Thursday, October 4, 2012

What Did I Learn This Week (Volume 1)

        I am embarking on writing a post each week that reflects my learning for that week. This came as a result of participating in the Leadership 2.0 series that was launched on Tuesday by George Couros. While I would identify myself as a lifelong learner, I can’t honestly say that I have reflected regularly enough on what that means. I know that I continue to learn new things (sometimes even when doing tasks I have done many times before) but I don’t know if I have ever thought what impact that has on prior knowledge or future learning opportunities. I am hoping that reflecting on my learning each week will provide some insights for me, and some opportunity for the reader to share feedback. This, by extension, will lead to more learning but that’s for subsequent posts.
I’m going to define my week as starting on Sundays as this past Sunday was my 52nd birthday and that date always gives me a moment to reflect. My week won’t be defined as seven days as I don’t want to restrict the thoughts to a defined period. I’ll take the word “week” to be defined as the time between posts and trust that will suffice.
My birthday has become a day where I take stock of who I am, what I am doing, and what my legacy might be. Invariably the answers to these questions are reflected through my family. I was reminded once again what an amazing person I have in my life as my wife gladly trudged with me to Surrey so I could wake up on my birthday to run the inaugural Surrey Marathon. There is no win in this for her as she watches (somewhat amusedly) me fret about an activity I have done numerous times but that still results in a restless “night before the event” and an early rise on race day so I can sit in solitude and fuel up. She is there at the event and has the best smile for me when I cross the line. My three kids have invariably lent their support by the time the race starts through text messages (including some attempts at humor as they try to make sense of why someone would do this 44 times) and will want to know the outcome shortly after I cross the line. With the day also being my birthday, they all extended this further by having us over for dinner and managed all of the details of that meal. The gift of a family portrait gave a perfect conclusion to a day where I learned (or perhaps re-learned) that family trumps everything else, and time invested in relationships gives the greatest return.

People care more than is sometimes obvious or demonstrated. We have lived in Gibsons for close to five years now in a rented house. When I left my position at the board office and pursued my current work, folks thought we would be leaving the area. There was a perceived (on my part) detachment with others and we were often asked if we were staying. That we typically responded with, “for the next six months at least”, probably didn’t allay any concerns. When we announced that we had closed a deal on a home purchase, the response was overwhelmingly positive and it was if a collective sigh of relief was exhaled. Friends and acquaintances didn’t want to burden us if we weren’t staying but seemed happy that we were. It was a good lesson learned about community and the value of positive connections.
My learning really accelerated as a result of participating in the aforementioned Leadership 2.0 session. While I stray more towards Luddite than Technophile, I am eager to learn more about the new ways to communicate and reach colleagues all over the globe. That we had participants from Australia as well as from across Canada and the United States, spoke to power of these new tools. Having expert facilitation from George and timely comments from others only enhanced the experience. My e-portfolio is a project I will need to get to work on and I a comforted by the knowledge that I have lots of able assistance a connection away. I will be leading one of the sessions and my trepidation will surely mount as the date approaches as a result of the bar being set so high in the first session. And yet, the potential for learning has me eagerly anticipating the opportunity.
As I craft this, I am sitting on a plane heading to my next presentation. I have come to appreciate the time in the air and at various terminals as a bonus that provides a chance to read, write, and share with others. One of the passengers seated next to me has shared what she does and the excitement of heading to Italy as part of her hospitality-related career. We’ve had a good chat about the role of schools in preparing students to work in her industry. She also spoke about the importance of relationships in that field of work and that seems to be the recurring theme for my learning this week.
I know my work with the DSBN Academy over the next two days will bring some incredible learning to the fore. Those kids and the staff always have so much to offer. But that is for next week’s post. 

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