Leadership as a learning activity
This paper is written for leaders and practitioners who are facing the challenges of leading organisational change in
these volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA)1 times. My proposition is that to lead this change, leaders need to put learning at the centre of their practice and make it part of their core role. To paraphrase Kurt Lewin, there is nothing as practical as a good theory. We stand on the shoulders of giants who have developed the theory and practice for developing organisations that help humans and communities flourish.
The purpose of this paper is to leverage great theories to support leaders to create an environment in their organisations that will enable people to do their best work and truly thrive. The frameworks
I put forward are some of the best
current thinking on how to help people, organisations and communities reach their full potential. While it is a paper focused on practice more than theory, I have cited my sources with the hope that readers will be inspired to go deeper into theory as part of developing their own practice.
Overview & Preview
The author frames this paper for leaders and practitioners who are facing the challenges of leading organisational change in these changing times. He argues that to lead this change, leaders need to put learning at the centre of their practice and make it part of their core role. He draws on the best of current theories and thinking to support leaders in their change management, and believes the frameworks he puts forward will help them, their organisations and communities reach their full potential. He hopes readers will also be inspired to go deeper into theory as part of developing their own practice.
About the author.
Nicholas Conigrave is passionate about working with leaders, individually and collectively, to help build their capability to create organisation environments where people can flourish and do their best work. Over the past 25 years, he has worked with leaders across a range of sectors (education, energy, consumer, banking and public), both locally and globally, to lead organisation transformation to adapt to a rapidly changing context. His passion for working in education began when he co-led the ’Leading Australian Schools‘ program, a collaboration between Hay Group and University of Melbourne sponsored by the Commonwealth Government between 2006 and 2011. He was a founding member of the Global Education Leaders’ Program and continues to work with education system leaders in various settings to put in place the conditions that enable high-quality teaching and learning. He integrates theory and practice to help leaders learn how to lead on the job.
His recent consulting work in education includes: working with the NSW Department of Education to design and implement a high-impact professional learning policy and framework for all school-based staff; supporting the board of the Washington-based National Center on Education and the Economy to recruit and bring on-board the new CEO; and leading the Executive Class Principal Adaptive Leadership program for the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership.
leaders are going to make mistakes if they are to learn their way forward. Organisations that see learning as a key part of adapting and delivering outcomes, see experiments and failure as part of the process.
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