I spent a lot of the last six months doing work that on the surface might sound dry and boring: strategic planning. Collaborating with colleagues and communities to define the college’s vision, mission and values for the next decade. Meeting with (gulp) stakeholders.
But I learned early in my career that work was always made better when I could weave some fun into whatever task I was doing. After all, children learn by playing games and having fun – that’s their main work! Research tells us that play can improve a child’s abilities to plan, organize, get along with others and regulate emotions – and that is something I see every day walking past the campus daycare or when our Early Childhood Education students are in action.
The thoughtful work we have been doing on shaping the college’s strategic direction was definitely made fun by the people involved – sharing ideas, being creative and dreaming big. We even brought actual play into the process in September, when our Board of Governors took a break from strategic planning to build a fairly complex Kodiak bear from Lego, with one member seeing the finished product in another room and guiding the others to build from what they could remember. The process revealed each of our styles and personalities, and at the end, we felt more connected and had a better understanding of our unique skills and how we can best contribute to serve the college.
Lethbridge College’s new mission – we embrace our responsibility to students, employees and partners who look to us for learning, opportunity and belonging – is serious work. We will be drawing heavily on our values of being caring, responsive and dedicated. But we can’t lose sight of joy in what we do – as we prepare learners and shape communities for whatever happens next.