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The latest insights on narrative, storytelling and leadership in higher education.

Change is in the air

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A braver and bolder look at what we do

Under the lens of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve been reflecting more deeply on whether what we’re here to do stands-up to making the world a better place.”

Like so many others, our thinking recently has been put into sharp focus. As it happened, 2020 was a year in which we were already examining what we do at Invisible Grail. We’ve spent seven months preparing our application to become a B Corporation member: a for-profit, but purpose-led organisation. But under the lens of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve been reflecting more deeply on whether what we’re here to do stands-up to making the world a better place. One where collaboration and sustainable ways of working – where people work together more freely, communicate more easily and depend upon one another more readily – is becoming the hallmark of leadership in higher education.

Our mantra since we launched in 2017 has been for the power of narrative in higher education. The stories that we tell ourselves, our teams, departments, students, colleagues, networks, committees, organisations, wider society – they’re fundamental to how we work, and ultimately what we achieve. We’re limited or set free by them.

But over the past seven months, we came to realise that what we stand for isn’t only about helping people unlock the power of their narrative. Our siren call – our raison d’être – is to help build a better world through higher education. This is our purpose. And leadership and communication, two essential halves of a whole, are our way of helping people connect more deeply with each other, with greater emotional intelligence and with more capacity for understanding and love.

The world is asking for, and needs, leaders who are willing to open their hearts and minds and to lead with humility and humanity.”

Around the world there’s a force of will to move beyond the nuts and bolts that tell us ‘how’ to do leadership, or be a leader. The world is asking for, and needs, leaders who are willing to open their hearts and minds and to lead with humility and humanity. Qualities that ask us to be both vulnerable and curious. To explore the stories that we tell ourselves or others that limit our vision or willingness to try. And to experiment with ways of being that tear down the barriers we’ve been holding up, and unlock greater potential, ideas and energy to create a more equal and inclusive world.

Our role is to stimulate this curiosity, and to give people and their teams the space and support to explore how they can connect and work together better, with a shared purpose at the heart of it all. Finding room to experiment more, and to be braver and bolder in their individual and collective leadership.

It’s our hope that every person we work with, every partnership and every project is part of building a more sustainable and collaborative world in higher education.

What began seven months ago as an exercise in reviewing our processes to be in line with B Corporation membership has become so much more. Looking hard at what we do and what we’re here for has unleashed a new energy. Everything we do, every decision we make, and every partnership is rooted in a belief that the time for merely imagining a better world is over. This time is now. 

Photo by Jake Givens on Unsplash

By Louise Clifton

Louise is the Director of Marketing, Communications and Operations at Invisible Grail. Louise’s passion is to help people bring alive the stories that show the wider world who they are and why what they do matters.

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