Byron's Babbles

Dedication Attracts People

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 11, 2015

2015/01/img_06401.jpg I must say that I looked forward to my dedicated study time this morning for reading the second week’s lesson in A Year With Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness. As you know from my first week’s post I dedicated myself to spending personal professional development time each week in doing a personal book study and then writing a post to this blog each week. Click here to read the first week’s post.

This week’s coaching lesson was very appropriate. The title of Week 2 is: “Questions to Ask Before Committing a Portion of Your Life to the Service of an Organization.” This was obviously important because I have had to do this in my life several times. But more importantly, it caused we to reflect on the importance of making sure the school corporation I lead can answer those questions correctly and is able to ensure everyone has a chance to achieve and make a meaningful contribution. These are two of the most important tasks an organization has to perform, according to Drucker (Maciariello, 2014). Interestingly, John C. Maxwell’s Minute With Maxwell word today was “Dedication.” Click here to watch the one minute video. Even though the teaching of Drucker this week was not on dedication, this spoke to me because I believe that our organizations must be dedicated to our team members’ achievement and ability to make meaningful contributions. The school system I lead right now needs to do a much better job of this and we are working very hard at this. I believe we need a leadership progression and training program. We should working side by side with those we lead to answer the questions: What should I contribute?; Where and how can I have results that make difference?; and, What should my contribution be? In Drucker’s view, these were questions that the person looking for a position should answer, but I believe we must help them answer these at all phases; from interviewing to job placement, to competency/leadership building.

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The questions Drucker suggested a potential employee should ask of the organization are worth noting. I would also argue that these are questions that the organization, school, or business should be asking of itself as to whether they are providing (Maciariello, 2014). Here are the questions:

– Are you learning enough?
– Are you challenged enough?
– Does the organization make use of your strengths or what you can do?
– Does the organization make use of your strengths or what you can do?
– Does the organization constantly challenge and make you more ambitious in terms of contribution?
– Are you actually suffering from creative discontent?

Interestingly, Drucker talked about positive contentment and negative contentment. He argued that contentment was for six year olds. Thirty year olds should not be content because achieving great results should be hard to achieve and will be uncomfortable. At the same time, however, we must provide the environment where the results are meaningful. I love a quote in the book from Drucker because it is a school example where he says a team member should be saying: “We have that enormous job here in the new school… and we are recruiting faculty and so I spend all my weekends with prospective faculty people (Maciariello, 2014, p. 10).” This person is certainly challenged positively because they have responsibility to mobilize, challenge, and grow human resources. Let me tell you, from personal experience, taking over and turning around a school is anything but comfortable and is very hard work. But, it is extremely rewarding and, I believe, very fun work. It was very rewarding when a couple of people, one of them an Indiana State Board of Education member, said to me, “You should be very proud of providing the leadership for Emmerich Manual High School to be removed from the “F” list.” Let me tell you, I am, but I also always want to recognize the accomplishment took dedication from many more team members than me. There were many more who did much more heavy lifting than me and they were dedicated to the opportunity for achievement and making a meaningful contribution.

Another piece to this is very important. “Knowledge workers must take responsibility for managing themselves (Maciariello, 2014, p. 11).” Our team members, as well as ourselves, must take responsibility for developing ourselves. We need to seek feedback and feedback analysis. Concentration should be on areas of high skill and competence. It takes far more energy and farm more work to improve from mediocrity to first rate performance than it takes to improve from first rate performance to excellence.

Take a little time and reflect on where you are as an individual and where the organization you are a member of is in terms of dedication to every person having the opportunity to achieve and make a meaningful contribution. I know we have some work to do in this area. We have extremely talented individuals, but we need to make sure we are developing our bench strength, to use an athletic analogy, to have our future leaders ready to lead from within. REMEMBER: Opportunities do not come according to your schedule. Your job is to be prepared to recognize and seize opportunities as they come.

Reference

Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

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