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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #199

The Dialogic Learning Weekly #199
Welcome, everyone! Thanks for joining me for a weekly dose of ideas. This is the 199th issue of this newsletter.
In this edition: we search for personal truth and self-awareness; we explore the eight attributes essential to innovation, and we celebrate a partner school reaching a major milestone.

Truth must be found within
Over the last few months, I have been grappling with the challenge of, “how do we help a colleague (or ourselves) become aware of a gap in their (our) professional performance?”
It perhaps stems from some of my recent reflections about blind spots and those areas of our work that we cannot see. This provoked me to explore the role of self-awareness and what that really means.
The author, Tasha Eurich, synthesised a more accurate definition of self-awareness, seeing it fall into two categories. This has helped me to understand this concept better.
1) internal self-awareness, represents how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others.
2) external self-awareness, means understanding how other people view us, in terms of those same factors listed above. Our research shows that people who know how others see them are more skilled at showing empathy and taking others’ perspectives.
2x2s are all the rage apparently
2x2s are all the rage apparently
Scanning the different categories and the detailed descriptors in the four archetypes, makes me think of identity and feedback. And even a connection back to Stephen Covey’s work on self-trust.
Some questions that might guide us:
  • How do you seek out feedback from trusted peers?
  • How can we use the positive relationships we have to search for blind spots?
  • Is there a way for me to create a habit of regular critique?
  • What will it take to protect the time and space for safe conversations?
  • How do we continue to build trust?
Three findings in particular stood out, and are helping us develop practical guidance for how leaders can learn to see themselves more clearly.
  1. There Are Two Types of Self-Awareness (external and internal)
  2. Experience and Power Hinder Self-Awareness
  3. Introspection Doesn’t Always Improve Self-Awareness
Dig deeper into these ideas in the article below.
What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It)
Eight Essentials of Innovation
As you may have noticed, I invest a good deal of time and energy into thinking about the conditions for innovation and creativity. When we think about the ‘conditions for’ any positive behaviour we desire, it shifts and reframes our actions.
It is harder for me to directly impact the way you think or the way you develop ideas, but I can affect the conditions around you and your ideas.
This framework, and research outcome, from McKinsey, outlines, “a set of eight essential attributes that are present, either in part or in full, at every big company that’s a high performer in product, process, or business-model innovation.”
The eight essential attributes of innovation
The eight essential attributes of innovation
I accept that the context for these attributes is the corporate environment—a fundamentally different context to learning communities. The goals are different; the investment is different; the motivations for success are different; the measurement of progress is different; the urgency for change is different.
Despite those differences, I am still curious about what we might learn from these insights. Our challenge in education is to stay open to lessons from other sectors and to explore how this connects to educational innovation.
The questions that resonate with me are:
Are your people motivated, rewarded, and organised to innovate repeatedly?
The best companies find ways to embed innovation into the fibers of their culture, from the core to the periphery.
Do you regard innovation-led growth as critical, and do you have cascaded targets that reflect this?
Anything less risks encouraging inaction or the belief that innovation is someone else’s job.
Do you invest in a coherent time- and risk-balanced portfolio of initiatives with sufficient resources to win?
“One of the hardest things to figure out is when to kill something,” says Kumsal Bayazit, RELX Group’s chief strategy officer. “It’s a heck of a lot easier if you have a portfolio of ideas.”
The eight essentials of innovation
Congratulations to Casey Fields PS
This year I started a new school partnership with the team at Casey Fields Primary School. We have had quite a roller-coaster. Despite that, the families, students, teachers and leaders have completed some incredible projects.
The school is one of the newest schools in Australia, opening their doors to students for the first time in January this year. Nobody could have imagined what faced us during the last 12 months.
Today we shared a day of reflection on the impact of our partnership. We also began to turn our attention to our plans for the years ahead as we continue our work together.
I want to dedicate some space here to congratulate everyone in the school community, at Casey Fields Primary School, for an amazing inaugural year.
Starting a school is a complex challenge. Doing so, in the year we have had in Melbourne, with poise, determination and a collaborative spirit is an incredible achievement.
Aspire. Unite. Explore
Tom Barrett
I had some time today to explore the new learning spaces at Casey Fields Primary School in Melbourne. I think I found my spot. 😀👍 Looking forward to supporting the teachers in their work this year as they take occupancy and ownership of their environment.
Thanks for joining me this week. Next week is the 200th issue 🎉 and the final newsletter of the year. Any ideas for how I might mark the occasion would be welcome!
Tell me what resonates.
In dialogue we trust
~ Tom Barrett
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett from Dialogic Learning

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