Stewardship in Change – My Day with Onward Leaders

Stewardship in Change – My Day with Onward Leaders

On March 28th, I led a day-long workshop with Cohort 1 of the Onward Leaders Program. These servant leaders are educators and resident principals, handpicked for their leadership potential as part of an Archdiocesan talent development program. I was invited by the Director, Meg Samaniego, who follows my work in leading change closely.

My discussion with these leaders focused on how to manage change in a fast-paced world full of demands and emerging expectations. While we talked mostly about their experience through the lens as educators and principals, much of what I shared with them came from my business acumen and expertise. The good news is, change is change. Swap out some of the topical descriptors or titles and much of the plot is the same. As I shared with this cohort, “same script, different cast.”

The order of events and mishaps in managing change are nearly predictable. I walked through a few typical scenarios where I see my customers and clients struggle the most. Struggling to extrapolate or capture a clear vision from a leader, ineffective communication across the workforce, out of date process and policies holding back the potential of a technology investment. Mix that all in with five generations in the workplace constantly discovering the organization they work in has outgrown its design and structure penned some 50 plus years ago.

In my earmarking of common issues I see arise, I think they felt reassured that they are not alone in their experience in managing an increasingly complex list of change. As educators, as leaders, and people of faith, they are bombarded with an unprecedented amount of change. I applaud them for their compassion and fortitude in facing change daily.

In spending the day with them, I wanted to them to come away with a few doses of wisdom, gained over my 15+ years of doing this great work:

  1. Self care is critical care – you can’t take care of others in change if you are not caring for yourself in change.
  2. Sharper focus, deeper impact – give yourself permission to take on fewer things, but do them better.
  3. You don’t need to have the answers to everything, but you do need to know how to connect people to find the answer they are seeking

I want to be a steward of change, and to do that I have to bring others along. I have to show people they are already exhibiting the core competencies of what it means to be an expert in managing change. These young leaders manage classrooms, parishes, communities, care centers, and the futures of the next generation. This is bold and humbling work to witness, and to support in a small way. I hope that my day spent with the Onward Leaders translates into teachers, principals, students, and families being a little closer to living their full potential while having faith they can grow and thrive amidst unyielding change in the world.

I look forward to returning in the future.


  • Stephanie Rex April 6, 2017 5:54 pm

    Wonderful read, Bill. Love the three key doses of wisdom. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bill Kirst April 9, 2017 3:48 pm

    Thank you Stephanie! It was a real honor to spend the day with these leaders and hear their takeaways.

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