2020 Year of Creativity

In January of 2020 we declared the year of creativity - a time of invention, of trying out new ideas, of using our imaginations in service of our purpose. We did so with the recognition that creativity not only keeps our work and our commitment alive, but also brings new possibilities and new energy to our efforts.

Three months later the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns put our declaration, our community, and our ingenuity to the test. The participants of the Fourth Cohort, the School Builders, and the larger Mastery Foundation community came together in ways that produced new relationships, new opportunities for learning, and lasting changes to our curriculum and our shared sense of what we are able to accomplish together.

The Three Day Clinic, an in-person program conducted in participants' home countries, was redesigned as an online, Zoom-based clinic conducted with participants in their Regional Learning Groups. Each regional clinic was divided into morning and afternoon or evening sessions and held over a four-day period. Because of the span of time differences (10 hours from Israel to California), morning sessions were led by local program leaders Maria Garvey and Tony Carlin in Ireland, and Irit Gidron and Jamal Daghash in Israel. The Regional Liaisons for Ireland/Northern Ireland (Gerard Finnegan), Israel (Tsofit Goren), and the US (Bill Cawley) assisted in all of their region's sessions. Renamed the Mid-Year Clinic, this newly re-designed offering met the original objectives of deepening and strengthening the work begun in the previous Five-Day residential program, Foundations of Transformational Leadership. Participants enthusiastically embraced the new format and completed the clinics with new insight into the distinctions and new clarity in their practicums.

By summer, it was clear we would be unable to gather in Ireland in November for the Five-Day residential program that kicks off the third and final year of the School. This required us to redesign several parts of the curriculum in order to provide participants with the ability to learn and practice mastering the distinctions of Transformational Leadership, the focus of the year. We produced a new leadership program and conducted it via Zoom with the entire cohort. This program, named the "Year Three Kick Off", was designed to equip participants with everything they need to successfully complete the curriculum and realize the promises of the School. The changes to the design, while not "changes" for participants experiencing Year Three for the first time, presented new challenges for the Coaching Community whose members have embraced the new opportunities for learning and developing themselves as coaches.

Both participants in the School and School Builders have launched themselves into a year of mastering one of the distinctions of the School. Over the course of the year, they will pursue mastery along three pathways:

  1. Looking: Discovering the distinction for yourself

  2. Practicing: Bringing the distinction into the circumstances of your day-to-day life as a leader

  3. Transferring: Creating the distinction with others

While these pathways lend themselves well to a pandemic year when we may be unable to gather together in workshop rooms, we are optimistic that this design for Year Three is a breakthrough in the School curriculum and will form the basis for Year Three in future cohorts as well.

Participants also gathered as a cohort for two Leadership Dialogues Calls. These two-and-a-half-hour international conference calls bring the Cohort together with a few faculty members to discuss and work more deeply on a specific distinction. For their first Dialogue Call the Cohort inquired into the distinction Listening. The second call was focused on Speech Acts. Their self-study work included two Distinctions in Leadership Audio Offerings the subjects of which were Transformational Leadership and Choice.

The three Community Elements within the School; Coaching, Faculty & Curriculum Support, and Management & Administration continued to innovate, collaborate and grow. Through their efforts we added the distinction Stewardship to our Library of offerings and expanded our leadership team for Dialogue Calls to include leaders from Israel and Northern Ireland. We invented and updated training materials to support zoom-based gatherings, and trained new Zoom meeting supervisors. We updated the training and materials that support the coaching of participants, and we managed the myriad moving parts that help facilitate the operation of the School throughout the year. These volunteers, while devoting their time, energy and care to the School, continue to discover and create opportunities for the expression and development of their own leadership, bringing to life our axiom "Building the School is the School."