Innovating learning environments: 4 ways to think about sustaining change

We love the photos of cool learning spaces with funky furniture They are captivating, inspiring, but it is impossible to know the full story from a tweeted photo. Recently I’ve had numerous opportunities to talk about the context for change and  several resonating themes are emerging around people and change:

  • That chair/table/tech won’t be the silver bullet
  • It’s just like Maslow’s Hierarchy
  • How does your garden grow?
  • This is just the tip of the iceberg
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Photo credit: Derek Bartels

That chair/table/tech won’t be the silver bullet

When I walk around our school with groups, they take notice of the elements, the physical designs, the furniture and configuration of spaces. One thing that people notice in innovative learning environments (ILEs) is the lack of, or perhaps different thinking around, the teacher’s desk. At NBCS, we have ‘caddies’ in our learning spaces that serve the purpose of storage and provide a stand-up place for student-teacher chat. They have been useful, and have helped to dismantle the barrier and culture that a teacher’s desk creates. They came about through a process of identifying a need, addressing the context and designing a solution. This process is fairly important, as these decisions have greater impact when when there is purpose and intentionality..

It’s just like Maslow’s Hierarchy

The premise of the ILETC research project is: Can altering teacher mind frames unlock the potential of innovative learning environments? I am often curious when teachers say, “Yes, but you don’t know our kids!” This tells me that they think the effectiveness of changing the learning paradigm to be more relevant to the 21st C is dependent on their students’ capacity to embrace change. Rather, it seems to me, that the educators are the variable here. We need to believe that it is up to us, we are the change agents.

My colleague Steve Collis and I put our heads together little while back to (unscientifically) come up with the key concerns we regularly hear around ILEs. These included:slide1

  • Time to plan  
  • Kids off task
  • Acoustics and headaches
  • Back problems   
  • Storage of resources
  • Teaching on display to co-workers    
  • Parent expectations
  • General chaos!

When it’s working well many of us can attest to the benefits of the ILE to student learning: increased levels of students engagement, student and teacher agency, creativity, a sense of adventure. The environment of learning becomes more personal, real and fun.  I have started to think of the change process in terms in the style of Maslow’s Hierarchy, If we address some of these issues like ‘Where do I put my stuff?’ and ‘The noise is giving me a headache’ (both real concerns), it may be possible that teachers can move up the pyramid and reach educational self-actualisation: ‘I’ve never been so professionally creative and empowered’.

How does your garden grow?shutterstock_186549074.jpg

When it comes to the process of change I love the gardening metaphor. We never reach the place of completeness, something always needs to be done and to explain this I like to talk about the garden. Please don’t think this attests to any capacity on my part, no green thumbs here.

When we design and layout a new garden we can stand back and admire our work for about a week before pesky weeds seem to poke through. Then a little later we may need to prune back some branches, from time-to-time a plant needs replacing and there may come a time when we pull out all the plants and start again on that patch. When I gave this illustration to a group this week, one suggested that the lifespan of a garden is about five years. That could be a good way to look how we innovate in schools. Think about what stage some of your key projects are at: Is it time to re-landscape?

This is just the tip of the icebergiceberg.png

When we see the design of an innovative school, or spend a few days there what we see is just the tip of the iceberg. The real work is under the surface. What actually happens to maintain the vision and reinforce the culture? As I think it through I am developing this diagram as a way of thinking about this. We have a vision and core values expressing what we believe about education and learning, we can articulate the ‘mountaintop’ – what might it look like if we get there? To reach that aspiration the hard work needs to happen:slide1

How do we help our people?
Their mindset, feelings, equipping for the change

What are the practical tasks we need to get done?
Roles and responsibilities, protocols around the use of spaces and places, and articulating systems and processes.

 

@anneknock

Does context & culture play a part in the Finnish education story?

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After writing the post on phenomenon-based learning in Finland there was a great discussion, comments on the post and a LinkedIn thread. It really makes ideas come alive when we engage in discussion. So thanks to Seetha, Bernadette, Kristina, Rebecca and Matt.

The emerging themes were:

  • Curriculum review has collective responsibility and ownership
  • 15 minute break before next class
  • Autonomy is built on trust and ownership
  • Prioritising what matters when implementing a new system
  • Going against the grain – starting school later

And a comment for further discussion from Bernadette: I have seen context/culture not being addressed in educational discussions on Finland’s educational system

This is an important point. The photograph (below) accompanying the recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald portrayed Finland as an amish-style community, not really reflecting a modern culture. Was this how they meant to portray the nation today?

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Source: SMH 25 March, 2016


My grandfather was from Finland and I have visited numerous times, professionally and to meet family. So my thoughts on this are based on my own experiences, there is something quite unique about the Finnish society.

Culture: There is a strong moral code and societal expectations that is the glue of society. Many traditions are held as they reflect the uniqueness. Visiting a school in an area with a large immigrant community they explained the responsibility to teach and model the Finnish lifestyle expectations to the new community members.

‘Nordic’ not ‘Scandinavian’: Have you noticed? I haven’t referred to Finland as ‘Scandinavian’. This is a point of contention across the region, as Norway, Denmark and Sweden don’t seem to consider Finland as part of Scandinavia, hence ‘Nordic’ as the collective term.

Finance and the Euro: Within the Nordic regions, Finland was the only country to adopt the Euro as their currency. This has led to much internal dialogue and doubt concerning its ongoing benefits to the people and businesses. My friends tell me that there are economic pressures at the moment.

Language: Finland is a country of only around 5 million people and a language all of their own. Swedish is taught as the official second language. English became the unofficial second language long ago.  My ‘small cousin’ and I are both in our 50s, and have been writing since we were 10. Kaija started learning English in 3rd Grade. 

Climate: It’s cold in winter and dark for long periods of the day between November and March. If you must stay indoors for long periods, you may as well put your head down and get your school work done.

Geography: Earlier this year I attended a briefing at the Finnish National Board of Education. Our host said that many describe Finland as an island because the longest border along Russia is almost impassable (at least from the Finnish side). History shows an ability to stand up to Russia.

Gender: Women are well represented across the society, especially in leadership  roles. Along with their neighbours: all Nordic countries have closed over 80 percent of the gender gap, making them useful as both role models and benchmarks. Huffpost. Finland gave women the vote in 1906, and have long-provided the conditions for women to return to work.

Brain drain and the Nokia-effect: In 2012 students weren’t interested in Nokia phones, they just wanted an iphone. Much has been written about the decline of the former tech giant. This has led to a brain drain. At a recent conversation with some young friends, they said that many of their peers see more opportunities outside Finland, and they are leaving.

This is completely subjective and could apply to many places in the world. But I do believe that these are a unique combination of elements that help make the Finns who they are today. They do need to work hard and make their mark in Europe and beyond, they need to address education to keep the best and the brightest in the country and, unlike Australia, a lot of time is spent indoors. Working hard to maintain their identity appears significant – way of life, traditions and societal codes.

Above all – education matters. It is the key to a better future.

I would love to receive comments, reflections and downright disagreements to help up all find out a little more about what makes Finland tick.

@anneknock


 

10 ideas to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset at school

What the future holds

There are immense opportunities for this generation of students. Demographer Bernard Salt found that the development of new technology also creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs: Connectivity will impact on all types of jobs, even those not strictly in the technology space – but they will make greater use of technology.

According to  Salt a culture of entrepreneurialism is being driven by the rise of new technology and digital disruption. Over the last 10 years in Australia 3.3 million jobs have been created and 300,000 jobs have been lost. (Jobs of the Future: How safe is your occupation? SMH 6 Sept, 2015). The job growth areas:

The care givers

The technocrats

The specialist professions (Including teachers, phew!)

The doers

The creatives

Becoming future-focused at school

Are schools taking advantage of the breadth of career opportunities for young people?

Is there a fixed mindset in the structure and organisation of school as if nothing has changed?

Who is making the choices for technology? The educators, the techies or the persuasive sales-people? 

NBCSThe key is being open and willing to embrace the opportunities of a changing world. Creativity flourishes within the context of constraints. There are conditions that must be maintained, including: academic rigour, standards, student safety and the joy of learning.

So rather than see the world either/or, how do we embrace the both/and to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset? To meet community expectations AND create the context for entrepreneurs to flourish.

10 ideas to encourage entrepreneurs at school – creating the context

  1. Skills – Rethinking the timetable and schedule
  2. Time – Ideas take time to mature.
  3. Creative spark – Knowing and applying the conditions that encourage creativity (and avoiding what kills it)
  4. Drive and determination – There is a necessary stick-to-it-iveness for success as an entrepreneur
  5. People-oriented – Collaboration and empathy are essential
  6. Marketing mindset – Shaping ideas/products/services that people need
  7. Space and environment – Inspiring creative work through considering the physical space
  8. Savvy – Thinking ahead of the curve, anticipating needs and opportunities
  9. Technology – The enabler to for so many opportunities
  10. External expertise – Engaging mentors and specialists to help shape ideas

We are not doing our students any favours by insisting on maintaining a model of learning and method of assessment that reflects past expectations.

The world is open.
Opportunities exist.
Learning will always matter.
Great teachers are essential
But school may need to look a little different.

@anneknock

Community Resilience: Learning from Christchurch

Enroute to Christchurch this morning I picked up a copy of TIME and read this article

Bounce back: Scientists know what some people rebound so well from setbacks. By Mandy Oaklander

The study found that factors like having a tight-knit community, a stable role model and a strong belief in their ability to solve problems helped children success.

Researchers have found that facing the things that scare you relaxes the fear circuitry, making the good first step in building resilience.

Christchurch CathedralOnce at my hotel I took the opportunity in the remaining daylight hours to walk around the city. These words about resilience kept running through my mind. How could this community bounce back after such devastation. Four years later there is both construction underway and destruction still evident. I love my own city of Sydney, and cannot imagine the trauma that the community in Christchurch experienced in 2011.

Having a strong network of social support are critical to resilience – very few highly resilient individuals are strong in and by themselves.

However, despite the evidence of the devastation that occurred, there are shoots of new growth popping up all over the city. Christchurch is calling itself a “Transitional City” with creative and fun pop-up projects.

The ReStart Mall is a great example of this using the ubiquitous shipping container to create a new shopping precinct, with cool shops, food outlets and cafes.

Pop up mall

Food trucks and caravans are scattered around.

Caravan
Quirky over-sized furniture.

Over sized furniture

Urban artworks and refurbished streetscapes.

IMG_5895

I’m here in Christchurch to work with local primary principals. Yet I can already see that there is so much to learn about building community resilience and being able to bounce back as a city. Resilience is an essential life skill. This community will take the devastation that occurred in February 2011 and will emerge with a freshness that could not have occurred otherwise.

Research shows that the way we cope with little stressors strongly predicts how we’ll do once the big stuff hits. (*Richard Davidson, Neuroscientist, University of Wisconsin)

Resilience

@anneknock

Onboarding our new staff – Getting the 3Cs right: culture, conventions and connections #onboardNBCS

OnboardWhat happens when I step onboard a plane?

Well, I’m about to *start an adventure. I’m going someplace with a bunch of other people. *There is a team of helpful people on hand to get me where I need to go and help me along the way. I may (or may not) engage with my fellow passengers. I need to understand the conventions and protocols of being on the plane, for my own safety. I know that there is a captain in charge. Once I am onboard, I am both excited and I am literally an ‘insider’.

(*Indulge me with this metaphor)

We are about to start a new school year. That means there are new staff.

How do you ensure that new staff are ready for the year ahead? How do you get them onboard. The term “Induction” feels like something that is done to you, while onboarding is embarking on an adventure with a crew of people for the duration of the journey.

This article from Inc How to build an onboarding plan for a new hire was written a number of years ago. This term that has been used in business for quite a while. There is immense cost in the loss of staff and recruitment of new staff that can be minimised by a well thought through onboarding program.

It is as much about getting your new teacher or admin staff member ready for their role as it is about ensuring that you attract the right person to fill the role in the first place. There should hopefully be no surprises on either side.

Educators have little choice but to hit the ground running. Many sectors, have the luxury of easing in new staff, providing a week’s worth of induction. Teachers start with their students fairly quickly, they meet parents from the outset and need to be able to employ a suite of skills ranging from teaching the curriculum, managing student behaviour to knowing where the toilets are, whilst simultaneously learning the culture of the new work environment. It’s a big ask.

As a result the precious time that is available for preparing new staff needs to strategically address the propriety areas for Day 1, Week 1 and Term 1 and then implement an ongoing program to support the other learning that needs to happen, the things that are less critical at the start.

At NBCS in 2015 we have embraced the concept of onboarding our new staff. The purpose of the program is to:

  • help new staff to feel like an ‘insider’ as soon as possible
  • become intuitive about the culture and expectations
  • feed and maintain excitement about their new job at their new school
  • feel part of the team

There is much that a new employee needs to know. However, bombarding them with information on the first day isn’t the optimal scenario, just like the business of learning we need to unpack, prioritise and strategise, focusing on the learner. We also need to model culture at every opportunity.

At NBCS we have applied the design thinking process to the day, starting with the driving question for the new staff member: Where do I fit and how do I contribute?

The first stage of the process over two days, is an active learning program with the Senior Leadership Team. There is no other higher priority for the SLT than to serve and build relationship with the newest member of staff. The program will focus on 3Cs:

Culture: Begin to gain an understanding of “the way we do things around here”.

Conventions: Know the important information that will ensure their safety and the safety of the community

Connections: Build relationships with their team and leaders that will set them up for a win.

We will be using #onboardNBCS to share the fun. I’ll keep you posted!

@anneknock

A community of peace: It depends on me #Ichoosepeace

Slide1Hardly a day goes by when we don’t see peace shattered, either on a global level or a local level. Why do we pursue peace? What is the point of upholding peace as a virtue?

At this time of the year the word ‘Peace’ has front of stage. It’s on Christmas cards, street signs and sung in carols. This is because the prophet Isaiah heralded the arrival of Jesus as the ‘Prince of Peace’.

Peace: (n) freedom from disturbance; tranquillity; a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended

During Christmas and the New Year period many of us reflect on the past 12 months and anticipate the year ahead. My thoughts this year are turning to the idea of peace, what it means to be ‘at peace’. 

I have decided that peace can be a mindset amidst chaos, unrest and normal everyday life. When our children were small with screaming toddlers and defiant tantrums, there could be peace in the craziness. At a global level, after the unrest has subsided the ‘peace keepers’ are sent in. They monitor the peace processes and implement peace agreements. As 17thC Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza famously said,  “Peace isn’t the absence of war… it is a state of mind.”

I choose peace.

In the past week, in my city, Sydney, in my nation, Australia and as a global citizen, peace has been shattered by events of unthinkable horror. We grieve, mourn and pay tribute to those who are directly impacted, and for those of us as observers, we find it difficult to reconcile and often maintain peace.

But if we think deeply about this, lasting peace is the result of a decision of many, rather than a decree of one. It does not operate in a context of fear. It does take brave people to make a stand. As a community we can decide to strive for, maintain and keep peace.

Immediately after the #SydneySiege many in our community sought peace. One person’s warped religious worldview was not going to turn a community against the entire Muslim faith and the #illridewithyou movement arose. Many people decided to be peacekeepers when they could have opted for war.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”  Holocaust survivor and philosopher, Viktor Frankl

As much as the micro level, we can be peacekeepers in our communities. It doesn’t mean being a doormat for the ‘sake of peace’. But it may involve taking a stand, in a respectful way, there may even need to be a battle before peace can be achieved. The essence of it is to consider the community as a whole, before my rights as an individual. 

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (from the letter of St Paul to the Roman church in 60AD)

As I enter 2015, this will be my North Star. There is an individual response to peace, that can collectively make a significant difference.

@anneknock

Back in the game: My new rules for social media engagement #itsnotallaboutme

“No leader can afford to lead as they did in the Industrial Age. This is a new era with new rules. All around us, the entire world is flattening, democratising, and socialising.” (HBR)

I’ve been relatively quiet on social media over the last few months. Sometimes it’s good to reassess and rethink what we do and why we do it. We are told, “You need to get onto Twitter”. Why? There needs to be purpose.

  • Am I there just so my followers don’t forget me?
  • What popularity need am I trying to satisfy?
  • Do I think that I will be professionally dead if I don’t engage?
  • Is there a real purpose that is more than increasing my follower count?

I prefer to be purposeful. Make choices that make a difference.

I thought this article on the HBR blog was interesting: 7 attributes of CEO’s who get social media. As education leaders*, we can borrow ideas, be inspired and challenged by business articles. (*I consider anyone a leader who has and wants to influence for good, no matter what role or title they have)

Coine and Babbet identified the top seven traits observed over five years trend-watching and interviewing leaders. I’ve just reimagined them for educators, and non-profits.

1. An Insatiable Curiosity: Social leaders track the emerging trends. They also see what non-educators are saying that can both inspire and challenge thinking.

2. A DIY mindset: This personal curiosity sees the social leader find out for him or herself. Rather than listen through filters seek the raw information.

3. A bias for action: They live by a “ready, fire, aim” mentality and in the Social Age, this has never been more necessary. Engaging in debates and discussions in real time can add so much value.

4. Relentless givers: They constantly share what they know. Seeking to spread knowledge and learnings more broadly. Again, this has nothing to do with building social-media market share, but it is just the right thing to do.

5. Connect instead of promote: Social media self-promotion is a turn-off. It’s more important to build relationships and connection through genuine engagement on social media platforms.

6. My organisation’s #1 brand ambassador:  We are all building our personal brand through social media, but we can do it in such a way that is authentic and generous, which in turn will positively impact our organisation.

7. Lead with an OPEN mindset: “…short for Ordinary People, Extraordinary Network – means that no one person, even the highest-level leader, can have all the answers”. We develop collaborative relationships with people who are willing to help us discover the answers.

Here are some questions that I challenge myself about social media:

  1. Do I retweet (or blog) to highlight a new voice or idea,
    or is it to show how popular I am?
  2. Do I follow people who are not directly related to my field?
  3. Am I generous? Do I connect people and encourage others?
  4. How curious am I?
  5. Do I only follow those points of view that agree with my own?
  6. How has my social media experience grown and changed me (for the better)?
  7. Does my followers’ perception of me directly impact their perception of my school?
  8. How OPEN am I?

I’m back in the game. Hopefully living by my new rules. You’ll let me know otherwise, won’t you.

@anneknock

A very personal reflection on faith in the richness of community: Freedom of – not from – religion

Ref: McCrindle Research

There is a debate in Australia about Christian influence in schools, as recipients of public funds.

Many see faith represented across society as a relic of the past. As a Christian I live my faith in everyday life and I am unable to separate who I am and what I do from what I believe.

 

 

 

Track back 40-50 years and our society was the product of a very different world. Those who led our nation on either side of the political divide were usually supportive of the Judeo-Christian values, and it was often politically prudent to do so.  People went to church because it was the expectation, and if they didn’t go themselves, they sent their kids to Sunday School to get some of that old-time religion, or a good chance for a lie-in.

In the same way, scripture classes, or religious instruction in school was seen as a way to promote and reinforce Christian values. Local ministers, priests and (usually) older ladies would come to school every Friday morning. We would all be distributed according to our particular ‘flavour’ – Catholics and Church of England usually had the most, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational. I went to the Baptist scripture because my parents said so.

Sadly, while I was enjoying a happy family and being part of a faith community, there were many young people abused at the hands of those who claimed to represent the church. I fully appreciate that my experience is not the reality for so many.

However, I am no less enthusiastic about my faith today, and I believe that the Christian message remains as relevant and life-changing as ever. But how I express and share my faith needs to be equally as relevant.

“Express and share”McCrindle Research

Why don’t Christians just keep to themselves?

This is the real issue, isn’t it?

 
It’s interesting, that as a ‘brand’ Jesus Christ rates fairly well, and the church, not so. We read in the Bible that Jesus cared about people, he helped them and he championed the cause of the marginalised. He was active and not passive in helping people. As a Christian, literally ‘Christ follower’, I seek to show the love and compassion of Jesus, to speak for the voiceless and to work for justice.

Many of us today, reflect our faith very simply, love God and love people. We acknowledge that we are on earth for purpose beyond ourselves. The essence of the Christian faith is that Jesus is God’s son, who came to earth to provide a way to God. Jesus demonstrated God’s love and his teachings form the foundations of our society. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided the way for me to have a personal relationship with God.

So… Why don’t Christians just keep to themselves?

Because we follow the teachings of Jesus:

Go into the whole world

Teach others about me

Make disciples

I’m not a theologian, just a lifelong follower of Jesus Christ. I can’t just take the parts of Jesus’ teachings that I like and ignore what doesn’t suit me. On the other hand, I also want to ensure that I am real, that I am relevant to the 21stC and understand the cultural mores of the times. I believe I have a life worth living, and if what I have can help another person, then I am happy to share my faith.

For centuries churches were the heart of the community, the place where families gathered. In many ways this is what schools have become. Parents have the responsibility to guide their children according to the values they hold so the place of faith in schools needs to be something that is discussed. It is a timely and my hope is that faith remains in the dialogue, as this adds to the richness of community.

The basic value is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Faith is a mystery. I don’t have the answers to many of the great problems people face, I’m definitely not perfect, but I have the confidence that my life has hope and purpose, that there is a God in heaven who loves me and I couldn’t live my life any other way.

@anneknock

Change Agents are Leaders: The four transitions toward culture change in your school

Change, culture and leadership are concepts that are inseparable.

Achieving the desired culture for your team or school requires a process of change, and leadership is essential to make this happen. In my last post I encouraged you to consider leading change and taking on the role of  a change agent wherever you are in your school, organisation, or even your family.

What makes you a leader is that there is an idea or a vision for the future that you cannot shake, and you are compelled to do something about it. This idea will make life better for someone and your mantra needs to be “if not me, then who?”

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Transitions are the phases we work through on the way to changing culture. If  we can simplify this process, then change can be more achievable. It doesn’t mean that change is necessarily as quick and as simple as we would like it to be, but a clear process can help to track progress.

As I have thought about this, played around with ideas and read about culture change, I have identified four transitions to change culture. The change process begins inside, and then as it reaches a critical mass of people, culture change occurs.Four transitions

1. Building Knowledge

2. Shifting Mindsets

3. Forming New Habits

4. Changing Culture

How can you grow a culture of collaboration in your school?

1. Building KnowledgeBuilding knowledge

Many people facing change want to know the facts. What does research tell us? Are there case studies we can draw from? What are the pros and cons? Providing the right conditions, the fertile ground of knowledge and information is the first step. This includes preempting questions and concerns and having some answers ready will help facilitate this process.

 

2. Shifting MindsetsShifting midsets

At some point during the Building Knowledge phase, the seed of a changing mindset will start to germinate. This is when we begin to have a change in attitude. There is a lot of pondering and thinking through what the vision will look like in reality.

 

 

 

3. Forming New HabitsForming new habits

As mindsets and attitudes change, the seed has taken root, the plant starts to rise above the surface and changing behaviour is evident. This behaviour shows new habits that are consistent with the vision and the desired culture.

 

 

 

4. Changing CultureChanging Culture

When there is a critical mass of changed behaviour, then the new culture can flourish. It’s not just one plant above the surface, but a landscaped garden begins to emerge.

 

 

 

Organisations everywhere are struggling to keep up with the pace of change – let alone get ahead of it.* This process is both continual and parallel. As leaders we need to accept the complexity and rate of change, because… If not you, then who?

@anneknock

*Accelerate, John P. Kotter, 2014

Charting a course for change: Is your culture the elephant in the room? (and other mixed metaphors)

Peter Drucker once famously said,  “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Culture: the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society

How would you describe your school or organisation’s culture?

Positive, vibrant and exciting?

Demoralised, weary and fearful?

Or somewhere in between?

Leaders are in the process of continuous change, taking people on a journey.  As the leader you may have an inspiring strategic plan, clearly articulated mission and vision statements, and effective systems and processes in place, but unless the culture is assessed and addressed, these grand plans will come to nothing, by “breakfast”.

Your culture is the most powerful factor in change, it determines:

  • speed of change
  • receptivity for change
  • health of your people
  • impact of your vision and mission
  • effectiveness and influence in the long term

What’s floating your boat?

Sydney to HobartOne of my favourite places over summer is Nielsen Park on the harbour in Sydney. It is the vantage point for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in December each year and I find it fascinating to watch the boats jostle for position, maintain speed and agility until the siren starts the race.

What does sailing and culture have in common?

Your boat

There is an interconnection between each of these elements but the hull is what makes it a boat, and in the same way, it’s the culture that makes or breaks any organisation. None is culture-free. Without the hull, the other parts become the accessories.

Is this still a boat?

Dr Samuel Chand* identifies the types of cultures that define an organisation and impact the ability to progress.

How would you describe your culture?

Inspiring: Sleek, fast, regatta-winning boat with prevailing winds

Accepting: Potential to do well in the regatta.

Stagnant: Becalmed and not going anywhere

Discouraging: Not a very well-maintained boat

Toxic: The boat may look really good on the outside, but is not seaworthy and actually dangerous

What do you need to do?

If Drucker’s famous statement is true, then a leader cannot ignore the prevailing culture, despite how exciting and innovative the vision and mission may be.

The place to start is under the waterline – building an environment of trust, respect and authenticity.

@anneknock

*Ref: Dr Samual Chand, Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code: Seven Keys to Unleashing Vision and Inspiration