My Leadership Story

Recently I was asked to share my leadership story since graduating from Cornell MOR Associates ITELP. I was honored to be invited last week to share this story at the 2016 Cornell MOR Associates ITELP graduation. Below is my story.

Last year I stood on this stage as a current graduate and shared a personal story of how I helped my daughter navigate a difficult conversation. I shared this story as an example of the impact this program has not just on our professional lives, but our personal lives as well. Recently I attended my daughter’s end of year crew banquette. As a graduating senior each of the girls in her boat shared a story about her. As I listened to each of these young women share their story, I recalled the conversations my daughter and I had had about these situations. They shared stories of how she had motivated them; really listened to what they had to say; been inclusive; and helped them to build relationships of trust. They spoke of how she had led a somewhat fractured team to a gold medal in the state championship and the influence she had had on their belief in their ability to be successful. It was at that moment I realized just how wide our circle of influence really is.

The program impacted every aspect of how I view myself as a leader and my ability to develop relationships and get things done. The opportunity to have the time, space and coaching to work on myself has impacted every aspect of how I interact with others. The results of this can be supported by the feedback I received for my performance review. The MOR program is the best leadership development program I’ve ever participated in and I continue to meet with my peer triad and open my MOR book up at least once a week. If everyone could go through this program we would have an organization built on trust with an entirely re-imagined way of doing business. By working on myself I am better able to lead, coach those around me and understand how to develop relationships built on trust. I truly believe I can have an impact and lead from where I am.

Thanks to the competencies I gained in this program I was able to successfully lead a project that required me to reach across multiple units at Cornell and develop new relationships. It was the things I learned about myself; how to build relationships; and understanding how to delegate and run meetings that enabled me to successfully build a high functioning team where everyone had a voice, felt empowered, and worked collaboratively. This project had a number of setbacks and unexpected issues but thanks to the competencies and confidence I gained from ELP I was able to successfully lead this project and team.

While the above professional examples are important measurements of the outcomes and outputs of this program, I shared a personal story as an example of the human impact this program has on the lives of everyone here, our families, and the community. There are lots of different ways to be a leader and leadership transcends our professional lives. I believe there is no one, quantitative way of measuring it, that would provide evidence of success. Rather, each of our voices and our stories is evidence of greater trust, enhanced relationships and the ability to re-imagine the way we do business.

Thank you to MOR associates for shaping the narrative of our lives.

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Notyetness at #et4online

As I fly home from #et4online I am full of #notyetness. There was something special that took place at the conference that I haven’t felt before. The presentations, and the whole experience, was full of #awesomeness. I think we need to replace the term “presentation”, as these were really intimate discussions rather than presentations. There was so much intentional and thoughtful conversation this year. #et4online gave us that safe space to get out of our comfort zones, struggle together with concepts and ideas and realize it is ok to fail even in front of a room full of people. Someone described the feeling of attending ed tech conferences as being in an echo chamber. A place where we hear people talking to us about similar struggles to our own, yet leave without learning anything new. #et4online was a space where people listened with intention, took risks, and brought interaction to the sessions. There were less power points and more crayons; less talking at us and more listening; less structure and more messiness; less learning objectives and more learning subjectives.

Maha Bali and Rebecca Hogue demonstrated the power of inexpensive, simple technology to increase accessibility and create meaningful conversations and relationships across the globe. Maha participated in several sessions and numerous #et4buddy chats from Cario, Egypt through Rebecca’s iphone, Twitter and YouTube. Maha ran the virtual #unet4conference where collaboration between virtual participants and those at the conference took place in Canvas and Google Docs. I participated 20,000 feet in the air as I flew back to Ithaca! #et4buddy is a great model for a global classroom and cross university collaborations.

I felt for the first time we were finally brining into our conferences what we’ve been discussing bringing into our classrooms. I believe most of us left with a deep desire to not just continue the relationships that were formed, but the work we began. Rather than leaving with “a few good ideas”, we left with the beginnings of working groups, started projects, and launched plans. Thank you to the conference planners and presenters who created a space where we could have meaningful conversations, reflect and work together.

Resolution-Be More Intentional

I am tasked with spending some time thinking about what being more intentional in two or three areas looks like to me and the impact it will have on me being a leader. I decided to do some Googling to get my brain thinking about what being intentional is. The first thing I noticed was that being intentional was a popular concept related to the New Year. There were numerous articles on it! The first article I read was written by a mom with three children. In it she talks about being intentional from a “family life” view point but the concepts are the same: limit your scope; develop a detailed plan; get support from those around you; and most importantly don’t let one slip up derail you. In this article she creates a detailed chore list. She limits her scope to “small chores” but they have a big impact. It is all those little things that drag her down and make her feel overwhelmed. She comments, “if life makes sense, I am more likely to engage with real people and feel like living!” How can I apply this to my work life? Well for starters I think I will adapt her chore chart at my home. As she says if I feel more efficient at home and don’t have all these “small chores” weighing me down I imagine it will also make me more efficient at my job . It also reminds me of something I read in a Harvard Business Review Book about getting the right things done. I’ve since lost track of the book but I remember the idea of taking 15 minutes every morning, creating a list and picking things to get done. I think that is one practice I will start in the New Year.

I really like the definition I found in the second article I read, “Intentional living is about knowing why you do what you do and why you don’t do what you don’t do”. This fits nicely with the concept of learning to say no and to say yes to the right things. I’ve been in my new job for over a year now. I think it is time for me to reflect on the work that I am doing, what I am passionate about and why I do what I do.The author goes on to say, “Intentional living is about being willing to take a step back and evaluate the things you are doing”.  Today is my quarterly think about three things I want to accomplish time.

Something I’ve been wanting to learn for awhile is how to use OneNote. I am going to think about how I can use One Note to be more intentional and accomplish my three goals. I think three things I want to accomplish over the next quarter are:

1) Learning to use One Note and using it effectively

2) Writing a paper for publication

3) Creating a strategy to connect with high schools in relation to our MOOC