I adore questions. I love taking my time to construct them and I especially love it when people ask me questions that really make me think, that make my eyes hunt and my brain hurt.
I was on LinkedIn yesterday (I really should get out more) when a colleague’s ‘new job’ popped up. I sent the usual ‘Congratulations on the new job’ message as I wondered when the last time was I had spoken to him.
A couple of minutes later his response came back, updating me on his new role and his interest in ‘developing an ethical network’. I responded, telling him what I was up to and where I saw my future. I briefly explained to him about my Style J Leadershipproject, explaining ‘I’m still working on personal leadership development & am looking to take it to the next level – you might describe it as ‘ethical’ professional development. Have a look at my last two LinkedIn articles and see if it fits with what you’re thinking.’
He instantly came back with a question.
‘Have you considered constructing a national qualification around your leadership work?’
I felt my stomach churn and my heart drop. My gut feelings had kicked in before my brain had even started to construct an answer to this. I let out a long sigh.
I thought about this response – my feelings, and physical reactions were really strong. When I could put it into words how I was feeling, all I could hear myself saying was ‘Accreditation, that is exactly what I don’t want.’ I was emphasising every word individually, like there was a full stop between each one.
It took me a while to figure out exactly why I felt like this. And once I’d worked out my reasoning, I put it down in words to send back to him. This is what I wrote:
‘I want to target those learners who don’t care if they get accreditation or not, who want to learn more about themselves and what they can do. I want to encourage people to think differently about professional development and don’t want the lure of certification to get in the way of courageous motivation. Thanks for the question – this is really helping me to clarify my thoughts.’
And now I know who I don’t want to work with, I know exactly who I am looking to work with – people like me who enjoy spontaneous, unexpected situations which provoke me to feel, notice and wonder, just a little bit more. People like me who feel they don’t require a certificate to hang on the wall, or letters to put after their name, who are capable of self-teaching, and value the process more than the end product. People like me who find their learning just like an old Martini advert – any time, any place, anywhere.
So after yesterday’s revelation, I know more about Style J Leadership, more about me and more about whom I want to work with. I wonder where and when I’ll find them?