The most disappointing realization I’ve had during my time working in leadership education and development is just how fragmented our field can be. It’s never more clear to me than when I come back energized from a conference, program or workshop with my peers, only to see those connections rapidly begin to fray.
The people that I’ve met at these events are simply amazing. Over the years, I’ve learned from colleagues hailing from across the globe. I’ve been challenged and tested in ways I could not have imagined and discovered that individuals with very different points-of-view who work in drastically different situations can discover surprising connecting interests.
Then I return home. The pattern that I’ve experienced is that it is often a struggle to maintain these relationships over time. Even in a digital age, when distances aren’t the barrier they used to be, these connections tend to fray once we all return to our own respective contexts. What was once a robust conversation dissipates rather quickly.
But what if there were ways to keep that conversation going? It’s with that possibility in mind that Katie, Alex and I created Adapticity together. We wanted to develop a new space that might be able to help people connect and explore ideas about leadership education together.
Let’s face it. Those of us working in the field of leadership education and development live in a pretty diverse community. It’s a word of Ph.Ds and private sector consultants. Teachers, coaches and researchers. Theory and practice. Quantitative and qualitative data. And so on.
Many of us see our own corner of this universe very well. But there are few vehicles that are able to connect more than a smattering of these factions. What might be gained if we could see a bigger picture? How might we become more effective by understanding the perspectives of people coming at this work from different places and finding more common understandings together?
Katie, Alex and I have been working to launch this endeavor in fits and starts for nearly a year.
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It’s not the first thing we think of when we get up in the morning, nor is it what we’re thinking about as we go to sleep at night. But we carve out about an hour most weeks to connect, discuss possibilities and make decisions together over Skype. This despite the fact that Alex and I have only met once at a conference and Katie and I have never met in person.
The process has had its ups-and-downs as we’ve tried to figure out what this online journal could be and how to move forward. Some weeks it feels like we’re making amazing strides. Other times, it feels like we’re going nowhere. But through it all, we’ve stuck together to try and figure out exactly where this is leading and how to make it a meaningful place for thought and discussion.
We don’t know whether our effort will ultimately succeed or fail. But through the process, we’ve learned a lot about the challenges and rewards of trying to build a community. We’ve found that a little bit of commitment to conversation can go a long way. At the very least, we’ve created a community of three people with very different views, values and sets of experiences who are willing to exchange and debate ideas about leadership education.
But we think it has the potential to be much, much bigger. We hope you’ll become a part of this community by reading our content, commenting on it and sharing it with others. We hope you’ll submit your own ideas and posts for consideration. We hope you’ll help us define what it means to be part of this corner of the leadership education community.
Almost everyone I’ve ever encountered in leadership education says they crave community. Join us in doing something to help all of us live out that value just a little more fully each and every day.