We created a digital leadership course with one hundred short videos called Becoming Who You Really Are: How to Grow Yourself and Your Organization. (https://michiganross.umich.edu/programs/executive-education/becoming-who-you-really-are-how-grow-yourself-and-your-organization?event=4078)
Participants watch one short video each day and then answer three simple questions designed to promote action, reflection, and growth.
- What principle of leadership do I derive from this video?
- What can I do today to better live this principle?
- What did I learn from trying to live the principle I identified yesterday?
A participant wrote and shared his answers for the previous day. He began with what he learned the day before. “Learning is improving beliefs.” He shared this notion with his wife and she said, “A breakthrough for me as a mom was when I recognized all of the kids’ competencies and realized I didn’t need to be afraid for them. When I’m not afraid for them, I can believe in them.”
This led to an extended discussion about one of their children in college. They explored their orientation to the child and what they believe about nurturing growth and independence. They reexamined their financial strategy in regards to support and her freedom to make choices.
The participant returned to the notion, “Learning is improving beliefs.” He again reflected on his wife’s insight about fear and belief. He then formulated a strategy:
The first thing I’m going to do differently is not focus on my daughter’s negatives, but rather on her incredible positives. The second thing I’m going to do differently is suspend my belief system for a moment, referring to my belief that I know what is best, that I need to be in control, and that I need to save my daughter from potentially making a poor decision about staying in school. The third thing I’m going to do differently is talk with my wife about giving our daughter the equivalent of the tuition money and let her decide how best to spend it. One of my beliefs is that I’m hoping to change is the need to control others. In the list of behavioral changes above, the second one will definitely be most difficult for me, but it may be the most powerful – to change my beliefs. I have decided to do that for the moment and give it a try. Initially, it feels liberating!
He then went on to answer the remaining questions.
WHAT I LEARNED TODAY
I want to grow. I can grow. I choose to grow.
Maybe I am even accountable to grow.
No matter where I am now–awkward, ineffective, or inept–I can become better.
If I “believe and choose,” I can even become a master.
THE ONE THING I WILL DO DIFFERENTLY TODAY
I am realizing that master leaders are master story-tellers. In order to influence others as a leaders better, I want to become a master story-teller.
TODAY I WILL:
1) read something about being a master story-teller
2) talk with someone about being a master story-teller
3) write a story
This person is doing exactly what the course is designed to stimulate: he is identifying principles of moral action that matter to him, committing to better live the principle, taking action, reflecting on his actions, and specifying what he learned. At the end of 100 days, he will be fundamentally different, and he will be masterful in finding and enacting his best self. He will be a leader who can bring the best self out of others.
- What does it mean to become who we really are and what does it have to do with leadership?
- How does this kind of learning differ from convention?
- Over 100 days, what would happen if everyone in your unit was engaged in such a process and shared their observations?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?