The final Leaders Forum program day for 2017 gave participants the opportunity to reflect on the year and ask ‘where to next?’
How will we use our opportunities and experiences from the year and give back to the community? How will we contribute in a meaningful way? How will we find a cause we are passionate about?
With the help of guest facilitator Geoff Sharp, we were able to explore these questions and collaborate towards an outcome. We were introduced before the session to the ‘flipped classroom’ concept. Essentially, it focuses on individual learning through reading, videos etc. before the group meets. The idea is that when the group does meet, because everyone has studied the material, the time together as a group is focused on learning from each other and working together.
The main concept introduced through the pre-reading of material was the idea of ‘collective impact’.This is the idea that a collaborative approach across government, business, the not-for-profit sector and the community is required in order to achieve lasting change when tackling complex social issues. This idea was discussed in great detail throughout the day and formed the basis of our thinking about how we could best help the community. The day also provided the chance to reflect on the experiences we have had this year and how our perspectives on leadership may have changed.
There were some interesting reflections on the year’s most memorable aspects, which were largely centred on people. It was the people we met during the year who remained in our minds and influenced our thinking. There was a lot of talk about authentic leaders – leaders who are honest, genuine and strive to achieve goals that align with their core values.
With that in mind, how could we, as a group, find projects that were aligned with our values and allowed us to strive towards authentic leadership? Over lunch, we met several community leaders and discussed some challenges being faced in Ballarat. Discussions centred on community health and wellbeing, renewable energy, homelessness, food security, promotion of the Ballarat brand, and technological innovation
From these discussions, several Leaders Forum participants expressed interest in getting involved in developing a food bank/hub in Ballarat. This was discussed in detail among the group and, from some members, there was great passion and excitement but, from others, that passion was just not there. From our discussions on collaboration, we wanted to work together as group and capitalise on the bonds we had formed, but how could we do this if not all of us were passionate about the idea?
What we did agree upon was that there was great potential within the group. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have the skills and abilities to influence in different ways. Discussions then turned to the previous 11 years of the Leaders Forum program. The potential to tap the skills, passion and energy in this diverse group of people seemed even more exciting. How could we collaborate with the previous 295 Leaders Forum graduates? How could we channel our energy and skills into the most appropriate areas?
Our challenge now is to come up with a strategy to answer these questions. From our adoption of the idea of collective impact and collaboration, I hope that, as a group, we will be up to the challenge.