Michael Ford MBA(FS), Scotiabank Change Management Lead, Branch Transformation Implementation, graduated in 2010. In a recent virtual interview with CFAME Connection, Michael Ford joined the discussion on life-long learning.
Choosing to pursue and MBA(FS) was by far the smartest educational and professional choice I have ever made. What I learned and the activity of learning, has shaped the way I adapt and engage.
Integrating life-long learning presented balance and scheduling challenges, however with the amazing support of my spouse and three young children who were then ages 14, 13 and 9, my academic journey was memorable and life-changing. During my MBA studies, I continued coaching my children in sports and remained involved in community activities, which included running a winter ice rink that needed flooding every evening in the winter. I have fond recollections of sitting in my truck, reading about accounting and statistics while waiting for the ice to freeze up for a second flooding. There were many nights of falling asleep on the couch while reading, waking up with a textbook in my lap; even more common, an espresso every night to extend my study time a bit more.
My son, who recently embarked on an MBA asked me how I had found time to study. My answer was simply you just find a way. The same can be applied to thriving and growing within a dynamic work environment. Be adaptable, think and plan ahead, and challenge yourself every day. Ask lots of question and listen well to truly understand. Make friends and connections, not because it looks good on a LinkedIn profile, but because surrounding yourself with great people is rewarding. Collaboration offers invaluable learning opportunities.
I agree with Rick Nason that “Emergence can be either intimidating or inspiring to the manager.” Our role, as current and future leaders, should include a commitment to lifelong learning so we are inspired by it, and we find ways to inspire others. Being able to embrace “weird…unpredictable…uncontrollable” experiences, to find new and creative ways to enhance and adapt businesses for long term success, is a key differentiator for any successful team. I am inspired by Rick’s book, “It’s Not Complicated, The Art and Science of Complexity in Business.” Rick describes “emergence” as a paradigm shift and learning is key to help us embrace it, be enlightened by it, and lead our own development, imagining what it might look like, nudging it along the way.
So, what comes next? Convincing senior leaders to envision and create an environment where it’s safe to abandon frameworks. Imagining how emergence will create transformative outcomes will set in motion a self-perpetuating cycle of unpredictable success. Sounds like a great deal of complexity…it’s not complicated…and that’s exciting.
I could not have imagined, as a graduate of the class of 2010, how differently I would feel and act as a result of the remarkable professors and students I had a chance to meet during my MBA journey. Even now, the connections, social interactions and experiences of those years continue to influence me, personally and professionally.
My next challenge may be another master’s degree in education. I had the privilege of teaching a course at Seneca College in the School of Accounting and Financial Services and absolutely loved the opportunity.
The future is bright; I cannot wait to experience what’s next as I continue to embrace the emergence.