I have been asked to speak in the New Year at a leadership course for future Scottish independent school leaders. As you might have realised, I thoroughly enjoy public speaking and like nothing better than being given a soap box from which to communicate. The subject I’ve been asked to speak upon is ‘Agile Leadership’. Now, I’m about as agile as the next person. I can still (almost) touch my toes and can usually balance on one leg while I put my socks on. However, Agile Leadership was a new one to me so I’ve been doing some research. It turns out that ‘Agile Leadership’ is, as my teenage daughters would say, ‘a thing’. Not just that, but it is evident that in today and tomorrow's world, it is a very important ‘thing’. I now understand that we live in a VUCA world:
V = Volatile
U = Uncertain
C = Complex
A = Ambiguous
To be able to cope with this, organisations and their leadership need to become more agile, hence agile leadership. Whilst thinking this through it has also became increasingly apparent to me that if we are living in this kind of world, then so are the young people in our care. It is clear that to enable them to thrive and flourish in their lives, we need to equip them not just with knowledge but, perhaps more importantly, with vision, solid values, understanding, clarity of thinking and a broad range of appropriate skills. This will enable them to adapt to the VUCA world and respond in an agile fashion.
If you’re wondering what we are doing about this, I can tell you that we have just embarked upon a root and branch review of our curriculum. As is often the way, what we offer and what we teach has largely been inherited and has been tweaked and adapted as we have gone along. Things get added but things seldom get removed, consequently our school day seems to have got busier and busier and, just perhaps, this is not a good thing? So, over the coming few months, a group of staff and governors will be working together to review all that we do. This will ensure that it is fit for purpose and will be the best possible preparation to enable our young people to flourish in an increasingly uncertain world. We will be sure to seek the views of parents and senior schools along the way so please do expect a questionnaire in the not too distant future.
John F Gilmour