2020 Reflections – On creativity

Adam Grant is one of my favourite organizational psychology authors. He is a professor in the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania and has been making his mark by challenging us to think differently about ourselves and our organizations. I shared some insights gleaned from his first book, Give and Take in the August 2015 communiqué. (For a summative visual see the bottom of this page online.) I am reading his latest book, Originals – How Non-Conformists Move the World, for a future communiqué. However, he has also written articles on key ideas and done a few interviews based on the research that led to his latest book.

In his article in the Harvard Business Review article, How to Build a Culture of Originality he says: “When everyone thinks in similar ways and sticks to dominant norms, businesses are doomed to stagnate. To fight that inertia and drive innovation and change effectively, leaders need sustained original thinking in their organizations. They get it by building a culture of nonconformity.”

This sounds a little scary especially when we have built structures and systems that reinforce conformity and consistency. But Grant makes a compelling case for introducing lots of opportunities for generative thinking and small change actions throughout and across the organization. While focused more on the domains of business and industry, many of his concepts still apply to the social care sector; we need to re-imagine many of the ways that we do our work to address the pervasive, intractable, and ever-changing social issues that we care about. Of particular value is his commentary on how we as leaders can foster an environment of creativity and innovation by creating space for non-conformity

To hear Grant talk more about his work, you can check out the interview, Six Secrets to True Originality, which includes both narrative and video clips on topics such as avoiding group think, reframing your creative process, not worrying about being too old, and learning how to procrastinate artfully.

2020 Resources – New learning and development opportunities

1) Leadership Mind with Caitlin Frost

Leadership 2020 core faculty member Caitlin Frost is launching Leadership Mind a new practice based, 10-month immersion in the transformative practice of The Work of Byron Katie, exploring and expanding personal leadership capacity. “Following the conscious design of this transformative personal learning journey, you can access deep insight about yourself (including blind spots and unconscious patterns), better know and use your experience, strengths and talents, reconnect to your passion, purpose and integrity, and navigate the many challenges and opportunities that arise in your work and life with more clarity, coherence and enjoyment.” Caitlin is offering all Leadership 2020 graduates and participants the non-profit rate. Further details are available here.

You can also check out the resources section of her website and re-engage with or deepen your practice in The Work as a means to challenge the limiting beliefs and fears that hold you back.

2) Coursera – Upcoming Free Courses

I still get excited about September and the promise of new beginnings and new learnings. Coursera is one of the platforms for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that I have written about in the past and a few of their best courses are starting soon:

Building Your Leadership Skills begins August 8th and speaks to the importance of relationships and trust-building as a leadership practice. This course is aligned with the 2020 principle that ‘great leadership is personal’ and self-awareness is foundational. https://www.coursera.org/learn/leadership-skills 

Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional intelligence lead by Dr. Richard Boyatzis from Case Western University is excellent. The commitment is about 1.5 hours a week over 8 weeks and it starts on August 22nd. The course is taught through engaging videos and short exercises and activities.

Leadership Through Design Innovation will be of interest to anyone wanting to further explore design thinking and innovation as an increasingly important leadership skill. This course was developed by Northwestern University and while it will have more of a business focus than a non-profit or government focus the 4-week syllabus is very comprehensive. It starts on August 29th.

Note: More and more platforms for MOOC’s are offering specialization streams or paid offerings that enable you to get continuing education credit or some other type of certification. However, you can still take the courses for free by selecting the ‘audit only’ options.

The Fed’s Communication Strategy: Let us know what’s most important to you

The Federation’s mission is to act as a catalyst for positive change to B.C.’s social policies and community programs.

We strive to influence social policy and improve social conditions in our province by building stronger, better informed, and more supportive connections between the sector, government, and the public.

This means we have our feet firmly planted in two different worlds. Sometimes, The Federation is an advocate—a voice for change promoting the value of community social services and changing public perceptions about the work we do. Other times, we are a collaborator, influencer, and advisor with government bodies, public servants, and politicians.

In many ways, these are two sides of the same coin: both help foster the change we want to see but do so in different ways. Both of these approaches are important and both are vital to The Federation’s mission, our strategic priorities, and our core principles. And they both inform the ways The Federation communicates with you, our members, and the way we position ourselves in public discourse.

We act quickly and respond publicly with Op-Ed pieces, Letters to the Editor, and press releases when situations or issues require us to. We also work hard to communicate with our membership when policies change and when information emerges that might affect your organizational practice and sustainability.

But our environment is constantly changing; we are continually updating our communications strategies as issues emerge and trends shift and will continue to do so—especially with the upcoming provincial election.

As such, we are encouraging all Federation members to take two minutes and complete a simple one-page checklist letting us know when you want to be contacted directly about important changes to specific programs, services, and funding areas.

The items on the list are not the only areas we are focusing on. However, providing The Federation with a clear sense of what is most important to your organization—what issues you need to know most about—will help us continue to serve you better and, in turn, help strengthen the sector as a whole.

Please take two minutes to fill out the short checklist now: Federation Member Services Checklist. If you have any questions about how this information will be used, please feel free to contact Rebecca at The Federation office.