Our Time to Lead: Values and Ryerson’s New Academic Plan

by julia.hanigsberg | June 20th, 2014

I recently was a speaker at Ryerson’s 2nd Annual Conference for its Management and Confidential Staff (#MACatMAC if you want to take a look at some of the twitter feed from the great event). The theme of my remarks was Value Based Leadership drawing on the values identified in the then draft, now approved, Academic Plan: “Our Time to Lead: Academic Plan 2014-2019.” The Academic Plan is the strategic plan for Ryerson for the next five years.

It is particularly exciting that our new Academic Plan articulates a set of Ryerson values. The values fall under three clusters: commitment to excellence; commitment to the whole person; and commitment to community and inclusion.

It follows that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to the MAC group about value-based leadership. I wanted to emphasize that everyone is a leader regardless of job title or role in the organization. If you have a team that reports to you, you’re a leader. If to get your job done you have to leverage other people’s skills and knowledge, you’re a leader. If you are making change in the university you are a leader. You may express your leadership through volunteerism at work or in the broader community.

So if there is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to be a leader why are values important? Values inform the “how” of what you do and the “what.” Values tie your leadership to things that are meaningful. By looking at our Academic Plan values I asked the MAC group to consider how to directly connect their day to day work to the values that are attached to the mission of the university and our priorities over the next five years. The values also allow everyone who works at Ryerson to find their work reflected in the Academic Plan whether they are responsible for institutional planning, developing curriculum, teaching, preparing food, portering the halls, or maintaining the gardens.

How are you taking Ryerson’s values and making them part of what you do every day?

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