In response to the posts relating to, “A Reader Shares… (Sunday Advice 2/7/10),” a reader writes:

“Great explanation, I stand corrected. I thought that the philosophy the LYS team was using was aimed at incompetency and not systems. I fully understand and agree.

Check Fire! Check Fire!”

SC Response
Just to confuse the situation even more, we actually target both. We work to build systems that maximize student opportunity (effective) and maximize the success of the adults in the system (efficient). Obviously, in that pursuit, the incompetent often end up in the crosshairs. For us, that is neither good nor bad, it just is. This is why we operate under the assumption that the only unforgivable sin is not being coachable.

Incompetence is generally the result of either misguided ignorance or a calculated endeavor to further self-interest. Neither of which has to be terminal. Over the course of my life and career I have suffered from both, been cured and then relapsed. We are all human and suffer the passions and frailties of our existence. But a strong system, coaching, reflection and leadership can make us better than who we are. As you might guess, in the nature vs. nurture argument, I take the optimistic “nurture” side.

Mission, purpose, vision and leadership can either augment our base character or erode it. Hence, the principal is in the best position to focus the collective will (service to students) on the collective purpose (student performance). Or the principal can abdicate that responsibility and let factions and adult interests trample over those that have no voice, yet have the most to gain and lose, our students.

Which brings us to the need to:

1. Understand the complexities of social systems.
2. Work to build checks to overcome the frailties of those systems.
3. Work to build fulcrums to leverage the strengths of those systems.
4. Coach the people in those systems.
5. Identify, remediate or remove those that are detrimental to the system.

As you can see, Brown’s Rule is useful construct to further this pursuit.

By the way, as you will see in the next couple of days, you have kicked over a hornets’ nest. It’s good to know that I can again count on the Marines to have my back.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…