Byron's Babbles

Leading Beyond The Walls

Posted in Education, Education Reform, Educational Leadership, Strategic Planning by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on March 22, 2015

This 12th week reading in A Year With Peter Drucker (Maciariello, 2014) may have resonated with me more than any yet. Drucker was a fan and student of the Federalist Papers. As a student of Patrick Henry you all know I am a believer in state’s rights and the 10th Ammendment to our nation’s constitution which reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” I believe Drucker took the last part of that Ammendment very seriously. We as leaders have a responsibility to provide leadership and be involved in government and civic organizations.

Drucker argued that while each organization should fulfill its primary mission, it should seek to “lead beyond borders.” (Maciariello, 2014). We, as leaders are responsible for our institutions and be concentrated and focused on them, but Drucker believed we must be focused on the community as a whole. In his first year as governor of California, Ronald Reagan used 200 top CEOs, as volunteers on sabbaticals from their companies, to solve the budget crisis. Reagan said, “For every problem their are 10 people waiting to volunteer if someone could give them the lead and show them where they can be useful.” We, as leaders, need to also be seeking areas where we can provide insight and be useful.

Leadership and management of businesses was where Drucker began, but his first love, I believe, was the management of nonbusinesses like hospitals, churches, and schools. He was very involved with social sector management and leadership, particuarly with non-profits. He found these interesting because it is very difficult to define what the results should be. How do you define the results of a school, for instance? This is a very important question that I believe is yet to be answered. Drucker would have said it is my responsibility, as a school leader, to lead beyond the walls of my school and help to solve this question. I also believe it is very important to be involved civically and be an agent of social change. Drucker defined civic responsibility as: “giving to the community in the pursuit of one’s own interest or of one’s own task.” (Maciariello, 2014, p. 100)

Results are more difficult to define for social sector organizations, like schools, than for business organizations. This is because the social sector institutions are involved in changing lives of individuals for the better. Results must be more than merely good intentions, but must also be tailored to fit the organization. We must be acutely aware of the importance of defining results in terms of our own mission and effectively manage the fulfillment of that mission. This is why I believe schools should have a role in determining the accountability metrics of their individual school. Each school will be stronger the more clearly it defines its objectives. Organizations are more effective the more yardsticks and measurements there are against which the performance can be appraised. Our product we are producing in schools is a changed human being. We are human change agents. Our product is a child that learns. 

Some questions for pondering from this week’s lesson are:

  • What needs are your organization meeting as a part of your primary mission?
  • How effective and efficient are you in carrying out your mission?
  • How effective are you at changing lives for good?
  • Are you leading beyond the borders of your organization/business?
  • Are you mentoring other leaders or managers?


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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