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Graduation time!

This weekend marks an interesting chapter — I’ll be graduating on Sunday!

It’s been quite a long time since my last official graduation ceremony — some 30+ years ago.

When I graduated from university at the ripe young age of 20, I certainly seemed to look different — the suit size was a bit smaller, the style with a 3-piece suit a little bit fascinating, and signs are evident in my hand of a particularly nasty bad habit (that I ended up bandoning more than twenty years ago!)

So what’s up? On Sunday afternoon, I will become a proud graduate of the University of Toronto – Directors Education Program. It’s an intense, executive level education program aimed at “helping Directors’ become better directors.” The class includes many individuals who play an active role on corporate, not-for-profit or other governance oriented Board of Directors — or those who aspire to do so.

I’m in the latter category. I was active on a TSX listed board in the earlier part of the decade, but the ongoing demands from building a brand as one of the world’s leading futurists and innovation experts largely diverted the time I could devote to such activities.

But always looking forward, I realized some time ago that over time, I would continue to transition back to that role, providing my future guidance to corporate organizations in many different ways — including as an active, independent corporate director.

There are many thoughts which drove my decision to get involved in the Rotman program, including these:

  • learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century: read my article that summarizes my goals with the course, which appeared in CAMagazine, Learning for a Living
  • future-oriented strategy is more important than ever before. Back in 2007, I wrote a blog post that echoed my long held belief that the role of directors must transition to less “compliance with the issues of the day” and more on active, strategic governance of the direction of the organization
  • global, high level strategic insight matters more than ever before. As I note on a bio page on my goals, “there is no doubt that both corporate and not-for-profit organizations are faced with significant challenges, particularly with the continued impact of globalization, heightened market competition, rapid business model change and the impact of new technologies…. organizations need to continually challenge themselves to keep up with rapid change in the business environment in which they operate. Ongoing transformational change throughout the business landscape will continue to lead to corporate baords playing a more significant role in helping to steer the CEO and the organization through these changes.” I intend to play a BIG role in this in the future.

It’s funny, but while I was writing this blog post, “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey became the next track on my Pandora Quick Mix.

Don’t stop believing — and don’t stop learning!

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