"It’s all about the bus..."

I’m here, I assume like everyone else, to learn about leadership in schools.  That is what this program is all about, right?  I mean it’s in the name of the program. I'm happy to report that we are learning A LOT about said topic, and from some of the best minds in the business--er field. 

I also came here expecting to meet some good people and maybe even make a couple of new friends. My expectations have been exceeded in this regard, too. What an impressive cohort to be a part of!

So, as we cross the halfway mark of what has been a rewarding personal and professional experience, I offer a few thoughts on the idea of leadership:

We started with a session from the legendary Pat Bassett who spoke of the "5 Cs” and reminded us that that independent schools must take a leadership role in the area of Character development. It IS our key competitive advantage.

Jodi McGary’s comprehensive review of the various personality types—and associated strengths and challenges of each—was illuminating and informative not to mention engaging. We work in a field where chemistry—the interpersonal variety—is key to team functionality and Jodi shed some light on how leadership teams can be more effective in their collective role in a school community.

Phil Peck shared with the group some of his original research related to the important attributes and skills of future school leaders and... well, you get the gist.  It has been non-stop and I don't think any of us have been bored!

Predictably, there has been a common thread to our sessions and that has been the importance of good leadership. For kicks, I went to amazon.com and did a search for "educational leadership”. The result?  24,552 entries. Lots of published opinions on the subject. What I have learned in this program reminds me of one of my favorites books and leadership metaphors.

The one about that bus. It comes from the Jim Collins seminal management book, Good to Great.  As I know it, the logic goes, if you want to move your organizations from merely “good” to “great", an organization needs to first:

  1. Get the RIGHT people on said bus.
  2. Put those people on the RIGHT (i.e. appropriate) seats on the bus.
  3. Press the gas.

The actual text of what Collins wrote is as follows:

"Good to great companies first got the right people on the bus–and the wrong people off the bus–and then figured out where to drive it."

In fact, I like “my” version better and it is largely because of what I have learned from the folks this week.  Getting great people on your team is important—but of equal importance is putting them in a position to success.To maximize his or her strengths. To be his or her best self. Then you have a bus that is firing on all cylinders.

All this to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience. It truly is all about the people in the program, those participating in it, and those who made it happen. For them, I am thankful.  And will close with another Collins gem:

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline."

-Matt