Leadership Development: Principal Congress 2009 Resources

The theme of the Principal Congress 2009 was “Sustaining the Momentum: The Leadership Needed to Close the Achievement Gap in Ontario Schools.”
Available upon request are video highlights from the keynote address based on The Opposable Mind:  How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

 Contact: ldb@ontario.ca

#1: First-rate intelligence? – Essential to integrative thinking is the need for optimism which Daniel Goleman defines as "having a strong expectation that things will turn out all right in life despite setbacks and frustrations". Read more about the importance of Ontario leaders choosing optimism in In Conversation: Values-Driven Leadership (PDF, 526 KB).

#2: Clashing models – "If integrative thinking is such a good thing, why don't people use their opposable minds all the time?", asks Roger Martin. The answer to this question lies in part to what Peter Senge terms "mental models". Read more about mental models on the page Peter Senge and the learning organization (infed.org)

#3: The Opposable Mind – Martin believes that all leaders can build their capacity to engage in integrative thinking. In fact he would argue that leadership can – and often must – be learned by those who hope to practice it. (Flash Player, 1:30)
Related resources:
Watch Gary Bloom [Blended Coaching for School and System Leaders (Webcast)] speaking to this point while introducing the Ontario Leadership Framework

The Harvard Experiment: Recognizing and Conquering Adaptive Challenges, an article written by members of the Institute of Education Leadership Steering Committee

#4: Stance, tools and experienceMichael Fullan compares integrative thinkers with ‘six secrets’ thinkers.
Read more: In Conversation #1 – Leading Change (PDF, 872 KB)

#5: What do we teach kids? – The Ontario Curriculum embeds the expectation that all students will acquire the skills needed to succeed in school and in life and to become confident, well-rounded critical thinkers.

#6: Understanding Salience: Four Seasons Hotels – In this instance, “Salience” refers here to the most important features of a problem.
Refer to chapter two of Roger Martin's The Opposable Mind to learn more about how integrative thinkers determine salience.

#7: Solving messy problems – Integrative thinkers embrace “messiness” and complexity. They recognize the need to differentiate between technical problems and adaptive challenges and to what Heifetz and Linsky call “adaptive leadership”
Learn more: Ron Heifetz at the Multiple Perspectives and Collaboration in Strategic Leadership Conference

#8: Three types of logic – The concept of "abductive logic" was introduced by Charles Peirce for the process of using evidence to reach a wider conclusion, as in inference to the best explanation. Peirce described abduction as a creative process, but stressed that the results are subject to rational evaluation. However he anticipated later pessimism about the prospects of confirmation theory, denying that we can assess the results of abduction in terms of probability.

#9: Assertive inquiry – When balancing advocacy and inquiry, we lay out our reasoning and thinking and then encourage others to challenge us; i.e., “Here is my view and here is how I have arrived at it. How does it sound to you? What makes sense to you and what doesn't? Do you see any ways in which I can improve it?”
Read more: The Fifth Discipline, the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter M. Senge (Boston, Massachusetts: Random House, Inc., 2006)

#10: Nurturing originalityIn Conversation #3 was released in Spring 2009. It features an interview with Roger Martin and provides advice on how to nurture originality in every day work and in your personal life.

Further reading:

  • The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking, by Roger Martin (Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press, 2007)
  • Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press, 2009)
  • Leadership Can Be Taught, by Sharon Daloz Park (Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press, 2005)
  • The Six Secrets of Change, What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive, by Michael Fullan (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008)
  • The Fifth Discipline, the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter M. Senge (Boston, Massachusetts: Random House, Inc., 2006)