October 9, 2010

15 Year Leadership Vision

Yesterday Megan and I took a walk through San Francisco's Presidio and had a deep conversation about life, the universe and everything. We reflected on how lucky we are in our ability to pursue adventures at every turn. We have made choices, many that are untraditional, but always deliberate. I am careful never to say I regret a choice, as each has been a learning experience that have allowed me to be at this point in my evolution.

One of my dreams, as Megan reminded me that I articulated exactly two years ago, is to teach full time. Now, 24 months later, I have a full course load of five classes at the Art Institute of California - San Francisco and Sunnyvale. Our Fall quarter started this week and in my Executive Leadership course I have asked my students to articulate their 15-Year Leadership Vision. When I taught this last quarter the students were able to clearly explain their goals. This quarter my students are bewildered by the task. I gave them some direction through examples but I could tell they were stuck. "We'll be 40 in 15 years and we don't even plan for tomorrow."

I get it. I am the same way. What would I have said about my leadership goals 15 years ago? Would I have ever imagined that I would be in San Francisco, teaching full time, surrounding myself with extraordinary people and pursuing continuous learning and adventure? I think I would have said, "working in the arts and being creative."

As part of the class exercise the students chart their current lifestage on the career lifecycle. Some are at Idea or Start-up, perhaps in Ground and Grow, but not yet at Maturity but maybe Turnaround. I would say that I am currently at turnaround, which is when you take the best of what you have to offer, the seeds, and re-plant them to start again. My seeds are being an arts management expert with boundless creativity and passion for helping individuals and teams reach their fullest potential. The turnaround is that I am moving into teaching in the commercial arts as opposed to non-profit. This may seem like a minor nuance but actually it is a huge change. The catalyst for this transition is the Doctoral program I start this month, where I will be working towards an EdD in Organizational Leadership.

Where will I be as a leader in 15 years? Teaching, mentoring, advising, coaching and consulting with individuals, teams, organizations, and governments on how to embrace creativity to reach their fullest potential. That is broad statement but it is a vision inspires me to keep inspires me to keep evolving, every day.