[This analysis is by Dr. David Sweetman, MOR Associates Leadership Coach and Consultant. David may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
In February, 2020, we sought feedback from the audience of MOR Tuesday Readings. It was a time of transition as Jim Bruce began to lessen the frequency of his Tuesday Reading contributions. True to MOR form, we asked two simple questions: What are the “pluses”, and what are the “deltas”? That is, what are the greatest strengths you’ve seen in Tuesday Readings, and what suggestions do you have for strengthening them into the future? About 80 people responded to that request for feedback. This posting synthesizes the results of that feedback.
One of the most noteworthy dimensions of the feedback was the diversity of ways we find Tuesday Readings valuable. In a general sense, we seem to most like the balance of insightful, thought-provoking, well-researched, diverse, and accessible topics -- with practicality that is personally meaningful. Many of us also appreciate personal stories that emphasize those points and help us experience connection to peers from across the country and find solidarity in knowing “it’s not just me.” While these were all seen as strengths when done well, there is also the recognition that we can continually improve along these dimensions. Further, a limitation is that the readings are largely a one-way path to engage in the community. We have an opportunity to build more two-way interaction on an ongoing basis.
Tuesday Readings are seen as an opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day and focus strategically on our continuous growth as a leader. Further, the readings serve as a reminder to continually build and tone our leadership muscles, sometimes thinking about topics we weren’t thinking of on our own, and find value in considering. While some topics speak more to some of us than others, Tuesday Readings on the whole are often a trigger for habits of self-reflection and challenging us to stretch outside our comfort zones.
For some of us, we tend to prefer topics that reinforce the MOR Leadership Maxims, while others prefer insights that help us stretch into new areas. These two can sometimes be mutually exclusive, but can also occur together when a MOR Maxim is considered in a novel way. Some especially astute readers noted that even those refresher topics can be seen very differently depending on the week, month, or year in our personal leadership journeys. We also do not experience Tuesday Readings alone, and often forward Tuesday Readings that especially resonate to our team, colleagues, or families. Some of us even make a regular practice of discussing them with colleagues.
While there were many “pluses, “ by far the most common “delta” was that the readings sometimes feel too long. However, lived experiences of what this meant varied, with some of us suggesting more succinct readings, others suggesting bolding, titles, links to more detail, or other ways to help navigate the text. Still others of us reflected that the readings themselves are a good length, but that we can sometimes find it hard to devote the time needed to realize the benefit of the reading. Many of us also qualified being more succinct with not sacrificing value of the reading in the process. There's definitely a balance, and depending on the nuance of the topic, some readings need to be longer than others.
The two next most-common suggestions were that no changes are needed (thank you!) and that we could hear from more voices in Tuesday readings. This includes a variety of MOR staff, currently program participants, and alums of prior MOR programs. There is an appreciation for a writing style that evokes curiosity and recognizes diversity. While being “refreshingly unpredictable” in diverse topics was applauded by some, others of us suggested more continuity and common themes between weeks.
There were also a number of suggestions of future topics, including:
- effective team leading without position power
- generous listening - what this means and thoughtful follow-ups
- when to be a follower
- leading up
- destigmatizing parenthood and family responsibilities for both men and women
- ensuring biases are acknowledged and put in check
- the value of data in assessing potential inequality or biased behaviors
- diversity in the representation of people’s contributions to history
- Time management
- Value alignment
- Relationship building
- Managing employees
- explore where leadership ideas can evolve when applied to diverse leaders
- Include videos some weeks
Whew! That’s a lot to digest! For those of you who contributed feedback to us on Tuesday Readings, We’re hopeful you heard your voice in that summary. In many cases, we wove together comments verbatim. That was the feedback, so what are we going to do with it? There are three main ways you should see this feedback incorporated moving forward:
Compelling Content. This includes building on past successes in ensuring readings are on timely topics, have clear practical application, are well-researched, flow from a MOR Maxim or other important dimension of leadership, and help you to continually grow your leadership muscle. We have a wide variety of topics we can pull from.
Flexible Format. Tuesday Readings need to be written in a flexible format that can best meet diverse interests of readership. If you want the highlights of a topic, the reading should enable you to quickly get the core message. If you want details, the reading should provide meaningful nuance, including links to further reading where appropriate. And, if you’re somewhere in-between, the reading should provide the navigation to deep-dive where you’re really interested, and skim where the interest isn’t as deep.
Varied voices. Our leadership journeys benefit from hearing the valuable perspective of many different voices. You can expect to continue to see the voices of many authors in Tuesday Readings (and if you’re ever interested in providing YOUR perspective for a future Tuesday Reading, simply email and let us know). We currently have many participant essays in varied stages of preparation, and plan to share more in the time ahead.
Fundamentally, our goal with Tuesday Readings is to provide you with the opportunity to continue to reflect, grow, stretch, and challenge yourself as a leader. The feedback you’ve provided has helped provide even greater clarity to what that looks like. We thank you again for the gift of your feedback and welcome it at any time on our shared journey.