This is a difficult task for me because I rarely think about what "I bring" to the work, but I decided that it will be good for me and for others in the system. It is also one of the reasons why I have been pushing my blog readers to share their stories that reflect the culture that we have created. Unfortunately, there has been little response to my request. That may change as I begin to share my reflections and others see the need to support our continuing journey.
Related to these reflections and struggles is a conversation with Mike Hansen that resulted in what you are now reading. I see Mike has one component of the transition to support the system’s capacity to move forward. I want his capacity to use the tools of system thinking to build upon the foundation that we have created. The system needs this capacity to adapt to the national and state mandates we currently face and those that I believe will follow in the near future. In the conversation, Mike made me look more closely at the attributes I bring to our work. This is difficult for me, but he moved me to a place where I felt tension between my current reality and what I want for our system after retirement.
So, how do I start this process?
I have made the decision that there is much to be learned through reviewing the books that I have read with a focus on those related to leadership. As I write this, I am looking at over seventy books sitting on the floor that fit this category leaving holes in my book case and on shelves. There are greater than that number remaining in their respective places, but I’ll move forward with my first cut.
I started not with a book on leadership, but with one that was published in 1983 that had a significant influence on my thinking, A Nation At Risk. To give you a sense of what I am doing I'll share below some of my reflections on this book.
I was in graduate school at the time of this release so I had multiple opportunities for conversations with colleagues. It reinforced for me the importance of leadership as opposed to simply managing schools. I realized the need for consensus if we were going to successfully meet the challenges embedded in the report.
Thus far I have reviewed fourteen books and found that there are some important learning's that have influenced me in most of them. Prioritizing time for the work will be difficult, but I believe that there will be some nuggets that others can take to support our future journey. I will periodically share more in future posts.