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We hold events for our alumni, friends, and the general public for people to connect with the important conversations in leadership.

Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

Session Six Programme Reflection


Forces that Shape our Thinking 

Programme participant Darrin Brinsden shares his experiences and thoughts on Session Six held in Auckland.

I was really looking forward to this session. Who am I kidding? I am always excited about each Leadership NZ session. They are fun, entertaining and most of all challenge my thinking, values and how I feel about a particular topic. This session on “Forces that shape our thinking” was no exception. The most value I get from these sessions though is from the conversations with speakers and my cohort, then the resulting reflections I have when I get back into the every day world. This month I have been offered the privilege of sharing these reflections with a wider audience.

I often wonder about what it is to be truly challenging of the world that shapes us and in this session I was introduced to speakers who each challenge their worlds on a day-to-day basis. I came away from the session enquiring about what I see as right and what I see as wrong, where the beauty of the world lies and what in the human spirit rises above the things and events that strive to influence us.

A nugget that was offered again, and keeps coming back to me, is that to truly understand another person’s world-view I need to walk a few miles in their shoes. I am also more aware of my shadow self/my reflection and aim to add this awareness in my daily practice in a more heart-oriented way.

We were invited by one of our speakers, Philip Patston, to think about the box we put around things rather than just thinking inside or outside of it. This korero had an immediate impact that saw me removing my box around dancing sober, in a white t-shirt, under neon lights later that night. I look back on this experience with mirth and humour and the sense of freedom that comes from removing a hindering preconception.

This session included the opportunity for our cohort to spend a full day with a Design Thinking coach, Dave Wild, courtesy of NZTE. I can’t describe how much value I gained from this opportunity. I sit here today seeing the alignment of what we have been invited to learn throughout our sessions coming together in this approach - the opportunity to be centred while hold opposing ideas, the freedom of inquiry in one or two degrees of separation and movement with purpose are becoming more natural concepts. I am amazed at what came out of our day’s worth of experimentation with leadership in this way and look forward to using some of these techniques to experiment in my world this week.

As our year together continues I grow ever more appreciative of each of our journeys and what we have to offer each other in the form of shared experience, shared conversation and different ways of approaching the world. Being open to this is truly a force that shapes my thinking.