All Hands on Deck
I am glad I waited until this quiet, dark Saturday morning to read Chapter 7 Creating a Shared Vision in George Couros’s The Innovator’s Mindset (2015); saving my co-workers from my animated summation. THIS is what I mean; THIS is what I want for us too, I am not crazy.
The future belongs to those who see possibilities
before they become obvious. -John Scully
quote from The Innovator’s Mindset, p 118.
I have mentioned before that I come from a recent education background and am now working in a small publishing company (owned by a very large publishing company) and I like to think the reason I was brought on board was because of my vision and education background. My background is in middle school teaching, technology integration and leadership: specifically curriculum development. Since I began teaching my colleagues jokingly referred to me as a “visionary.” I would laugh because that made it sound like I was an oracle or a crazy lady that could see things. George would laugh because my colleague was Greek and we were teaching ancient history to our 6th graders at the time. My point is, I look for the possibilities present in challenges, and there are a few things that I have experienced that help to fuel that fire. Chapter 7 confirmed that I am not the only person that thinks that way, and I feel pretty confident you all are now on the crazy train with me.
- “Systems Thinking” doesn’t mean much if we don’t have “systems doing.” If you have never read Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline I highly recommend it. Simply put, every member of an organization contributes to the successes-or reinforces behaviors that prevent success-of the entire organization. And in public schools, the organization involves the entire community that supports the organization including the parents, guardians, communities, and local governing bodies.
- Be inclusive. Don’t assume you have all the questions and all the answers. Every day I am reminded of the power of collaboration and inviting more voices into the conversation. It is so important to hear from those outside your inner circle and area of expertise to help better understand the system at work.
3. Be curious. Please ask questions and model that thinking and behavior for your students and colleagues. In 2000 I had the unique opportunity as a fifth grade teacher to connect with an author and professor who was writing a book for ASCD: Developing More Curious Minds by John Barell. We reflected on questions about what it means to be curious:
“How does being curious and asking questions make you feel?”
I encourage you to read the sample Chapter 1.
I was reminded this week about how a change in mindset can open up many possibilities. I have written about Mindset on my personal blog, but, similar to yoga or meditation, mindset is something you have to practice. Daily. It is not enough to simply say, yes, this works, it is a good idea! The brain truly believes the stories you tell. Like Dewitt Jones, the acclaimed former National Geographic photographer says, if you believe it you will see it.