Last week the Thinkers.inq Learning Leaders spent time thinking, planning and imagining the type of learning spaces we wanted to create for Thinkers.inq learners. It was a wonderful time building relationships and developing insights into each other’s creative and critical thinking.

There were two ideas though which stood head and shoulders above the rest: the importance of difference and the incredible value of a shared vision.

One of our final tasks, after three days of professional development exploring the mission, values, purpose and educational expectations of this new venture was to investigate our personal and professional thinking regarding the Thinkers.inq vision statement ‘Educére: draw out and lead forth’. The results were both surprising and very encouraging. We discovered that we shared many common ideals, vales and attributes and for a new team this was so important to share with each other and to form strong connections with.

However, the most exciting outcome of this particular collaboration was in the uniqueness of each team member’s thinking. Our differences became strikingly obvious and as a consequence became a central part of our conversation. We acknowledged them and learned to deeply appreciate them. That’s because we could see just how powerful they were going to become for us. We realised these differences were going to enable us to become an extraordinary team of educators. The fundamental principle found here is: great teams must celebrate diversity and allow it to be thoroughly expressed and deeply valued. In fact, it will be the defining difference between outstanding collaboration and general coexistence.

The second aspect we discovered was how we balanced a common team focus such as Thinkers.inq vision and our individuality or diversity. Our thinking on this matter can be summed up by this quote from the acclaimed author Antoine De Saint-Exupéry … “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” In other words, as our entire team remains mindful of the vision and keeps our eyes sharpened on the same purpose, our differences become our strength and our skills, shifting outcomes from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

For us here at Thinkers.inq we are excited that this is how we balance all we do professionally. Getting the balance right keeps great people working on great opportunities for great people.