June 2016

Onward Leaders Blog: Cohort 1

As the Onward Leaders Director I have spent most of the year reading and researching about leadership development and studying programs in place for new administrators around the world. The plethora of leadership visions, missions, tips, competencies, dispositions, ways of being vs ways of doing and on and on and on had me regretting a few, if not all, of my practices as a teacher and an administrator. (Please note that I wrote regretting not reflecting-another word that if we are not careful will lose its power- that’s for another blog.) When Stephen R. Covey needs to write a 406 page follow up because there is yet an 8th Habit of Highly Effective People (which of course I read) we are not on terra firma in the area of leadership. So when in doubt, go to Shakespeare; specifically, Henry V for leadership around a vision.

St. Crisipin’s Day Speech

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Henry V has it all: vision, moral purpose, urgency, community and or belonging, collective capacity over individual capacity. It is all there in a blood drenched and completely gender specific manner- but palpably there. I want in.

So let’s rework his speech to “rally the troops” of leaders within the Archdiocese and parishes and schools to take up the vision of growth both collectively and personally or “think themselves accurs’d they were not here.”

Vision for Growth

We few, we happy few, we band of leaders;

For you to-day that seeks a brighter future

Shall be my colleague; be we simplistic;

This day shall uplift our believing,

And naysayers in life now a-bed

Shall think themselves accurs’d they did not join

And hold their beliefs cheap whiles any speaks

Whose vision borne of faith was realized.

As we set off on the Onward Leaders journey, first stop-Vision of Growth.

Leaders establish a collaborative culture of growth to ensure vibrant Catholic schools for present and future generations. (Archdiocesan Vision)

What will that look like, sound like, feel like in ourselves, in our parish or at our school? What are the adults saying and doing? What are the students saying and doing? What processes and or systems can we put in place to ensure growth? What data can leaders utilize to determine gaps between vision and current practices and policies? What actions can leaders take to facilitate the narrowing of those gaps in the current vision? Or is the current goal of the vision outdated for the current context?

Fasten your seatbelts; there are not easy answers here. Only great questions and great faith. Both of which leaders in our schools should practice daily or “find themselves accurs’d they were not here.”