Hold Space for Creative Solutions to Emerge: This and Other Lessons from Devin Vodicka

For as much as we enjoy coaching and supporting change leaders, we equally love learning from them. We’re excited to introduce you to several inspiring change leaders in our community and share some of the lessons we’ve learned from them.

A Series Spotlighting Change Leaders and the Lessons They’ve Taught Us

Devin Vodicka, CEO of Altitude Learning

Devin Vodicka is one of the foremost advocates for the shift to a learner-centered education system. His list of accolades and awards (e.g. California Superintendent of the Year) is too long to list, but you\’d never know it if you sat down with him. He is a listener and a learner, and that\’s what comes across to everyone he leads.

One of the most important change leadership lessons we learned from Devin is the importance of creating and holding space for new and creative solutions to emerge. Leaders often feel intense pressure to have the answers, and to make decisions. But this approach often results in settling for suboptimal solutions and making decisions to ease pressure rather than maximize outcomes.

Devin taught us how to shape and lead processes that help people sit with uncertainty long enough for new and better options to surface, leading to better results for everyone. This approach to leadership is consistent with his vision for the education system we need to create: one where we hold space for children to tackle authentic challenges, and believe in them enough to let them struggle and find their way.

Currently Chief Executive Officer at Altitude Learning, Devin has recently articulated his perspective on leadership in a new book, Learner-Centered Leadership: A Blueprint for Transformational Change in Learning Communities. He also frequently publishes new ideas and thoughtful advice on his blog, Learner-Centered Leadership. We’ve seen him practice what he preaches and we believe there are relevant lessons in this approach not just for educators, but all change leaders.