On Friday, January 20th, Cohort 21 landed at MaRS. The day was destined to be different, because this year, our participants had been pushed further to come to MaRS with a more developed sense of their Action Plan.

Ruth speaking about the power of aligning Action Plans with Strategic Plans

Coaches, @brenthurley, @timrollwagen, @rarcher, @jweening, @jsmith, @adamcaplan, @cschindler, @egelleny, and @vcivan were instrumental to the acceleration, as they shared their own experiences with their Action Plans, as well as providing support and feedback for our participants throughout the day.

Our coaches spoke about:

1) The urgency and motivation behind their action plan. Without this level of urgency, one’s plan can more readily be sidetracked or put aside by competing priorities. To this end, we worked to align our own urgency with that of the school’s mission statement and strategic plan.

Diane showing off ‘her team’ that will support her future work!

2) The role of reflection and blogging. By making one’s thinking visible, you are forced to articulate it with clarity – this requires reflection and editing. It also opens you up for feedback from others. The other powerful impact of blogging is the increased level of connectedness: through comments by others in the Cohort, as well asthrough the resources that will start to come your way. To this end, we created an incredible array of ‘Cohort 21 Trading Cards’, that – throughout the day – our participants were encouraged to give and take in order to ‘build their team’ that will support them, hold them accountible, and be a resource for their Action Plan moving forward. (Thanks to @lmcbeth for the cards!)

Derek talking about Building Your Coalition, and “So What, Now What!?”

3) The Challenges that they faced in implementing their action plan. It doesn’t help to be negative and think about defeat before even getting underway with one’s Action Plan; however, plotting a realistic approach, warts and all, will help in preparation. To this end, we developed a protocol that walked our participants through their upcoming school year, and allowed them to plan on building their allies, anticipating set-backs, and developing strategies to proactively over come these setbacks.

With these three key elements from our coaches, we hope that our Cohort 21 participants are ready to go for this term. We hope they feel inspired by their urgency, supported by all the connections they’ve made, and ready to continue to refine the great work that they do with determination.




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