1. Go for a solo walk and choose a ‘stick’ or any other natural object that we think might hold within it features that we could use to explore who we are and spend time thinking about what the ‘stick’s’ purpose might be.
2. Spend time weekly with the selected object. (E.g., take it for a walk, introduce it to others, invite others to comment on it, etc.).
3. Maintain a journal of your journey with the object. (Talk about how you decided to transform it, take photos of the process of transformation, write a story/poem about the object, etc.).
I went for a walk on the Florida beach where we were meeting, and found an object that a friend advised me was a piece of coral. It immediately came to mind that coral might be a perfect metaphor for something that has long been a frequent object of reflection for me - what I perceive to be my role as the CEO of Wendigo Lake and its adventure therapy residential programs. And so I have chosen to take this piece of coral as the object of my ongoing reflection on my vocation as a senior manager/leader. I envision writing a series of reflections over the course of the next year as I grapple with the question of ‘who am I’ in my role as organizational leader/senior manager.
Here is my first take on the leader as coral:
For me, coral represents the structure within which the life of the coral reef thrives. The coral provides a home and environment within which a thriving ecology develops. Similarly, as leader of the Wendigo Lake therapeutic community, I do not engage in clinical treatment of our students, teach school credits, cook food, form the critical therapeutic relationships, or many of the other crucial elements that go into sustaining our students on their journey to wholeness and maturity. Hopefully, what I do serves to create some of the conditions within which this therapeutic ecology is enabled to grow and thrive. Over the weeks and months ahead, I hope to explore this role and organizational ecology in more depth. I invite you to share your reflections so that together we might deepen our understanding and appreciation of how leaders and managers contribute to sustaining a vibrant therapeutic community.
Written by: Stephen Glass - CEO Wendigo Lake Expeditions