questions (and plenty of them). We’ve already started on Twitter (@ExploreDiscAct) our Question of the Day to keep us focussed on this vital element of embodying this year’s mantra. We’ve also started organising conversations with inspiring individuals and groups who are being the change they wish to see in the world. Curiosity will lead the way. We can’t wait to see what we learn through engaging with and listening to all those we have the chance to interact with this year. Then finally we’re going to continue to share. Through our program experiences, ongoing communication with clients and of course through our various social media platforms like this Blog.

“Our real problem, then, is not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

We love being involved in the development of leadership potential within our spheres of influence. Our vision remains, ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. Our programs are delivered predominantly in Primary Schools so we can assist in fostering purposeful skills, attitudes and behaviours in 21st Century learners. Having the courage to make a difference is a practice. One that we’re committed to fostering within participants from an early age. But most importantly, one that we’re committed to fostering within ourselves first. It’s in the process, not the outcome, that we have the opportunity of being the change.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” – Multiple attributions

Seasonal Reminders

November 14, 2016 at 7:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

fullsizerender

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

I’m very lucky that I get to see many participant cohorts on multiple occasions within a year. Some client schools I am even lucky enough to work with students right throughout their Primary School journey. It really is inspiring to be a piece of the educational puzzle within the growth and development of these incredible individuals and groups. It’s just funny though that the tree pictured above got me reflecting on this privilege last week. It jumped out at me as I walked through a school courtyard.

“Embrace the current season of your life.” – Gabrielle Blair

It’s leaves were back; so full and vibrant. This was such a contrast to last noticing this tree a few months ago when its branches were so bare and stark. I love seasonal reminders like this one. It’s like a jolt caused by noticing a variation of colour, temperature, loss, growth, or any number of other changes that are always happening. Whether we notice or not doesn’t mean that the subtle or obvious isn’t there. The act of noticing though can definitely assist us as we embrace the present moment without attaching a lens of needing permanence, as the quote above suggests.

“Each moment of the year has its own beauty.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we enter this final ‘season’ of the current school year I love talking to teachers about all the connection, growth and learning that’s taken place this year. Their pride in their students authentic progress shows up in stories of the ups and downs, sweat and tears, and courageous daily thoughts, words and actions that makes up learning journeys like those occuring in the wholeness of a full year. Schools can be such busy places, with such diverse and complex needs being catered for and navigated, so creating space and time for noticing through reflection, celebration and appreciation can be so important.

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” -Elizabeth Lawrence

Innovation

April 4, 2016 at 5:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

shutterstock_155956748

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt

Buzz words come and go, but daily practices are available to us always. What is focussed on, prioritised or made an emphasis in our individual or shared, personal or professional journeys creates ripples in our own and others lives. If you’ve seen the news lately here in Australia then ‘innovation’ would be one emphasis that politicians seem to be talking about at a macro level. In our 21st century evolving global village, with all its complexity, challenges and opportunities, innovation is being pitched as a key component to growth, competitiveness and adaptability. But what’s happening at the micro level to journey us there?

“Innovation is change that unlocks new value.” – Jamie Notter

Recently I’ve been in a school that has made innovation one of their school plan priorities. They’re trialling a few things that I’ve loved viewing and talking to students and teachers about. Like any change there seemed to be some initial resistance from those at the coal face to the idea of adding what could be extra work onto already bulging ‘to do’ lists. But after getting through this initial resistance most of the teaching staff who I encountered seemed to be energised and proud of how their ‘innovation corners’ in their classrooms had come together.

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing , you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

There were limited budgets. There was a timeframe that still included fulfilling all their other duties as teachers. There were classrooms full of students working in these spaces as the corners were evolving. Initial ideas expanded and developed as they came into reality. What I loved most though, as I spent time in various classrooms, was not two ‘innovation corners’ were the same. Each teacher owned this opportunity in their way.

“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

Within this process the teachers put in a lot of thought about what would engage, support, challenge and/or inspire their particular cohort of students. For many the initial task took them out of their ‘at the coal face’ comfort zone. Issues of busyness, access to resources and comparison/judgement came rising to the surface. Once the task was started though a lot of these issues seemed to decrease. Now, most importantly, the students are enthusiastically using, experimenting with, taking ownership for and integrating these corners (and other innovations that this process has given birth to) into their daily practices. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

“The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own. ” – N. Bushnell

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.