What is your growing edge?
I often ask this question to bring a personal, living focus to the learning process. Some people in hearing this question intuitively know what is being asked. If you are not among them, and are perhaps perplexed by the question, let me explain.
Each of us is in some way working to expand our capacities — its part of being alive! We may be improving task-related skills, cultivating interpersonal or character strengths, gaining ability in a creative medium for personal fulfillment, increasing our health and fitness, or pursuing growth in some other way.
Typically we are driven to grow in several different areas at once, but at any given time one area is getting most of our attention. The question about your growing edge seeks to identify: What is most vibrant or alive for you at this moment? This question is typically asked of an individual, but insightful leaders bring the question to their organizations also.
Once I asked this question of a young teacher who had applied for a job. She initially laughed nervously, unsure about how to impress me — as a potential employer — with her answer. Yet she caught herself in that line of thinking, processed the question a bit more, and suddenly looked directly at me. “That’s a really excellent question,” she said, and went on to talk openly about the challenge of finding a job that not only used her skills but was truly connected with her sense of purpose in life. In identifying her growing edge, our interaction suddenly moved from formal to authentic.
Educational Design Associates is dedicated to that growing edge and that authenticity, both in individuals and in organizations.
Like individuals, each nonprofit agency, school, faith organization, or other group has a growing edge. Occasionally this edge is reflected in a strategic plan that is collaboratively generated and actually used to guide action. More often, the edge is less clearly defined and not widely understood. Appropriately managing their growing edge is how healthy organizations transform themselves and move to new levels of capacity. Failure by directors, trustees, and lead administrators to attend to the growing edge can be limiting or at certain times, catastrophic.
It is worth mentioning that our world is at a time of dramatic change. Increasingly leaders face circumstances that are referred to as VUCA — volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. To be effective in such a chaotic time requires highly effective relationships and rigorous focus on key priorities.
Especially given the mess our world is in, we need to be at our best. Understanding that each individual is a growing, evolving person, and that each organization is a developing web of human and material resources, is a good start. Educational Design Associates serves the growing edge in both individuals and groups.
You will find that transformative change is possible through intentionally crafted needs identification, process facilitation, program development, and trainings. Taking your work to the next level is our specialty and our passion!
— Daniel Kirkpatrick, Lead Designer, Educational Design Associates