Governance and leadership

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Images of a Very Different Strategic Planning Process

High school students gather in cross-grade teams to ideate ways to advance one of four big themes for the future. Strategic plans should reflect the vision of a school community. Most do not. Most plans are the result of relatively shallow input from some school stakeholders, followed by a rapid synthesis by a [...]

Part 2: What Does Your Admin Leadership Team Actually Do?

Last week I posted Part 1 of  the evolving role of a school or district admin leadership team.  I want to dig deeper into this: How might we really amplify the power of this team of leaders? Think about your admin leadership team and your team meetings. Like any  group within an organization, your admin [...]

What Does Your Admin Leadership Team Actually Do?

What does your administration leadership team actually DO?  That is not a rhetorical question.  What are the actual tasks of the team that gathers around the conference room table every week or month for an hour or two?  Are these meetings just an aggregation of pieces, or is there something that is greater than the [...]

Are All-Male Groups de facto The B Team?

How important is group diversity?  If a group is NOT diverse, should we discount the group outcomes?  How serious are we as educators about promoting diversity, and why? Adding to this discussion (this one happens to be about gender diversity only) is a study on the impact of gender diversity to group performance  published in [...]

The Power of 10,000 Small Ideas

We have passed a fundamental tipping point in the evolution of human connectivity. For millennia, big ideas spread through a highly-constricted pipeline. Masses of humanity listened to a handful of political, religious, or social influencers and followed where those few led.  Humans were a metaphorical crowd of 10,000 people listening for one good idea from [...]

Build a Team of Teams at Your School

What does fighting a terror-based insurgency have in common with running a school?  Fortunately the daily events are very different. But school leaders can learn critical lessons about managing large, complex organizations from how military, and increasingly business, leaders are learning to adapt to rapidly changing challenges. Retired General Stanley McCrystal led American forces in [...]

The Opportunity Atlas and the American Dream

There is no American Dream without the possibility of upward economic mobility. Education is, at its core, about preparing young people to succeed in a life to which they aspire, which is almost always at least as fruitful, if not more so, than that of their parents. Today, that dream is more remote for more [...]

The Simple Equation of Value-Strategy-Innovation

Following the lead of my new friend, Seth Godin, short blogs are better.  This picture really is worth 1,000 words.  Schools that are increasingly faced with the challenge that their students can and might select another school to attend, must develop, communicate, and deliver a winning value proposition or face loss of enrollment, and the [...]

Another Novel Route to Creating a True Strategic Plan

In another sign that the era of traditional five-year school strategic plans are dead, take a look at the approach led by head of school Ned Murray and this team at Episcopal Day School in Augusta, GA.  It is simple, clean, and generates action items based on aspirations and big questions, rather than the backward-looking distillation [...]

Lego Pieces and Leading Innovation

What can a 15-year-old autistic boy from Iceland teach us about leadership? Last week videos went viral of a 28-foot-long model of the Titanic, designed and built out of 65,000 Lego blocks by teenager Brynjar Karl Birgisson.  It is a remarkable feat of design, engineering, three-dimensional vision, and perseverance.  But what I want to dig [...]