Byron's Babbles

Good Is Not Enough!

Posted in Education, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 4, 2012

This past week I had the opportunity to speak to the faculty of University of Phoenix prior to delivering the keynote address for their graduation ceremony. I would like to share with you my notes from this speech here:

I would like to start today with an excerpt that I have done some creative editing on from Onward: How Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul I believe you will find that this comparison of teaching to a successful business model fits right in with what I consider my and my school’s ADVANTAGE: “Putting Students First.”

Here is the excerpt adapted from Onward:

Pouring espresso (Teaching) is an art, one that requires the barista (teacher) to care about the quality of the beverage  (education). If the barista (teacher) only goes through the motions, if he or she does not care and produces an inferior espresso (student) that is too weak or too bitter (not ready to compete), then Starbucks (teaching) has lost the essence of what we set out to do 40 years ago (in 1635): inspire the human spirit. I realize this is a lofty mission for a cup of coffee (education), but this is what merchants (teachers) do. We take the ordinary – a shoe (boy), a knife (girl) – and give it (them) new life, believing that what we create has the potential to touch others’ lives because it (their lives) touched ours.

I believe this is such a great representation of what we all do in this room – EDUCATE. As Henry Adams put it, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

As a teacher my personal mission statement was, “I strive to use rigor, relevance and relationships to be a steward of high student achievement.” I have given a lot of thought about what my personal mission statement should not be as a principal, and then realized it really does not change. All I am doing is adding one new “R” – Results Driven.

Someone recently asked my to use a word to define myself. I chose “Trailblazer”

Goes before others go!

Don’t send someone where you are not willing to go yourself.

A “Trailblazer” is not a travel agent. Travel agents send people places they have never been. Trailblazer set the path for others to follow or even go down simultaneously with the leader.

We must follow Kouzes and Posner’s Ten Truths of Leadership:

  1. You make a difference
  2. Credibility
  3. Values
  4. Focusing on the future
  5. You can’t do it alone
  6. Trust rules
  7. Challenge is the crucible for greatness
  8. Lead by example
  9. The best leaders are the best learners
  10. Leadership is an affair of the heart

Remember, if better is even possible, good is not enough!

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