Regulus Address // Issue 3 // November 2019
In a previous Regulus column, I wrote of the St Andrew’s College values and the need for everyone in our community to not only understand them but to live them through their actions. Truth, Excellence, Faith, Creativity and Inclusivity – the first three being the values upon which our College was founded over 100 years ago, and the latter two being values which we believe will enable our school collectively to adapt to this VUCA world – one where volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity demands for us to be agile, responsive, innovative, and alert to constant change. In the words of researcher professor and storyteller, Brené Brown, ‘cultures thrive when there is a shared language and commitment to a set of behaviours which align with the stated values of the organisation’. A courageous culture connects its values to specific behaviours so that people know what is expected, encouraged, and rewarded within their team.
Truth is a value where we seek to understand self and others, behave with moral integrity and character, build trusting relationships, and honour the values (including the DPR Values) of our College. For the last two years, students and staff have explored the VIA Character Strengths, learning our own individual preferences, celebrating these, and recognising that our teams and community are strengthened in
We have discovered, unsurprisingly, that within our College executive team, our top five character strengths collectively cover a wide range.
My personal top five strengths are gratitude, hope, love, social intelligence, and honesty, and I have learnt to understand and appreciate what I bring to the team. By each of us knowing our own and each other’s preferences, we strengthen each other. Anyone who has studied organisational cultures or leadership development recognises that organisations (and schools are no different) are complex, messy spaces and that the challenges of increasing uncertainty in our future call for new types of leadership. I believe that most importantly, leadership needs to begin with self and at the most basic level which involves a commitment to deliver upon expectation; foster respectful relationships with all colleagues, managers, students, and parents; and be open to having honest dialogue and conversation.
Without all of the above, we cannot truly deliver our best service. As we try to understand the current educational landscape and identify the challenges we collectively face, we know it is our critical task to build capacity in our young people to thrive in an uncertain future; one that is challenged in unprecedented ways including climate change, social media, threats to well-being and mental health, changing social norms, and disruptive technologies with unknown effects.
Ours is not a stable future nor a stable environment, and in this instability, the power of collective action to live out our values will be far more powerful than technical solutions. It is in asking the awkward questions that we will uncover the answers to success for our future and sustainability. In exploring our value of ‘Truth’ we must be prepared to be uncomfortable and to have honest conversations in order to navigate a better future.
Through Truth, we will maintain our trust in ourselves, our colleagues, our community, and our organisation. Without trust, relationships invariably deteriorate and there can be no personal or organisational excellence. Perhaps Truth is the most important value of all, so long as we know how to embody it within our personal and collective responsibilities.
I believe at St Andrew’s College we are blessed with our Presbyterian heritage and that every week our students and staff have the opportunity to reflect upon our College values lead by Rev. Paul Morrow. As eloquently explained by Board Chair Bryan Pearson in his column on page four, Paul was ordained by the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa at the end of last term. I too wish to congratulate Paul and thank him for his wise, humble, servant leadership of our spiritual dimension that is so important to life at St Andrew’s.
Best wishes to all for the final weeks of 2019 and a blessed Christmas season.