Valid email addresses are required to post comments. If your comment is not posted, I will send you an email with an explanation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Quickly read the next two lines aloud.


What did you read?



Although the lines have exactly the same letters and sequence there certainly is a big difference between the two interpretations. That distinction directs organizations down divergent paths of attitude. My role at Heatly in my first year as superintendent has been to clearly differentiate among the two statements and lead the staff to the understanding and acceptance that opportunity is indeed now here - despite the prevailing dismal economy and recent past of being cited as a school in need of improvement that may have inferred that opportunity was nowhere.

It has required exercising a constancy of purpose, consistently modeling optimism, demonstrating genuine interest and enthusiasm, and attributes of what some scholars of leadership refer to as "servant leadership." These characteristics include listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community. This model of leadership is framed around the belief that the dynamic between and among a leader and followers is fluid, situational, and representative of a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship instead of a top down, authoritative driven organization. The leader serves the needs and interests of others as a means of facilitating the creation of a growth oriented organization.

I hope that others will perceive and conclude that I have allocated far more time to these people-building activities than I have to the nuances and technical aspects of instruction. That is, I have valued the need to invest time and energy in developing the conditions that promote and sustain a positive attitude at Heatly as a priority over the devotion to developing curriculum maps and specific instructional strategies. That ranking is not meant to diminish the importance of instruction, but rather to acknowledge that the significance of the right attitude is a prerequisite to experiencing success in skills.

Southwest Airlines, the most successful company in air travel, believes that much of their success is the result of creative, committed employees. Central to that high level of performance among its staff is the organization's dedication to hire the right people on the basis of a selection policy to "hire for attitude, train for skill." One comes before the other. It works for Southwest Airlines and I hope it works for Heatly School. We'll find out soon enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment