Are you relevant?
If the measure (or one of the measures) of a good job/career is to be relevant – to make a difference – it is a good question to ask oneself. Do you make a difference? What do you do that matters? To whom have you made a difference today? This week? This year?
How would you know? I have often lamented that my work does not have a tangible product attached to it. Unlike a brick layer, I cannot point to my row of bricks at the end of the day and know that I have been productive. Instead though I CAN know that I have not been a part of the great machinery that produces just “another brick in the wall” (to reference Pink Floyd). I can look and see if I have been part of the relationship building team that has made a difference to a student (or staff member) by smiling when it was needed, knowing something personal about my students (or colleagues), empowering someone to take the action they needed to take.
What have you done today to make a difference?
“To change we need to have a clear picture of our current reality as well as the goal we want to achieve.” Jim Knight in Educational Leadership, May 2014.
On Wednesday we met and discussed our current reality in the board: we hashed out what we think we need to do to have effective school improvement plans. Then the five schools were able to share their common ideas and goals and developed the board improvement plan.
This year the plan stays the course and adds the dimension of Intellectual engagement. The schools have chosen to focus on the academic press (rigour) of their planning but have pulled out the key concepts of trust and relationships as part of the way to get there.
The day was invigorating and, as usual, brought us a shared vision for the coming year. Alleluia!
I was at Leadercast on Friday (an all-day session of speakers who talk about the qualities needed to be good leaders and how we can encourage people to step up and be that way) and Malcolm Gladwell was speaking about how the theory of deterrence is not one that holds much weight. People do things that are dangerous or scary or that carry a large penalty even though they know they might be caught. The idea of scaring people into doing things just does not work. So instead he was suggesting that people do things (no9t under duress, but) when they feel that the authority being wielded is legitimate. And one decides this if they feel that the interactions are 1) respectful, 2) fair and 3) trustworthy.
So, I am wondering (and hoping) that you have seen this in action from the people at the CEC. I truly hope it is so, since I know that when I need to speak I will be listened to and respected. I know that what is asked of me is asked of everyone (or of those who should be asked) and that I am treated fairly. I also know that the things I am asked will not arbitrarily change and that the consistency represents the best thinking of those asking the tasks. I really appreciate that this is a process and it is one I have experienced from those I work for and for those who report to me. I see it from all levels of our organization.
So, for all of that – thank you.