What should you aim for when discussing tough school issues at an altitude of 35,000 feet?
The needs of your students.
There’s probably nothing surprising on this list.
You and I both know the value of these attributes, particularly as essential elements in building staff “buy in” for needed organizational change and fresh direction.
At a district leadership team meeting yesterday afternoon, my superintendent used William Bridges’ book – Managing Transitions – as a trampoline to effectively bounce our discussion up to a higher level.
While some of us in our group would’ve been content to wallow in the muck (where’s the real action’s at), my boss wouldn’t have any of it.
Rather, we walked through the first 10 pages of the book together.
Of course, we only had the one path provided (dig into the book!), but my superintendent made the right call.
He kept our observations about our most pressing school issues flowing from a loftier vantage point.
The book also inspired clarity and highlighted the benefits of shared process.
I know I might catch heck for admitting this now (remember mum’s the word), but I got a chuckle out of the way the author described how bad organizational behaviors require “repatterning” and replacing our “maladaptive habits” with more positive ones.
I was also relieved Cindy wasn’t in the room with our full leadership team to mull over those words.
No doubt she would’ve leaped out of her chair to stand by a wall to write out scads of sticky notes containing my personal “maladaptive habits” – with my colleagues chiming right in!
Page one featured the quote of the day for me, though, and I thought it framed our team’s varying back-and-forth perspectives well.
And it’s an old Chinese proverb.
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.”
No wonder it’s lasted through the centuries.
It’s not an easy thing to do – even for school communicators.
But it sure gives us something grand to aim for!