2019 Adaptive Leadership Fellowship Colloquium

2019 Adaptive Leadership Fellowship Colloquium


LINDA LAUSELL BRYANT: I want to welcome you to the Adaptive Leadership Colloquium and thank you for coming today. And I just want to… We’ll obviously have a chance to say more, but just give a shout out to
our Adaptive Leadership fellows who are also getting ready
for graduation very soon. So I want to give you…I’m Linda Lausell Bryant. I’m a Clinical Associate
Professor here and, with the rest of my portfolio, I am working together with
my partner Marc Manashil, who I’ll introduce in a minute, to bring more leadership
education to social workers. My, my dream is to see it educated, to see it integrated really fully into social work education and the reason for that is as you know, we are a profession of problem solvers and we are a profession that deals with some of
society’s most difficult, complex, and intractable problems. And so if ever there was a profession that needed innovation, if ever there was a profession that needed leadership to make progress on these difficult issues, it’s ours. And I want to make sure
that as social workers, we’re as equipped and
capacitated as possible to make meaningful
progress on those issues. So a little bit about how
this initiative got started. Before I joined the faculty of NYU Silver, I was the executive director of a child welfare non-profit
named Inwood House. We worked with young women
who were in foster care, were runaway or homeless, or involved in the
juvenile justice system, and who were pregnant or parenting. Right? A real complicated set of circumstances. And as you know in terms of child welfare, it’s some of the most difficult work because there are lots of systemic and bureaucratic hurdles that have to be navigated. And as an executive director, I was struggling with
how to support my team to be able to do their best work. And one of my funders, who is also the funder who
underwrites this initiative, actually did something
that most funders don’t do. She asked what is it that
keeps you up that night? How can I as a funder support the things that you care about, but more importantly, the things that are
really challenging you? And I talked about, this was during the economic crash of 2008 and I talked about how difficult it was to help my team
metabolize how much change, how much rapid change was happening. Like they could, We could barely keep up. We’d adjust to one thing and
then something else was coming. And she helped fund an effort for us to bring adaptive
leadership into our organization. And that’s how I got to meet Marc. Marc was the expert in adaptive leadership who came to our agency, trained me, trained members of my team, and eventually we got to
train the whole staff on this. And I had the experience
of having a whole new lens with which to look at our challenges and with which to open up possibilities so when I came here to NYU Silver, I recognized how my own
training as a social worker came with like absolutely
zilch in leadership. And I also then was
looking at the statistics of how few social workers are assuming the leadership ranks of our human services agencies and that was really of concern to me. Why were we not occupying the leadership ranks
of our own profession? And so together with Marc, we worked to bring adaptive
leadership here to NYU Silver with the hope that we would be able to integrate leadership concepts into the graduate school curriculum. We know that there are plenty
of post-graduate programs including one that we run
right here out of NYU Silver, but not enough in terms
of the actual in school, in class curriculum. So four years ago, we began with the small
grant from our funder pushing in some of the
adaptive leadership concepts into the two practice three
macro-oriented courses. From there, we created the fellowship
program where every spring, we would have an application process for second year MSW
students to become fellows and what they do is they come
and get additional training on the weekends once a month
throughout the spring semester where they’re able to get deeper knowledge on adaptive leadership concepts and then apply it to challenges within their field of practice, within their field placement settings. And so this is the
fourth cohort of fellows that we are graduating. We’re really delighted about that. And now with those four cohorts, what we basically have is a network of adaptive leadership practitioners that we hope will also
influence the field. And we know from our alum that
that is actually happening. Most recently, we were awarded a grant from the New York Community Trust to expand the work that
we’ve been doing here to another social work school and we are in preliminary talks right now with other schools of social work to see who we will partner with to replicate or adapt the work there. So I’d like to turn it
over now to Marc Manashil, my colleague, who will talk to you a little bit more about
adaptive leadership. (audience applauding) MARC MANASHIL: So I’d like to start by going back to one of the first ideas we talked about in our seminars and in our classes, and that is the idea of distinguishing
leadership and authority. In our class, we, we try
to decouple the ideas. And those of you who are not
familiar with this distinction that we’re making between
leadership and authority, we try to separate the idea of authority which is more about your
role, or your position, or your power that you have either formally or informally to provide protection,
direction, and order, and some of the, some of the fellows will
be talking about that today. So that’s, We think about authority and then we distinguish
leadership as an activity. And because we think of
leadership as an activity, then anyone can exercise it regardless of where you sit on the formal authority hierarchy. So we think about
leadership as an activity, but I want to add something to that because I’ve been thinking
over the last 24 hours and the last weeks and
months about this concept. And I think that it is about
leadership as an activity, but I think leadership is also a choice. So we could, you’re all about to go fellow.
I’m speaking to fellows here, but I’m speaking to myself
and to all of you here. You all can occupy positions, and do your jobs, get your paychecks, upgrade within your scope of authority that people grant to you. You may even do well in your careers and ascend up the authority hierarchy and have a good professional life. And nothing wrong with that, right? That, That’s fine. And, and I want to say and rather than or because I don’t think it’s a choice between authority and leadership. I think you can do both. We could have debates about that, but I would say and you
can exercise leadership. You can be a change maker. You can push up against the
boundaries of the authorization that you have been given to make change on something
that you care enough about that you want to change. that you want to make your organization better. You want to improve the
system of which you’re a part. You want to improve your
country and, and the world. But I would say that that’s a choice. One of my mentors, Dean
Williams, put it this way. He said we have these leadership moments that present to us all the time. Right? And actually, I think, Linda, you
were here when he said that. Are we gonna take them or are we not? That’s, that’s our choice. We could either stay in our lane, do what it is that people
are asking us to do, or we can be change makers. We can help transform the systems of which we’re a part to make them better. And our clients, and I would say our communities and the world is counting on us because, if, if we don’t do
it as social workers, like who’s gonna do it? You know? But, but it’s our, it’s our choice, right? So I guess we also have to acknowledge that at the same time, it’s risky. You know? It’s not easy. It’s going to be hard
to exercise leadership if we choose to do that. And then one of the things
that came out in our seminar but I think has been a theme
throughout our fellowship but I think in general is
that it’s gonna take time. Adaptive change takes time and we’re not gonna see the results of that at the end of a semester, You know? a fellowship. We’re not gonna see that
at the end of a year. We may not even see it several years. We may not even see some of the change or the progress that we are a
part of even in our lifetimes, but are we still willing to do it anyway? Is there a greater purpose or calling of which we want to be a part of? And so I hope that this fellowship, and this process, and this
work that we’re doing here will at least in some small
way increase the likelihood that you will choose leadership regardless of how hard it is. And so I want to thank all the fellows for allowing me to be part of that learning process with you. So I’d like to now invite Erik Yazdani. So we have a couple TAs
and Asiya, come on up. audience laughing. Your timing is impeccable. She got caught on the subway. So Erik and Asiya have been working with us very closely. So we consider ourselves
like a full teaching team and they have been involved
in all of the planning, all of the hard work of, of
delivering this program. So I’m grateful to you both
and I want to invite you. Erik, do you want to start since– ERIK YAZDANI: Yes. ERIK YAZDANI: Okay, hi everyone. So I just, I’ll keep my
comments pretty short, but I just want to say two main things. And first, just I’ll tell all the fellows just how much I’ve
enjoyed working with you. It’s been brief, but I really have so much appreciated the way in which you’ve engaged
with some hard questions, and difficult concepts, and just some vulnerable
learning experiences ’cause this work is not always easy. And part of the reason I do it is ’cause of just how much I
learn working with, with you all. There’s different reasons I do it, but that, that’s a very big one. So I just wanted to say that and you all have had a really nice energy and spirit from the first session, so I really appreciated that. And just building on a little bit of what Linda and Marc were talking about. The other thing I wanted to say is and it goes a little bit to
what Marc was talking about with the fact that we have a choice. So I was first exposed
to this model a while ago at the Kennedy School in 2004, and I’ve sort of gone a
little bit back and forth between engaging with it and then doing some
other things in my life and coming back to it. And I was thinking about that in particularly in the context of the fact that we all are graduating, and looking at jobs, and going forward. And the other day, the teaching team was talking about the question of sort of what do we do in our lives? You know? What jobs do we choose? And then the other
question of why we do it. And I think the why we do it
gets to the question of purpose and to Marc’s idea about
the, the choices that we make, that we have purposes in our lives that if we can stay true and really hold on to our sense of purpose and the deep and often
very personal reasons that that purpose exists, then it really can provide
a longer term guide You know, ’cause we can get pretty
lost in career choices, and finding a job,
taking care of ourselves, you know, making an income. There are all these pressures
particularly on social workers ’cause of course, you know, we’re not
the highest paid profession, and that takes, sometimes can put pressures that take our eye off the ball. And so I think it’s really
important to keep in mind the purpose you have inside ’cause it’s a great way to
keep your eye on the ball and what’s really most important to you and that’s not always easy. So just see if you can keep, keep that in mind. But again, it’s been such a pleasure working with all the fellows and being a part of this
more broadly at NYU. So, thanks. (audience applauding) ASIYA VICKERS: Well, I wasn’t expecting
to really say much today, but, no, I, I just, just to piggyback
on what Erik mentioned, I came to this work as a
student and then as a fellow. And then I was kind of
like over the summer, they asked me to come and asked to be a part
of the teaching team, and it’s really been
such a rich experience. I think like when we go into social work, we think about all the major
changes that we want to make but we don’t really have the
tools on how to make them and we don’t really know like what’s a framework
that I can really use when you’re thinking
about systematic changes. And so for me, I saw a lot of parallel
between this framework and what we’ve learned also from a clinical perspective as well. And so I just, I don’t know, I just think that it’s
been a powerful framework back to like meaning, and purpose, and knowing your why, what motivates you. And I think what’s so
attractive about this framework is that it’s consistent with
the values of social work. It’s consistent with social, social justice. It’s consistent with
wanting to like put a premium on enhancing social relationships. Like, there’s so many things that it’s consistent
literally for social workers. So I just want to thank
you for, you know, this experience. I feel like I’ve learned
a lot from you as well. Obviously, this was a first
teaching experience for me and I’m hoping that, you know, we’ll
continue to grow in numbers and this will be like
a really huge network. So, thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: So I want to encourage the fellows, but actually everyone in
the room as you begin your, I think you’re already engaged in job hunting and interviewing. And you get a job description or you hear a job description, I want you to picture putting that job description on one column, but in the other column, I want you to have the invisible
job description, right?, which is really your, your purpose statement and think about in addition
to, you know, seeing so many clients or conducting so many psychosocials, What is it?, what’s the change you’re really
hoping to be able to make? And always keep that purpose description alongside your job description and don’t confuse both of them, right? One is the role you’re authorized to do and the other is the change that you want to be able to make and that’s where your
leadership opportunities are going to come. So now, we want to give the fellows an opportunity to just share with you what they’ve learned, what they’ve culled, what wisdom they’ve, they’ve taken
from this experience. And I want you to know that we don’t know what
they’re going to say, (audience laughs) so this is a risk, right? Every year, we take this risk. It’s like okay, we call the names. We don’t know what they’re going to say, but, but that, that’s part of the process and that’s part of the trust. So, I am gonna ask Heidi
Alonso to come up first. (audience applauding) Heidi Alonso: Hi, good afternoon. Thank you for being here today. So throughout this experience, I definitely took a lot with me more than I probably expected. My placement is with Interborough Developmental
and Counseling Center which is an agency that
offers satellite clinics within high schools and middle schools. And as a whole setting, sometimes you’re kind of siloed and you’re not really
incorporated into the school and ways to make changes. So one of my thoughts was how to increase our usefulness in the schools and how to better ourselves
as social workers. And as one of our duties to social justice and improving conditions, I, I found this model very helpful in changing how
perspectives are looked at. And particularly using the
concept of building allies, I found that to be the most helpful because there truly is power in numbers. And when doing this and moving forward, I realized especially as an intern, it probably wasn’t the easiest thing. So finding allies that are
more aware of this system, more experienced, or have
different perspectives, really helps you create
a more critical analysis when diagnosing the system when thinking of critical
changes that you can make that aren’t just putting a
Band-Aid on the situation. So using this framework, I have really learned to take a, a step back and kind of analyze everything
from a different lens incorporating other people and learning, you know, sometimes it’s okay to not find the finished product and know that even just shaking
up the system a little bit can be some level of progress in that responsibility of social justice. Thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Gabrielle. LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Gabrielle Austein. (audience applauding) GABRIELLE AUSTEIN: Thanks. So I also found this to
be incredibly valuable not just in my placement, but also my work ’cause
I work full time also. And one of the themes was evaluating all the different stakeholders before you can even think about properly putting any kind of solution or intervention on a challenge. And what that means is
even when you’re frustrated that things aren’t moving fast enough and that people aren’t
mobilizing to make that change, that you can sit there and actually acknowledge
that every different faction, every group of people, every single person has different values, different loyalties, and different potential
losses if this change occurs. So realizing and taking the
time to acknowledge that and knowing that we’re all
bright, and shiny, and new, and really excited to make change. We’re encountering people
who are in their careers and not really ready
to make those changes. And the best way to mobilize people is to know what their purpose is also and where their, their values lie, and what their potential losses are so that we can make the change as appealable to them as possible. And I just want to thank Marc, and Linda, and Asiya, and Erik because this was a really
incredible experience and I’m really grateful because
my bachelors is in business so I had a business lens going into this. And it really changed my perspective on how to approach challenges in a way that’s meaningful. So thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Jacqueline Burnett. (audience applauding) JACQUELINE BURNETT: Hi everyone. My name’s Jacqueline. So like everyone has already mentioned, this framework has been
so amazing to learn and I can definitely see
where I’ve applied it throughout the, this past semester
I’m just finishing up. I think that one of the main points that I took away from this was when I was looking at
what an adaptive challenge is versus what a technical challenge is. I came from a non-profit
before I went back and wanted to get my masters
of social work degree. And at that non-profit, whenever something went wrong, we just developed a protocol, right? Like you just added a protocol
and then you followed it. And then at my placement this year, there was a lot of we’re
gonna add a protocol and it’s gonna work for a week and then we’re not gonna do it anymore. So, what, that’s the technical solution is like adding a protocol, but the adaptive solution is
really looking at the culture and the base of what the issue is and then figuring that
out and changing that. So not necessarily adding a protocol, but going to what the core and the root of the issue really is. And I think that can be seen when working with our clients too. A technical solution is
like a law or a policy, but is that really helping? For some of our clients, it’s not. But yeah, just thank you so
much for this opportunity. I’ve learned so much. And that’s it. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Mary Burns. (audience applauding) MARY BURNS: So I actually had the pleasure of taking the exercising leadership class before the fellowship. And honestly, when I first enrolled, I imagined that it was going to be a class where I would sit down
and learn management 101, how to lead a non-profit, how to graduate and figure out, you know, make my way in the macro-world. That is not what that class is about. Really it was so much more than that, giving anybody the skills that they need in order to effect change. I do want to formally thank Marc for stealing everything I
wanted to say before hand. [MARC MANASHIL] You can repeat it. MARY BURNS: Oh, I will. No. (audience laughing) Really, one of the concepts
that drew me to this framework and that keeps me invested in it is distinguishing
authority and leadership. Like I said when I was
walking into that classroom, I thought that I was going to get a script for how to be a good manager, thinking that leadership was about the positions that you held, and that I couldn’t actually effect change unless I got the highest
level of the rung. And, you know, as an intern, that made me feel like I
didn’t have a lot of power. But what this framework taught me is that anybody has the
ability to exercise leadership because leadership isn’t
about your position. It’s about, it’s about taking the steps and performing an action to effect change. And like Marc said, a lot of the time, it’s
messy, it’s dangerous, and it’s risky because that’s
what leadership is about. It’s about making change even when people aren’t ready
for that change to be made. So I think that that stands to do a lot for the social work profession because we are facing a, a challenge as we walk out of this, out of these halls of NYU not knowing what we’re going to face, especially in terms of our
own professional development. So I think that having these skills and realizing that we all
are capable of leadership was really, really important to me. And I’m just really happy that
NYU is becoming a big leader in actually exercising leadership
in social work education ’cause I feel this has been such, something that’s really been absent, it was absent from my first year, that I’m really lucky I had the
opportunity to be a part of. So thank you all so much
for this opportunity and thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Allison Cantos. (audience applauding) ALLISON CANTOS: Hi guys. So I wanted to share what
particularly resonated with me and that was acknowledging the royalties within a larger non-profit that may not be led by social workers and is led by people with a, with a professional history
in law or psychology. And something that was
a little bit difficult for me to understand and for me to digest was how to assert leadership when the authority that’s given to you is very social work specific although you are in a larger organization. And I, I think that when we, working in a larger, a larger
public policy organization as a social worker, it’s important to balance
the loyalty, the loyalty to self versus the loyalty of
admission of the organization. And that was just something that was very difficult for me personally when interpreting the, the
different relationships within the office. So just to kind of wrap up, I just wanted to thank the teaching team
so much for everything and I’m still kind of grappling with or how the relationships within the office affected my learning experience. And I think that it
was in a phenomenal way because I got, was able to learn from so many different
professional fields. And yeah, thank you so much. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Jessica Lewis. (audience applauding) JESSICA LEWIS: Hi. So as Dr. Bryant said, we are problem solvers as social workers, and even more so, I think we’re really caring and compassionate problem solvers. And when I think about
this leadership model, I think about the very
values of social work and I think this model
really speaks to everything that social workers are. I think the first day when we differentiated
authority from leadership, that within itself was so beneficial to me as a reminder as many people have said that anyone can exercise leadership and that it’s about the
person and the passion and not just about the position. And about the willingness to step up and put yourself out there even when you don’t
know the exact outcome. I thought a lot about my internship, but also my job before starting here as a case planner in foster care and the many challenges that we saw all the
time through that work. And thinking back to who I was then and that I didn’t believe
that I had the position or even like the knowledge to step up and exercise leadership. So I think moving forward, this will change the way that I think. And I think that people make a lot of assumptions
about social workers, and by engaging more courageously and by engaging in leadership, we can change the story
being told about us. Thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Chris Longo. (audience applauding) CHRIS LONGO: Hello everyone. My name is Chris. I had the privilege of serving as a United Nations representative for my second year placement, and I mention this
because the entire process was an adaptive leadership challenge. Navigating such a lofty
institution was quite an experience with considering the
prestige of the situation and also the challenges I was
experiencing in the office. I had a supervisor who
wrung his hands quite a bit and was very content letting
problematic continuity occur while also railing against the system and (mumbles) for the exchanges. So a lot of the things that I was learning in this fellowship were reflected in that office. And also right here in the halls of NYU, I don’t want to step too much
on my following presenters who are all presenting right after me who may be talking about similar concepts, but I am part of a student group doing a lot of the work here for navigating social change. And it’s quite a challenge
to navigate such, it’s so many, it’s 50 roughly faculty voters, and navigating the ideas here ’cause they’re an adaptive
challenge as well. So I just wanted to mention
that as a reflection of the fact that everything that we’ve
learned in this fellowship reflects regularly in our daily lives. And I also want to acknowledge that similar to Mary and Marc, Dr. Bryant touched a lot on what I was going to talk
about with our profession not occupying leadership roles despite the fact that we’re
trained, trained to solve these problems and the dichotomies that
we experience there. And again, I just wanted
to thank all four of you for your roles and your time. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Meryl Makielski. (audience applauding) MERYL MAKIELSKI: I wrote this out, but I’m gonna be a little
more less formal, I guess. First of all, I’d like to thank Linda, and
Marc, and Asiya, and Erik, and also the B. Robert
Williamson Jr. Foundation just for creating this hub
of leadership at NYU Silver and also all of my fellow fellows for being part of this with us or with me. Part of the adaptive leadership framework is to understand that
it’s a constant process where we’re evaluating and reevaluating what needs to be addressed and accomplished to make
significant changes. And one of the things
that I really learned and I feel like Marc pressed us on a lot is that we’re going to make mistakes, and it’s gonna be confusing, and we’re not gonna get it right, and it’s only a semester long so we’re not able to do the things that we want to do in just
that short amount of time and see tangible solutions. But I think that’s also reflective of adaptive leadership as a whole. It’s adaptive. It’s not technical. It’s not a checklist. And that’s something that I’ve really been
struggling with a lot is I like tasks and I like to be able to say like, oh, I did this, and I
did this, and I did this, and now I’m done, and now
it’s 5:00 and I can go home, but that’s not what this
semester has been about. So one of the concepts
that I chose to focus on was living in the disequilibrium and that’s largely based on
like the emotions that we have and what we can handle. And so when performing
adaptive leadership, one of the things that
you struggle with a lot is all of the emotions,
and all of the goals, and all of the discomfort of people around you as well as yourself. So unlike technical
solutions like I said before where you’re checking things off, this is more of like an emotional, more of a community change that requires a lot of in depth reflection and a lot of in depth solutions. So what I did for this is kind of reevaluate the
stakeholders as Gabrielle said. I think it was Gabrielle. It’s okay. (audience laughing) But reevaluating the stakeholders and really figuring out what I gain to lose,
I stand to gain and lose and what they stand to gain and lose. And really being at the brink of that and what you can tolerate is how you push momentum through and how you kind of realize
where you can get to. And once you hit that, you’re really like, one of the examples they
give is raising the heat. And I think someone else is talking about that a little bit later, but it’s like when
you’re cooking something, you want to get it hot to
have things go through, but you don’t want it to burn. You want to make sure that
you’re not burning out and so that’s something that I really tried to reflect on a lot. So while we feel eager
to, to commit to change, we also have to measure that loss. So as a student, I stand to lose grades, reputation, money, friendships, a
host of other things, but also gain equity, a new reputation, friendships, educational
and professional growth, and I feel like this fellowship
has really leaned into that and made me realize that it’s the positives and the negatives and how they interact with each other and how we interact as a community. Thanks. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Anna Nathanson. (audience applauding) ANNA NATHANSON: Hey everyone. So I’m gonna start by asking
something of all of you. I want you to think, just reflect on what your purpose is. So if you were to think about what you were put on earth to do, just like a basic question, really simple. What brings you joy and meaning? So I just wanna give everyone
like 15 seconds or so to just, just percolate on
that for a little bit. All right, so I’m sure whatever you thought about will keep, keep moving around in
your brain throughout the day and might require more reflection. But I think it’s important as we talk about sort
of purpose versus task and this idea of our purpose
being something much deeper kind of as Meryl alluded to and as the teaching team alluded to, and thinking about what
that purpose actually is ’cause it can be really
hard to identify that. So thinking about using ourself as data. And that’s something that I thought was really
interesting about this model that it gets really personal and, as Erik said, vulnerable. And thinking about that. For me, I was thinking a lot about the adaptive challenge I chose too, but the ones that I focused on and one was at my field placement which was an interdisciplinary team where it was a hospital setting and so there’s psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses. And so when I was thinking
about my own challenge and how I would frame it, it was also really
important to think about like what assumptions I had
that were underlying that. And some of them come from my
background as a social worker. Some of them come from my upbringing, and from my family, and from my community. Like what do I think it
means to be a social worker? Like what’s the value of, Like, what, what? how does your role defined
by gender and race? Like what is the biopsychosocial model? Like all these things are coming into my
existence in the workplace and my, my idea of conceptualizing
my adaptive challenge. And I think it was really
interesting using this framework to then also think what
assumptions are underlying mine and then also what might my boss’s version be of this adaptive challenge or what might a co-worker’s, or a subordinate, or a client even, or someone who would think that my intervention is a bad idea. Like what are they thinking? What, what assumptions are underlying that? So by using myself as data, I can also think about the assumptions of other stakeholders in the model. And as a clinician in training, I really appreciated that
really personal piece ’cause a lot of the
students in this, in this cohort were really interested in macro-practice and I’m really interested
in micro-practice and working with people. So being able to bring in that perspective and see how seamlessly that could be integrated
into the model too was something that was really
valuable for me coming in. So thinking about my own values, my own loyalties, what I stood to lose as a
stakeholder within the system. So thank you to everyone here, and thank you to the teaching team, and take care. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Krushika Patankar. (audience applauding) KRUSHIKA PATANKAR: How’s everyone feelin’? Everyone’s okay? Good? The room’s not too stuffy? All good? Okay, good. So I often think of this, but when I came to social work school, I thought I wanted to learn three things which was I was gonna
learn how to use big words, I was gonna learn how to shut things down, and I was gonna call everyone out on everything they did wrong. And I was coming from two years of a lot of personal turmoil after my undergraduate degree and I’d had a marketing executive position and I was very young for it and I was pretty much
driven to resign from that because I was forced to
become very acutely aware of my presence as a very young, and attractive, and intelligent woman in a very male-driven tourism industry. And I wish I’d had this
framework back then because I wouldn’t have made the choices that I made in leaving that job. I would have probably left it, yes, but I would have made different
choices in how I did that. And reflecting on the framework that I’ve learned in this fellowship, one of the things that
really stuck out for me was to act politically because I had to confront
with it face-to-face as I worked through the challenge that I was focusing on which was to work with the things that have happened at this school. I don’t like politics personally, but I’m still, like a big fan of embarrassing people or as we would call it character assassination
in adaptive leadership because it feels very instinctual. It, it brings out a volatility that I have that I work very hard to keep dormant and it just feels very satisfying, but acting politically
really stuck with me because I had to take
a hard look at myself and see where my urge to
solve things came from and to also slow down. And it also meant taking
stock of the things that I had in my hands to change things, but also to see a system that was not going to give me enough power to do the things that I wanted to and to analyze how it
was set up against me. It was really weighing
like how much I could hold. And then following that, it was about evaluating
people that were above me that had more power than I did and to see how I could make myself like a space to sit in those rooms and have those conversations with people that would probably not let me in. I had to be sneaky. It was uncomfortable. And politics is uncomfortable. I mean, it always is. It’s about image and you never want your
image to be tarnished. But, it, I think it’s one of
the best strategies we have if we use it well because being political flies in the face of being vulnerable, and it silos people, and it separates people into factions, but it’s also something
that we have to look and analyze so that we
know how to work it. And at the end of it
when you think about it, in politics, everybody
has something to lose so there’s always something to leverage when there’s something to lose. And acting politically has
really helped me analyze what it is that people
are afraid of losing and to understand those
losses very deeply, and find also what it
is that I risk losing and how it relates to those that I don’t meet eye to eye with, and also then cutting a deal or to establish an agreement on what can be achieved mutually ’cause that’s really where
we have to go with things. And if I had to compare adaptive
leadership to a metaphor, I would say it’s, it’s really like a dance. It’s like finding the moments where you find like your dancing
troupe to like breathe together because they’re dancing too fast. You find ways to make the
troupe support each other when they’re performing. And you have to kind of help them see how they move with the tempo but also how they coordinate when there is no music to dance to. And how they breathe through it together. It’s painstaking. It asks for a lot of patience. It asks for a lot of endurance and it also asks for a spirit that can take a beating sometimes. It’s very, very hard work, but it’s always worth it to do it. I’m really grateful and honored that I was considered for this fellowship. I’m very indebted to the
learning I’ve received here. Thank you Marc, Linda,
Erik, Asiya, my comrade. And I’m going to take this
everywhere I go, so thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT- Martha Pereira. (audience applauding) MARTHA PEREIRA: Hello. My name is Martha. So I got interested in macro-work when I saw Dr. Bryant’s
practice class last year. I got interested into like
learning more leadership roles or just being like in the organization. So I was at a hospital
during this last year and I thought to myself like I’m just there to do like clinical work, like nothing like I’m
not gonna do any change, like I’m just gonna go with the flow. And after being in the
adaptive leadership fellowship, I learned that it’s not just that. Like we could do more than
just our regular like jobs or like our titles. Of course, it’s the choice. Not everybody needs to
do it or has to do it but I thought it was really important and having this leadership, this adaptive leadership
helped me navigate through that and it helped me learn different
things that I will take on through everywhere that I go, every job that I seek. And thanks to this fellowship, I am looking into like
more like macro-work. Coming into social work,
it was just more clinical. Just focusing on that, but then I realized that
there’s more change in that. And something that did
resonate with me more was the turning up the heat. So everybody I learned, everybody at my field placement obviously doesn’t have
the same priorities, have the same goals that I do. I wanted to do the same change that I did, but I did have to motivate
everybody differently and try to get everybody on the same page. Like Krush said, it is tiring and it’s time consuming, but I think it is worth it
because at the end of the day, it’s not just for myself, for the agency, but it is for the clients as well. And I just want to thank Marc, Linda, Asiya and Erik for everything. Thank you. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Yiyin Tang. (audience applauding) YIYIN TANG: Hi everyone. I, The concept I want to talk
about is mobilize the system and the first concept will be I chose is get on the balcony. I find that for (mumbles), it’s very important for the adaptive work. First, it’s observe what is going on and to develop more
than one interpretation ’cause you never know what’s
gonna happen with all the stakeholders and to watch for partners and continuously go back to the balcony and to reevaluate the situation. And assert would be to stay diagnostic while taking out actions you are doing. Second is (mumbles) would be rate yourself to see your
strengths and ways of improvement. I, My personal goal in the future would be to go back to China and work with the infrastructure (mumbles) for the senior care industry because it’s something
we lack at the moment and it’s, it’s increasing of
the senior population that I think is critical
to use this framework in the work I want to do in the future. I want to finally thank
you for the teaching team to give me this (mumbles) to practice this leadership course. (audience applauding) LINDA LAUSELL-BRYANT: Richard Wenthen. (audience applauding) RICHARD WENTHEN: Hello all. First, I want to say Krush, your dance metaphor, beautiful. I do talk briefly about dance, but not that way, so great. Hi, I’m Richard. Today I’m gonna be talking about the idea of diagnosing the system through the adaptive leadership framework. This past year, my internship was at AARP New York doing our LGBT community engagement which was something that
not a lot of people knew. Like raise your hand if you
knew AARP had anything LGBT? Right. No one’s ever
heard those two acronyms in the same sentence before. So it’s been an amazing year, especially building up to
the summer of Stonewall 50, and World Pride, and all of that stuff. So applying this framework and specifically diagnosing the system in such a massive organization where there’s so much going
on was really beneficial. So I’m gonna dig a little
bit more into that. It requires multiple aspects of the adaptive leadership framework which people have kind
of already touched on, but namely, I think getting on the balcony and being able to assess
your organization, the overall system, from a third person or
outside point of view. I like to think of it as
if you are a biologist kind of looking at an
organism all on its own. You assess the system’s
inherent strengths, its weaknesses, how it compensates, and what functions produce
its current homeostasis, and how all of that relates to the adaptive challenge
that you are seeking. You must also delve into
what drives each stakeholder which was also touched on, going, gaining an awareness of
what they have to gain and lose through this process. And with this, you can diagnose the adaptive challenge with a more holistic lens
of your organization. The strengths can be capitalized on. The weaknesses may represent where the work needs to be done. Where compensation is happening probably represents shortcomings. And looking at the homeostasis and being aware that
disrupting homeostasis will always be fought
against both in biology and in adaptive leadership. And also being aware that what drives the involved stakeholders will shape the way an adaptive
challenge will be approached and what adaptive solution may be employed or actually function in the organization. So I worked as professional dancer before I came to MSW school and why the diagnosing the system idea, I guess, resonated with me so much is that it’s very similar to the way that we approach our bodies in dance. So, we study kinesiology and we, we talk about what, you know, our alignment is, what we were born with, what our inherent strengths are, and usually conversely, what we are not as good at and what requires a little bit more work. And so having that, you know, and specifically the idea of compensation. We, our bodies take over in so many ways. When we’re not naturally
good at something, your body will find a way to do it, but it might not be the most efficient or the healthiest way to get that done. And so I think that that is
kind of transferable to me and then I think specifically with us here, soon to be MSWs entering the world, we also have a lot of transferable skills from the rest of our education that we’ve kind of gathered here, specifically that we are trained with a diagnostic perceptivity that can be applied across
the macro-micro spectrum both with clients and in
organizations of various sizes. And that can elevate the
adaptive leadership work that we can do in the myriad of vital organizations that we will eventually join.
And so I want to say thank you to the entire teaching
team for this opportunity, and my fellows, and congratulations on graduating. (audience applauding)

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