the blog of dan pontefract | Walking the Talk of Being an Open Leader With My Children
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Walking the Talk of Being an Open Leader With My Children

For a so-called knowledge worker like me, it doesn’t really matter what city I call home. If I’m employed by an organization helping to lead various change ideas and opportunities related to leadership, technology and learning, I should be a role model to others in the company as well as my children, my network, etc.

If I’m hypothetically working as a consultant, writer, coach, speaker, etc. it also shouldn’t matter what city I call home.

If I’m ever going to actually tackle that Open PhD, then it also shouldn’t matter where I live.

And “zat book” is coming along nicely, but laptops are not cemented to the walls of a house.

I currently reside in Vancouver. In a few short months, I and the family will be moving to Victoria. Same Canadian province, but some 65 kilometers southwest, located on an island, and accessible by seaplane, helicopter or a car ferry service. I suppose you could swim there, but I digress. The Greater Vancouver region inhabits 2.1 million residents whereas the Greater Victoria region has roughly 350,000 people calling it home.

I’m moving to Victoria for one life-changing reason. My better half has accepted a Director of Academics role at a local preparatory school.

What does this have to do with ‘open leadership’?

I encouraged my better half to apply for the role. In fact, I pointed the posting out to her. I love Vancouver (and it has no shortage of ‘best places to live’ awards to rhyme off) but if I wasn’t an open leader, someone believing that leadership can in fact happen from any city, I wouldn’t have encouraged her to apply. Open leadership is aided by the behaviour of being transparent and what I call “trans-present”, the philosophy of leading from anywhere as well as the technologies (like micro-blogging, blogging, wiki’s, video conferencing, etc.) that support it.

If I can do it in Vancouver, surely I can do it from Victoria.

Secondly, I find there are not enough examples out there demonstrating to our three wee children that “mom’s” can relocate for career growth too. We know of many stories where it’s the “dad” who has the career progression opportunity, which in turn creates a relocation play for the family. With two girls and a boy under our roof, I believe it was important to showcase to them that “mom” is equal to “dad” when it comes to career growth. It may not help their thinking now, but downstream, I hope it’s a powerful lesson.

Thirdly, life is for living. (or, as Canadian songwriter Gord Downie once wrote, “life is for getting … not forgetting”) The two of us have enjoyed the freedom of living in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Paris and London. Before we venture back to Europe for another stint with the children, (prior to their high school years) why not try another city out on for size? As a parent, bringing your children up with an ‘open leadership’ framework also should come with the adage that ‘change is good’.

For those face-to-face meetings, tea chats, networking opportunities, etc. in Vancouver itself, it’s really not that far. Discipline and rigid time management are areas I will continue to hone. 

We’ll more than likely relocate back to Vancouver at some point in the future. It truly is a remarkable city. But for now, the next adventure waits for us in the capital city of British Columbia.

Looking forward to it.

3Comments

  • Brian Reid / 21 March 2011 12:06

    Please offer our congrats to your good lady! And, please accept our congrats for this whole approach to living your lives rather than just letting life live you. Not only is this a good thing for the kids to learn and experience, it builds great memories for you all. We never regret what we did not do, we just regret the things we wished we did but didn’t do.

  • Mike Desjardins / 21 March 2011 4:15

    Congratulations to Denise and very cool that you are supporting her as a family to make the move across the Sound! And your approach is very inspiring as multi-location living is part of our vision board as a couple.

  • Tonya Reesor / 3 April 2011 4:40

    Totally inspiring! Congrats to you both…what an incredible learning experience for your kids. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures…all the best:)

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