A New Year of Learning, Starting With a Shared Narrative

Posted on Posted in Common Purpose, Shared Goals, Shared Narrative

A New Year of Learning, Starting With a Shared Narrative

As I wrote at the start of last year, I use this time to renew my commitment to my own education and advancement of knowledge in areas that inform my work and my life. In addition to my daily article reading, I’ve been adding a few new and upcoming releases to my list of books to read. In case you’re interested…

I’m also planning to follow the President’s Book Club, initiated at the start of the new year by Dr. DeRionne Pollard and Dr. Pamela Luster. A number of college presidents have already signed on and I’m looking forward to keeping up with what they are reading and discussing throughout the year.

My 2018 education also includes, once again, following the discussions and outcomes of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. Many of the world’s leaders in economics, environment, finance, health and healthcare, entertainment, agriculture, and education will gather later this month in Davos around the theme Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.

There were two statements in the programme overview that caught my attention immediately:

“Socially, citizens yearn for responsive leadership that addresses local and national concerns; yet, a shared identity and collective purpose remain elusive despite living in an age of social networks.”

“The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting therefore aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world.”

I read those sentences again, out loud, pausing at the statements “a shared identity and collective purpose”, and, “developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world.”

In a different context—a more “local” context—I drew a parallel to the focus of my work with higher education leaders, helping them create a shared narrative to improve the state of the institution. Developing and maintaining a platform, a consistent method for communicating a shared identity and collective purpose to their internal constituents, is key to achieving the goal of a shared narrative to improve the state of the institution. I’ll write more about how to develop a strategic narrative and how to implement it across an institution in another blog.

In the meantime, I look forward to following the World Economic Forum’s meeting in a few weeks to learn how global leaders are developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world. That’s a tall order and I’ll be taking a lot of notes.