By Dorothy I. Mitstifer - © 2002 by Kappa Omicron Nu. All rights reserved. Permission granted to KON chapters and members to use with appropriate credit.
Overview: This leadership program will explore the Campus Change Model for working on issues in the campus community to change the quality of life for students. The model will guide students in framing issues, setting goals, forming task forces, planning, implementing, reflecting, assessing, and celebrating-all for the purpose of engaging in action to make a difference.
Directions: Show video, Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley (loan available from National Kappa Omicron Nu office). [Alternative approach without video: The introduction, summary, and text about leadership can serve as a mini-lecture preceding the experiential activity.]
Introduction to Video: In the video Margaret Wheatley looks at reality revealed by the new sciences such as chaos theory, quantum mechanics and field theory and applies this reality to humans and to our organizations. Further, she challenges each of us to understand change, to embrace the most difficult, to search for new ways of thinking to release our human potential and creativity. The ultimate goal of accepting this challenge and shifting our paradigm toward holism and the primacy of relations is to enhance the quality of our lives as leaders and that of the individuals with whom we live and work.
While you are viewing the video, think about the following central points:
- The role of chaos or order without predictability as an essential process by which natural systems, including organizations and ourselves, renew and revitalize themselves
- The position of information as the primary organizing force in any organization.
- The rich diversity of human relationships as the energizing force for us as individuals and as leaders.
- The role of vision as an invisible field than can enable us to recreate our workplace and our world.
Summary of Video: The video discussed four core principles that guide the practice of leadership.
- Accept chaos - Despite new and chaotic information, there is an unerring ability to find order, to retain an essential identity.
- Share information - Information is the creative energy of the universe-the substance, the invisible workings, of creation.
- Develop relationships - Nothing is known except in relation to persons, ideas, and events. "Reality is created as people and ideas meet and change in relationship to each other" (Andrews, Mitstifer, Rehm, & Vaughn, 1995). "We literally grow, or construct ourselves, through our relationships" (Zohar & Marshall, 1994, p. 326).
- Embrace vision - Clarity about purpose and direction is derived from values and vision.
These principles "describe the inherent order of the universe. They offer a set of lenses for viewing the work of leaders and organizations, profound because they describe a participatory universe" (Andrews, et al.).
Leadership Defined: Terry (1993) defines leadership as a subset of human action, authentic action. It is an engagement with life and lifelong commitment to human fulfillment. Thus, leadership is the action itself, the total engagement offered for the well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants. It is taking "responsibility for ourselves in concert with others, . . . [creating] a global . . . [society] worthy of the best that we human beings have to offer" (p. 275). Other authors agree that leadership is a shared process of meaning-making and action in any group in which you find yourself. Meaning-making refers to the dialogue within a group that develops shared meaning and consensus for direction of action.
Rationale for Leadership: The successful person in the future faces a new environment-with its language of webs of inclusion, possible rather than perfect, involvement rather than obedience, circles rather than pyramid charts. Organizations and worksites will function as communities rather than collection of human resources, and power will be redefined as relational power-the ability to foster relationships. The task will be to forget about jobs and move toward the work that needs doing. The leading businesses and organizations have already begun implementing nonpositional leadership and principle-centered leadership. Business is also concerned with the environment outside the workplace. The leaders in the 21st century will build a healthy community as energetically as they build the business enterprise. A high-performance organization cannot exist if it fails its people in an ailing community.
Experiential Activity - Campus Change Model: This model is a decision-making and planning approach for dealing with quality of life issues. It can be applied to any community-whether family, neighborhood, work setting, organization, or government. The steps include:
- Frame Campus Issues - What are the problems on campus that diminish the quality of life for students? In dyads, frame campus issues-those things that detract from the quality of life on campus. Share issues in the large group. Gain consensus on high priority issues. These issues can be defined as needs.
- Set Goals - If more than one issue was identified, have participants self-select an issue for small group work. Discuss alternatives for responding to the need and improving the quality of life. Use an active verb to complete the sentence We will Clarify the Goals and Restate if Warranted.
- Choose Level of Commitment and Form Task Forces - Participants will choose level of commitment to task forces so that leadership and membership of each task force can be identified.
- Task Force Action Planning - Each task force will restate the goal, identify action steps (What and How) and Who and When for each step,
Task Force Action Plan
Action Steps (What and How)
How will achievement of the plan be evaluated?
- Implementation - Leaders of each task force will monitor action steps, encouraging task force members to be steadfast in accomplishing the goal. Success will require relentless effort, competence, and attention to detail.
- Reflection and Assessment - Evaluation will require reflection and assessment of accomplishments. Ongoing evaluation can help the group make changes as indicated to ensure success.
- Celebration - Success should be celebrated and recognition given for task force participation. Recognition for making an impact on the quality of life on campus will not only make a difference but the leadership experience will enhance personal skills and self-esteem.
Terry (1993, p. 273) describes the gifts of leadership.
Leadership is not a means to another end. It is not instrumental. Leadership is the action itself . . . . Leadership is a gift to be unwrapped and treasured; leadership is choice, to be claimed; leadership is part of a web of interdependent actions, to be made functionally whole; leadership is participation, to be energized; leadership is adventure, to be embraced; leadership is creativity and innovation, to be playful. Leadership is total engagement offered for the well-being of the earth and all it inhabitants.
Andrews, F. E., Mitstifer, D. I., Rehm, M., & Vaughn, G. G. (1975). Leadership: Reflective human action. East Lansing, MI: Kappa Omicron Nu.
Terry, R. W. (1983). Authentic leadership: Courage in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wheatley, M. J. (1993). Leadership and the new science (video). Carlsbad, CA: CRM Films.
Zohar, D., & Marshall, I. (1994). The quantum society: Mind, physics, and a new social vision. New York: William Morrow.
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