Last week was a big week. It was New Zealand’s Leadership Week. On Thursday night it was the “Dinner with a Difference” organised by Leadership New Zealand. http://www.dinnerwithadifference.co.nz/ I was Dinner MC and our theme and approach was all about disrupting thinking, disrupting the status quo and disruptive leadership. My co-host was a Guide Dog Breeding Mum called Eppie!
In my opening framing speech, I shared a story of a school visit to William Morris’ Red House in England. In cahoots with Joyce Bennett the “push the boundaries” new girl in my class we decided to have a shot a disrupting. Being a bit of a goody goody (then not now) I proposed we become extra good and swotty. We walked very slowly around the house admiring everything and asking lots of interested and intelligent questions. The outcome was that we made the whole class an hour late home and even kept the house open. The history teacher Mrs Harris hissed at us saying “I know what you are playing at” , but that was all she could do. We were holding the immunity idol. At that time I realised that there are many ways to cut the cake and some are much more satisfying than the obvious.
During the dinner break at the Dinner with a Difference I was approached by one of the Professors from AUT University Business School (our hosts for the night) who said that he had been a volunteer in Red House years back! Luckily he did not remember that day!
Interesting reminder that the World is seriously small and global travel means we could meet people from the past at any time. I often remind people wearing my lawyer hat never to write anything in an email that will be a problem if it appears in the Herald. Good reminder also never to behave in a way that you cannot justify or laugh about in years to come, even if you move across the World to a place that does not even feature on the CNN weather map.
Interesting thing about that school trip-it is virtually the only one I remember and I remain an admirer of William Morris’ work and his courage to disrupt the Art scene, to this day. Seems disruptive approaches really do resonate in our brains.
The other involvement I had in Leadership Week, was being part of the Dream Team for the Sir Peter Blake Trust http://www.sirpeterblaketrust.org Along with 300 others we went out to schools and talked about the opportunities that could come from Daring Dreaming and Doing. This threw the challenge out to me as to what is my Dream that I am doing and what would I suggest or recommend to 17 and 18 year old girls.
I can report that my thinking was sufficiently disrupted in my prep and I was disruptive in my advice.
On the one hand I said be sure the Dream you are pursuing is your dream and not someone else’s (whether they be parent teacher or anyone else). I meet too many young people saddled with debt from study that was someone else’s aspiration. Then I said do not be put off by people who say that is a dumb dream or that you are not good enough to do whatever it is. Have the courage to carry it through and not miss opportunities from fear or uncertainty. I also said do your homework and research and check out that the job, career or dream is actually what you think it is and then I said wanting to be a lawyer is a bad idea!
We are heading to a crisis with too many parents and young people believing law is still the golden career and a guarantee of riches. I meet too many lawyers earning less than a teacher but no-one speaks out from pride. We need our young people to see the opportunities to change the World that come from technology and science and careers not yet invented.
I realised from all this pondering that I am the fortunate one who practices law (along with other things totally different) as and when I want in the way I want and for clients who get disruptive thinking. I dreamt I dared and I do and I am lucky.
I am off now to see what further disruption I can achieve. Happy Bastille Day and my thoughts are with the people in France affected by the horrible holiday weekend train crash.