Thoughts + Leader is > Sum of Parts

10/15/2015 20:08

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” 

James Allen, from the turn of the century classic, As a Man Thinketh    (Women thinketh too of course.)

Listening to this recent Harvard Business Review podcast reminded me of the important efforts faculty make to strategically shape and support improved ways of doing things within classrooms and organizations.  Those who inspire me most are resolute in their efforts to face organizations (and occasional classes) that are ailing, even when they’re seemingly determined not to recover.  Lacking resources it would be nice to have, they lead through the strength of their thinking.

When is a “thought-leader” something other than an outmoded cliché?  To paraphrase coach/strategist Dorie Clark, the guest on the podcast, the answer is deceptively simple: “thought leadership” is an overused term but real. Leadership emerges when thoughts in your head find adequate expression and the right audience, and thus are able to move important dialogue forward.

If our thoughts are worthy, people are moved when we unleash them. It’s less about personality or ego, and more about the significance of the thought, and the manner in which we affirm, nurture and communicate them.

If you decide to listen to the podcast and pursue some of Ms. Clark’s books and writings, you may agree that nothing manifests possibility and affirms hope more effectively than a single determined person with some genuinely well-honed thoughts. Set free in the form of effective communication, ideas are able to move dialogues forward, ultimately creating change.

“The sky’s the limit” becomes a legitimate possibility.

“On Being an Influence:” Brief Recap of the COB CELT Workshop

Last Friday, Suzanne Zivnuska, Colleen Robb, Bob Sprague, and Rick Hubbard presented their practical take on how we can help students become leaders in the classroom.  Here are just a few of the take-home points that drew extended discussion among faculty from all across campus:

·       In our post-trust era, leadership starts within ourselves

·       Our teaching impact will have limited influence without our students’ trust; trust is linked to engagement

·       Incidentally following up on the article Michael Posen brought to our attention last week, conference attendees affirmed that students today appear increasingly stressed and anxious. It bears noting that many conference attendees have been teaching a long time.

·       Could student anxieties be in any way linked somehow to our own anxieties and concerns? Food for thought, at least.

Thus, this outstanding presentation about leading students toward learning through self-leadership and understanding became, for some, an important reflection.  How we are expressing, controlling, and leading with our own thoughts, individually and collectively as campus leaders?  Are we role models for students?

Admittedly, a lecturer may not always feel like a campus leader. But our students see us that way, whether or not our personal thoughts affirm the belief. Thanks to the efforts of our team of presenters, and through the participation of CELT College of Business Advisory Board member Dr. Kim Hinrichs, more than a few of us are beginning to understand how wide the scope of our influence – and our own possibilities – extend.

From an attendee’s perspective, I was proud that the College of Business was so well represented.

From James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.

Man is made or unmade by himself.

The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state.

(People) do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.          

A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. As he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; he ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within himself. 

Many of you are familiar with Allen’s work, but if you aren’t, here is a common-use pdf of one of the greatest little books ever written.