Catalyst, Leadership

Unique is the Point

Too often we get the impression that leadership is a topic or skill set that can be learned in isolation from other things. I know of more than one “leader” with outstanding credentials who are making significant, obvious, and damaging blunders with stunning frequency. As we’re nearing the end of our pilot project of the Catalyst Leadership Program at Abbey Park High School in Oakville, I am more aware than ever that leadership can’t be developed independently from action. There must be a cause, group, or effort you are currently pursuing for their to be meaningful benefit to leadership training. Context is crucial. That belief may be the distinctive of our program. We begin by trying to help the students identify their own dream, the thing in this world that they are uniquely able to address. Often they find that the seeds of their purpose have been in there lives since childhood. Only after identifying that dream can they get the real benefit of the rest of the program where we dig into how we can and must develop our Competence, Character, and Context in order to bring about our desired change. This week I saw some of the students “get it”. Somehow a little light went on and they began to see that there are certain things about them that are truly unique, and that it is in those things that their dream should be found. I loved connecting with a few of them after class to explore what that might mean. When I was in high school one of the classrooms had a poster with a stanza of that famous poem: Two roads diverged in a wood And I took the road less travelled by And that has made all the difference One of my friends thought that was an expression of regret rather than a victory cry. I consider his response tragic.