Leadership is a Verb, Not a Noun

Leadership is a Verb, Not a Noun

October 6, 2015

Introduction from Alana:

Corey Mohn Executive Director Blue Valley CAPS
Corey Mohn, Executive Director Blue Valley CAPS

Today, it’s my privilege to introduce my friend, Corey Mohn, to the CLC Community. I first got to know Corey when he was Director of Statewide Programs for NetWork Kansas, also known as the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship. We quickly bonded over books, iced tea and pizza – yep, liked him from the start! Given his interest in entrepreneurship and education, at that initial meeting, I mentioned that the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies (Blue Valley CAPS) was looking for an executive director. One thing led to another and today, Corey oversees Blue Valley CAPS! He is an open-minded, creative, inclusive connecter who exhibits stellar leadership at every turn. With that as the backdrop, please join me in welcoming Corey Mohn as a guest blogger to CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.

Guest Post by Corey Mohn, Executive Director, Blue Valley CAPS

“Leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere.”
–The Kansas Leadership Center

From an early age we are all taught to respect and emulate great leaders. The fire chief. The business CEO. The president of the United States. To become a leader is an accomplishment in our society, a celebration of someone who has reached a destination. But what if we have it all wrong? What if leading is more about a journey than a destination? What if leadership is a series of actions and not a person, place or thing?

bvLogoHeadLargeAt Blue Valley CAPS, high school students fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit. CAPS is an example of how business, community and public education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs. As the executive director of CAPS, I have the great privilege of working with faculty, staff and high-school students, all of whom exhibit incredible leadership on a daily basis. From an instructor trying new approaches to delivering curriculum in order to make the learning real-time and relevant for students, to a student getting out of their comfort zone to network with a business professional, our team is consistently acting experimentally to meet the common purpose of changing the face of education as we know it.

If we believe leadership is a series of actions, it begins to look more like a journey than a destination. If leadership is a journey, then “leader” becomes a loaded word. Anyone can take experimental actions to meet a purpose. The word “leader” connotes a position of authority. It is exclusive. If you aren’t the leader, your actions are more passive, you wait for direction. The word “leader” is a noun.

The word “leadership” is a verb. It creates movement. It’s active. If leadership is an activity, anyone can lead at any time and from anywhere. CAPS is currently engaged in a strategic partnership with the Kansas Leadership Center to explore and understand more fully the idea that anyone can lead. How powerful a message to share with the future of our communities, that people do not need permission or a title to exhibit leadership and make progress on daunting challenges. Everyone can shape destiny!