The Five Freedoms Project

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5 Things You Can Do: Aspiration

1. Define What Greatness Means to You

In Good to Great and the Social Sector, management consultant Jim Collins states, “We need to reject the naïve imposition of the ‘language of business’ on the social sectors, and instead jointly embrace a language of greatness.” Collins describes how the process of defining greatness relates to social sector institutions, including schools.

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance,” he says. “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” And “a great organization is one that delivers superior performance and makes a distinctive impact over a long period of time.”

To read excerpts of Good to Great and the Social Sector, visit www.jimcollins.com.

 

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2. Listen to Each Other’s Dreams

Dreams get stronger when they’re shared. By naming our dreams out loud, we have a chance to test their viability By listening to the dreams of others, we have the opportunity to expand our own future possibilities.

In Constructivist Listening in the Classroom, author Ana Becerra writes: “People tend to be able to think more clearly when they belong to caring, supportive, and respectful communities whose members listen to each other. By listening to and caring about each other we are able to recognize unproductive assumptions and construct new understandings. We call this process Constructivist Listening.”

To order Constructivist Listening in the Classroom, published by the National Coalition for Equity in Education, click here.

 

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3. Hold a Community Visioning Event

Education researcher Andy Hargreaves believes we must all “act urgently for change, and wait patiently for results.” Building shared understanding about the change we are acting for, therefore, only increases the shared ownership necessary for bringing that change about.
To engage your community in a group visioning of its shared future -- in order to imagine what the best-case improvement scenario would look like, and then plan accordingly -- use the National School Reform Faculty’s (NSRF) Future Protocol, a.k.a. Back to the Future. Have groups look for patterns and agreements as starting points for defining the future they are willing to commit to building together.

To download a PDF of the Future Protocol, click here.

 

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4. Develop Ecosystems of Allies

Building a networked ecosystem of allies — the people who share your beliefs and commitments — is a powerful means of building sustainable structures for innovation.
Invite your school’s key allies and organizational alliances to join the Five Freedoms Network, where they can help you seed discussions and explore where agreements — and differences — exist.

You can also read more about ecosystems for innovation in Theory U: Leading from the Future As It Emerges by C. Otto Scharmer. To read excerpts of Theory U, visit www.theoryu.com.

 

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5. Stay Inspired

Did you ever stop to think that the most radical ideas — the ones that challenge institutions — are eventually destined to become institutions that are challenged by newer, more radical ideas?

Maintain your inspiration by staying connected to others who dream of a better world, and share their myriad ideas for getting there.

At ted.org (Technology, Entertainment, Design), visitors can find video highlights of the organization’s annual conference, which brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers and challenges them to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).

Learn more, and stay inspired, by visiting www.ted.org.

 

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