In response to the post, “A Reader Asks… Why You,” a reader writes:
“Lead Your School is definitely common sense. But if it is merely common sense, then why isn’t everyone doing it? This is the knowing – doing gap so often found in education. When my own team members ask me about this, I respond with an analogy. A “leader” can stand before a mass of people and say:
“People, tomorrow we are going to San Diego. When we get there it is going to be great. The weather is great. The climate is good for us. We will all be better off in San Diego. We will all have better jobs in San Diego. San Diego is the BOMB!”
The crowd cheers and is ready to travel to San Diego the next morning. The next morning things don’t go so well. The group travels for several hours and someone in the group notices they are headed east. Someone else becomes hungry and asks where the group will stop for lunch, but the leader responds with no “common sense” answer. Yet another wonders where they will sleep that night, and again, they receive a no “common sense” answer. When these people approach the leader they hear: “San Diego is the BOMB, let’s go!”
It soon becomes apparent the “leader” knows where he wants to go, but has no plan or clue of what it will take to actually get to San Diego. Once the people on the journey realize this, hang on.
School leadership is much the same. Every administrator knows the destination, and most can articulate what the school should look like. Very few know how to get there. This is where Lead Your School comes in: they provide coaching and a road map. When I started as a school leader I knew where I wanted to go, but as it turned out I had no solid, proven way of improving my school. SC, E. Don Brown, Brezina, and others changed that. I listened, learned, and had my teachers work with Lead Your School team members and as a result I led two Academically Unacceptable high schools to Recognized in less than two years.
As Voltaire stated, “Common sense is not so common.”
I was talking to a principal recently about the same post. Her point was that doing things effectively is all about common sense, so why doesn’t it happen more. I think I have a partial answer and another reason why LYS is useful to schools and educators.
Consider a football game. The head coach is on the sidelines making decisions on the fly. Acting and re-acting based on incomplete information, experience, observation and intuition. His attention broadens and narrows play by play. He is leading and working in the moment. Assistant coaches are doing the same, but at a more limited or task specific scale. Players are doing the same with the added distraction of the other team purposely trying to foil them.
A school is similar, with the Principal, support staff and teachers filling the roles of head coach, assistant coach and player. Student learning is the opposition and accountability is the scoreboard. A big advantage that the football team has is after the game, they have the opportunity to study game film, an objective review of the big picture and what really occurred. The game film strips feelings and perception away from reality. Unfortunately, most school personnel do not have access to game film.
Unless you have access to LYS. We provide schools with the equivalent of game film. By standing in the blind spot, with the experience and knowledge to understand what we are observing, we are able to give educators an objective picture of what they are actually doing, as opposed to what they think they are doing. Once reflective, hard working, student centered educators have that picture, common sense just naturally kicks in.
On many levels, I think it is really that simple.
Think. Work. Achieve.