Category Archives: Embodying Visionary Leadership

Make Yourself Open to Opportunity

Kare Anderson is a super story teller and brings us into her world where everyone can make a difference. Not only are we all “smart” at something, we also can connect with each other and also connect others so they can network and learn. If our stories, our ideas and/or our products/services are presented by people who are startling (grab your emotion), compelling (show you there is a way) and credible (some experience), then change can and will happen.

It’s a great video to watch yourself, but even a better one to watch as a group!

Ask yourself/group – How are we using our collective talents to create a better society? Are there others (outside organizations/people) that we should tap into to help with our cause(s)?


Are You Brave?

Having another opportunity to host a Leadercast in our school division is just an amazing and unforgettable experience. For those who don’t recognize “Leadercast”, it is a day-long learning event with a variety of speakers focused on speaking on one particular subject from their own experiences.


This year the speakers were:


The theme – The Brave Ones – showcases one of the essential behaviors for innovative and forward-moving leadership. Those leaders who push their organizations into different paths and who are bold enough to think of both the ethical, social and moral pieces while engaging their people are the ones who we heard from today. It is not just those famous leaders that one needs to think about, it is important to think about everyday leaders in their communities who are audacious and driven to make a difference.


Whether it was in the journal in print or the Leadercast App, there was a Be Brave Checklist found in both. For each speaker session, (there were four) participants were asked to create their own brave action. Below are mine, so far….

Session 1 – speakers: Andy Stanley, Rorke Denver, Bill McDermott

  • To wrap my head around the idea of saying “wow” not “how” when ideas and/or policies are not meeting our educational standards. Then ask “what do I believe is impossible to do in our educational field but if it could be done, would fundamentally change our work?” I will have to think more about what I could ‘bravely’ be doing to answer that question. Currently, in Alberta the previous government froze $$ going to school divisions for the 2015-16 school year, however last week a new government was voted in. Could the $$ situation change soon? If it does or doesn’t, I still need to think further on this.
  • Leadercast_Andy
  • Sketch created by on May 8, 2015
    • Session 2 – speakers: Malala Yousafzai, Peyton Manning
  • Continue to speak out for all students and my instance that the learning environment be set up in a universally-designed manner to engage everyone no matter where they are in the Alberta curriculum continuum. My goal is to support teachers and EAs and students to utilize available resources, materials and tools. It is also my goal that our Admin and any leaders who present or create workshops also think about adult learners and design appropriate, engaging and demanding opportunities for participants.
  • Leadercast_Malala
  • Sketch created by on May
    • Session 3 – speakers: Seth Godin, Ed Catmull
  • I need to work on being even more curious, to think outside the box and share my thoughts with colleagues. I do have a great Learning Services team and school division whose vision is to provide “a place where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams” (including me!). Sometimes, I feel I may do many things at various sites and with other groups that I may not share clearly to the Team what I have been doing. (I try to share directly with colleagues, in my blog, on Twitter and via the weekly Online employee newsletter, but one can never share too much!)
  • Leadercast_Ed
    • Session 4 – speakers: Aja Brown, Rudy Guiliani
  • Don’t be afraid to have Fierce Conversations with groups of people or even individuals. If you are unsure how to get started, Susan Scott’s bestseller Fierce Conversations or even the training will help you. I know that in my work dealing with school administrators, staff and sometimes students this training has allowed me to get clarity and clearly envision the conversation(s) at hand.

Leadercast2015Leadercast 2015_2

I will continue to follow @Leadercast #leadercast throughout the year as well as subscribe to the Leadercast Now site (video clips and action strategies) throughout the upcoming year. I know that the 50 people who attended the simulcast were moved by the people and the theme.

What will you do to be brave in the work that you do?


Reaching the Rotarians


From left to right, President Nizar Abouchami, Brian Hauptman,

Nicole Lakusta, and Tim Monds.

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the Rotarians from Spruce Grove who came to Division Office to learn a bit more about our Vision, Mission, Commitment Statements to Inclusion, integration of technology in the learning environment and how the largest bussing organization in Alberta works. Thanks to Tony for the filming and editing of the video clips from our presentations.

PSD Vocational Visit


Intentional Leader: A Guiding Vision

Monthly Theme: VISION

Week 4: A Guiding Vision

Visions endure

…..hmmm, how can I ensure that PSD’s vision of making learning exciting through exploration, creativity and imagination so that all learners aspire to reach their dreams takes hold in the work that I do? This week is looking at leaders who have established an enduring vision that continues to hold true even when they are no longer part of the organization.


When one is asked the question to reflect on memorable leaders who have finished well and have left behind a continued vision, I am sure that many of you can come up with 5-10 people instantly. Some of these leaders could be political figures, business persons, family members, etc. Ask yourself, why did you choose them? What did each of these leaders leave behind? As for myself, I found that the leaders on my list where memorable because of five main things. They were:


1)      Caring – they care about their role in the organization and take it seriously. They also care about relationships and employee impact on the organization. They want everyone to succeed.

2)     Truthful – they share the truth specifically designed for each individual, no sugar coating! They care about you being the best you can be.

3)     Confident – a leader with a solid self-esteem is not afraid to allow others to succeed. Just because they are in a leadership position, memorable leaders reveal that they do not have all of the answers and that’s OK. They are confident in what they know, what they are constantly learning and are always connecting with various experts found within the organization.

4)     Human – leaders are human and those willing to show and admit their mistakes are easy to trust and follow. People can easily relate to that vulnerability and therefore support the incredible amount of work that is asked of them.

5)     Passionate – even in the most challenging situations, leaders who are strong, supportive and collaborative are unforgettable.


If you have time, (about 20 minutes), check out Itay Talgram’s TEDtalk on Lead Like the Great Conductors which showcases my five memorable leader points beautifully. I believe that leaders see the potential in people, cultivate their strengths, develop individuals AND groups. See how these conductors pull out the ‘essence of potential’ (as I call it) within their orchestras.


In my own areas of growth regarding different components of the vision (definition, communication, continuity, strategy, commitment), I need to take and make more opportunities to link the daily work that I do with the PSD vision. (Yes, I commented last week on this, but it IS important.) However, how and what resources should I be taping into to grow in sharing and committing to this vision? This I need more time to reflect on besides this week. (I hope to share this further on in the year.)


Besides my own reflection, this week I was to also talk to three people that I work closely with and who are familiar with my work. They were to give me some honest feedback about if I left the organization, how would that impact the vision of the team and PSD? One person said that in order for me to leave, it would be prudent to allow for transition planning and time for another person to take my place. They believed that the work that I did as Curriculum Educational Technology Facilitator was very important and supported the work that administrators and teachers do every day. The second person said that PSD would need to find another person with my same passion and expertise of connecting learning with technology. And the third person remarked that they did not want me to leave so they did not want to discuss it! J It made me realize a few things:

  • I am making an impact at various levels and I feel appreciated.
  • I need to continue to equip team members, administrators and teachers with my knowledge and skills so they can continue to support teaching and learning. (I need to share even more with my Learning Services Team members? Do I share enough?)
  • I don’t have a transition plan in place and maybe that is something that could be thought about.


This month of September had me concentrating on being alert and attentive towards VISION. This takes a lot of intentional work on my part and with the people that I work with and connect with. I know where I am going, but inspiring others to join in on the voyage is also important. Actively listening to others and paraphrasing so that I get a clear understanding of where people are at in the VISION process is also very important. ( I need to do this more often!)

What excites you about your vision and the future? What are you hoping for?


Intentional Leader: Trumpeting the Vision

Monthly Theme: VISION

Week 3: Trumpeting the Vision

Unless a vision is communicated clearly and consistently then it gets “lost in translation”. One can see this loss in the funny movie starring Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Giovanni Ribisi where Bill is an actor who doesn’t have an understanding of the language and Scarlett is a young woman with no idea of where and what she wants to do with her life. These two characters highlight the need that with respect to vision, “leaders ought to err on the side of repetition – repeatedly speaking it, celebrating it, and linking it to action” (p.12, Intentional Leader).

As PSD embarks on sharing its new vision with stakeholders and the public, it is important that each of us review this vision. I need to communicate it during my workshops, sessions, Learning Coaches and Key Contact meetings, planning meetings, PD opportunities. I also need to actively listen to participants, colleagues and the public as to what PSD’s vision means to them. Although this vision is shared via an employee newsletter, a journal at the Division PD Day in August, on the PSD website, on YouTube, Twitter and in Face2Face gatherings, what benchmarks should we be using to recognize if this communication of the vision has been effective? Polls, surveys, and/or discussions, possibly.

PSD has 4 key elements that guide the work (and the vision) of the school division:

  • Engage our students
  • Engage our staff
  • Engage our community
  • Stewardship of our resources

I need to keep these elements (and the vision) in mind , when planning my activities with staff and my Learning Services team members. What does this look like in my Curriculum Educational Technology Facilitator world? It also means time to dialogue with people as to what they believe the vision means for their work, celebrating the successes and sharing them with others in the Division. It means articulating that vision and truly owning it…..DAILY. I think I should read the PSD vision every day to myself so it is a reminder of what I am working for and with.  For those of you not familiar with the PSD vision, here it is:

Parkland School Division is a place where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams.

My hope is that this vision allows our stakeholders to find their true selves such as Janet Echelman’s story. Janet is a painter turned sculptor.

I would be curious as to any suggestions of how others utilize and promote their VISION. Comments are always welcome!


My Ultimate Word for 2011

I am a Learning Object - Empowerment through each otherphoto © 2008 Steven Parker | more info (via: Wylio)
In the past few days I have read a number of blogs discussing some type of resolution(s) for this upcoming year. Being one that really has not “set” or wrote up a number of resolutions for January 1st the blogs were all a good read and I enjoyed how some eloquently wrote up their thoughts and action plans for 2011. I do set up action plans throughout the year which keep me going. Once I reach a goal or two, then others are set or renewed…that’s how it’s worked, until I read @azjd’s blog on Courage. It was as if Jeff was speaking directly to me, “you know this is a great way for you to choose ONE WORD to inspire you throughout 2011 – I dare you to do it!”

I reread his post then went over to @gritandglory’s original blog discussing her 2010 path with her ONE WORD resolution because I was intrigued by this post. It was a novel idea to me. In education we attempt to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly) when learning, why not for a resolution too?

Now came my turn to think of ONE WORD for 2011. What was I going to hang my thoughts, reflections and actions onto? ONE WORD, could I really achieve and work with one instead of a few goals? Wow. With a bit of brainstorming and a look at an earlier poster that I had up on my office wall in 2010, I had found my ONE WORD or I think; it had found me. It’s not a new word, but I believe it to be a bold word; one that I can rely on to keep me grounded and engaged for the whole year.

My ONE WORD for 2011 is – EMPOWERMENT!

Fom Wikipedia, Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities. (I really like that statement!)

With empowerment, I plan to:

  • Gain skills and knowledge to overcome  challenges in my life.
  • Access info and resources for decision-making.
  • Consider a variety of options before making decisions.
  • Exercise assertiveness in collective decision-making.
  • Think positively when making a change.
  • Inform and influence others through communication and collaboration.
  • Understand that self-growth is never ending.
  • Increase my positive self-image.
  • Share, share, share with others.
  • Grow my PLN.
  • Challenge my assumptions and re-evaluate my thoughts, values and being.
  • Continue to promote digital, media and information literacy as a means to communicate within society.
  • Engage others to manage their learning, leading and teaching.
  • Experience and actively gather amazing memories.
  • Live life full of risks and learn from my experiences.
  • Be of service to my family, friends and colleagues.

EMPOWERMENT is my ONE WORD for 2011, what is yours?


What Matters Now

This slideshare, which I first shared with a group of administrators in our very own Supporting Leaders in Integrating Technology (SLItech), is hosted by Seth Godin and various contributors. It is chalked full of great slides that administrators and teachers can share, learn from, explore and reflect on throughout this school year. They are all free to share and so good that I copied my original SLItech blog and posted the info here as well. These slides WILL make an impact on your thoughts and actions this year. Some specific slides may even make a deeper connection! Some of my favorites include 5 (Seth Godin); 15 (Michael Hyatt); 19 (Chris Anderson); 20 (Tom Peters);  25 (Dan Pink); 50 (Chip and Dan Heath); 60 (David Weinberger); and 63 (Todd Sattersten).

Seth Godin (5) writes about our opportunity to make a difference where “people will gravitate to you. They want to engage, interact and to get you more involved.” This, in turn, allows a more deep connection. In our schools we really should work towards this, as Seth remarks, “You touch people or projects and change them for the better.”

Michael Hyatt’s (15) vision reminds us that we need to keep this in the forefront of what we do, say and share on regular basis within our school division, our schools and in our communities. Too often, “vision is the first causality” when too many other things are beckoning our time and effort.

Chris Anderson (19) is genius on “atoms.”

“Anybody with an idea and a little bit of of self-taught expertise can set assembly lines in motion in China with nothing more than some keystrokes on their laptop… they are a virtual microfactory…. the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers is now about to be unleashed on the global marketplace.  “Three guys with a laptop” used to describe a web startup, but now it describes a hardware company too.  Peer production, open source, crowdsourcing, DIY and UGC– all these digital phenomena are starting to play out.  Now the revolution gets real.”

This is the global society our students are part of, and we must challenge them, support them – be those three guys with a laptop – and respect that many of them already are, or infinitesimally close to becoming so.

Tom Peters (20) offers 19 E’s of Excellence, and it’s my favorite slide. I think I am going to post this one in my office.

I adore Dan Pink (25).  His piece is on Autonomy, an excerpt from his new book, Drive.  “After a decade of spectacular underachievement, what we need now is less management and more freedom– fewer individual automatons and more autonomous individuals.”

Chip and Dan Heath (50) write on Change.  “Stop agonizing about what’s not working. Instead, ask yourself, “What’s working well, right now, and how can I do more of it?” Classic.

David Weinberger (60) reminds us that that, “if we listen only to those who are like us, we will squander the great opportunity before us: To live together peacefully in a world of unresolved differences.”

Finally, Todd Sattersten (63) writes about one of my favorite movies – The Karate Kid. We must remember to obtain focus, to inquire and to “be present”.

Our challenge in education in the SLItech project is to integrate learning into the digital-age where students, administrators, teachers and communities are active, engaged and motivated to connect to daily.

**Please share and make comments on your favorite slides!


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