Don’t Forget the “Little Picture”

As an administrator I’ve always had to keep my eye on the big picture. At least that’s what I’ve always told others when they asked why a particular initiative had been undertaken or a decision had been made. After all, everyone must know that if we spent all our time tending to the needs and concerns of individuals we wouldn’t get anywhere. There has to be a big picture. That’s what a vision is and any good leader has a vision for their organization, right?

Well over the past few years my thinking has taken a 180 in this area. In Kouzes & Posner’s The Leadership Challenge they describe a good leader as “someone who is able to be in the balcony and on the dance floor at the same time.” You see, we’ve got to look beyond the big picture if we hope to move our schools forward. With each and every system wide or school wide change there are many individuals who are each affected in their own way. It is our job to understand this and work with those within our circle of influence to assist them in better understanding and moving forward.

With society and education changing faster than ever, there has been no more important time than now for leaders to see the little picture. Excellent teachers are being called upon to transform a pedagogy that has been a mainstay in our educational institutions for decades. Leaders must paint a vision and enlist individuals to join them in bringing it to life. Transformation will happen, but it will take place one teacher at a time, in their own way and at their own pace.

So think big and push the envelope, but don’t take your eye off the little picture.

Categories: Capacity Building, Education Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Don’t Forget the “Little Picture”

  1. Richard

    “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

    – F. Scott Fitzgerald

    That quote was never more appropriate than it is today, with wildly opposing ideas being promulgated across the internet, through twitter and other social media, and with (sometimes) no way to know if those ideas are based in reality or ideology, no matter how reasonable each might sound.

    At the heart of things, you as a school Principal must be accountable to your students, not to the competing ideologies; if you make a mistake, your kids don’t get a ‘do-over’.

    So, yeah, Greg, I like your post a lot; just be sure you mean it enough that you still retain the ability to stand up for your kids, even if it means turning against the ideas that appeal to you or the people who think your approval (or their ideas) means you are a convert (to their ideology).

    Your first allegiance is to your kids, even if you find yourself torn by the need to understand everyone else’s viewpoint. That’s why Principals (and their principles) are so important.


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