“We know this much. The world is not going to be dominated by any one great power. For Americans that’s going to be a very difficult thing to accept. Most of us still see a world – the world of 1960 – in which America was the only great power, and the only functioning economy.” (Peter Drucker in Maciariello, 2014, p. 134) These were the words of Peter Drucker in 2004 and I think he was spot on. In fact, I believe we still don’t fully understand the new world we live in. Drucker also said, “So we Americans will have to learn that it is going to be a very different world in which different values must coexist (Maciariello, 2014, p. 134).” I really believe that sometimes we proceed as if the United States is the world, when in reality we are part of the world.
We are going to have to learn to be effective change agents of a global future. We will need to create our own future, rather than trying to predict the outcome of all these global forces (Maciariello, 2014). Whether the global demands become threats or opportunities will depend on our competence. The forces of a global society cannot be left to market forces or any one sovereign nation. Today’s lesson from Peter Drucker furthers my belief that leaders in education must make a commitment to moving global education forward. Engagement is the key to having teachers lead this movement in global education.
Global education is not just about economics, it has to be about citizenship and global awareness. Therefore, kids need skills to navigate globally. Furthermore, kids need skills to navigate a shrinking world. The world is getting smaller and kids need the skills to navigate globally. Hanging world flags and doing multi-cultural days with different ethnic foods does NOT make students globally competent. We must begin to use the ABCs of global immersion: Academic Achievement, Bilingualism/Biliteracy, and Cultural Competance. We must create intentional/strategic curricula for global education and competancies, not just a few activities.
The skills and insights students can gain from interacting with people of different nations and cultures is critical as America engages more intensely with an increasingly global marketplace and interdependent world. As an educational leader, I must lead the charge to help the students I serve to have a high quality global education program. A great global education program is multi-faceted, fully job imbedded professional development for the teachers, and has transdisciplinary themes. Finally, I believe all students have the right to deep global competency! How will you help to develop a sense of urgency around global education?
Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
I want to begin this post by posing an essential question for you to reflect on: How can you make yourself useful and effective in helping to solve a social problem of our society?
In this week’s study of Peter Drucker in Maciariello’s (2014) A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness, I learned that Drucker believed that social issues and problems were of greater danger to the United States than economic issues. During the 1992 presidential campaign, former President Bill Clinton’s strategist, James Carville, coined the slogan: “Its the economy, stupid!” Obviously, the public seemed to believe this because Clinton won the election. Drucker disagreed, however, and thought our growing social problems were more significant than our economic problems (Maciariello, 2014). Drucker pointed to the fact that none of the U.S. government’s programs of the last 40 years really produced any significant results. We can however point to programs put in place by religious organizations, churches, and other independent non-profit agencies that have had impressive results and done a great deal of good for Americans, as well as individuals in other countries. In my opinion one of the best legacies that President George W. Bush will be remembered for were his faith-based initiatives to have private organizations taking on the overwhelming societal needs.
Social needs, according to Drucker, grow in two areas. First, in charity: helping the poor, disabled, helpless, and victims. Secondly, and probably a faster growing need is in respect to the services that aim at changing the community and at changing people (Maciariello, 2014). Every developed country needs an autonomous, self governing social sector of community organizations to provide the requisite community services, but above all to restore the bonds of community and a sense of active citizenship. Historically, community just happened by fate. We must now make a commitment to the development of the community. In 1939, Winston Churchill even commented prior to becoming Prime Minister of England in 1940 about Drucker’s forward thinking on the needs of society. Churchill said, “…he [Drucker] not only has a mind of his own, but has the gift of starting other minds along the stimulating line of thought.” Drucker knew that taking care of the social needs of our country was going to be important.
Right now there is a great deal of animus in America dealing with race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic differences, education, and even partisan politics. Some of these differences are constrained by social norms, but certainly not to the extent necessary. In education, as school curriculum continues to be aligned with standards and goals, pressure will grow for these goals to be aligned with the students’ strengths and societal needs. We must teach our students how to make changes in society peacefully and democratically. Thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, entrepreneurship, and creativity and the arts must align with the revolutionary changes in all cultures around the world. We live in a country and world of multiple cultures, made even smaller by instant communication and rapid transportation. If we manage our diversity well, it will enrich us. If we don’t, it will divide us. Meeting that challenge is up to each and all of us.
We must listen to the students we serve and give them a voice. Getting them engaged. Students will expect their voices to be her in decisions. As stated earlier, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, creativity, and communication skills coupled with ethical behavior, will be essential if we hope to have a future. We must take extra care to provide our young people with experiences that enable them to develop core values of ethical behavior and civic duty. I have witnessed and been involved with non-governmental organizations that do this quite well. One is the National Honor Society. My son is a member right now and certainly besides the promotion of high academic performance and achievement, he is also getting a taste of the importance of community service and why it is important to be involved in finding solutions for the needs of the community. I am also proud to have been a part of bringing the National Honor Society to Hoosier Academies. As a school leader, I understand the importance of these civic-minded experiences to our students. Drucker called this developing “creaturehood” for the ordinary individual. Another incredible organization that gives students real world, in context, leadership experience in a societal setting is the Kiwanis Key Club. From their many enrichment and civic projects, Key Club members dedicate their energy to serving their communities in order to ensure the world will be a better place for future generations.
As adults and leaders we also have a responsibility to society and modeling our social service to our young people. We all have time, talents, treasures, and connections we can bring to the table in order to do our civic duty for society. I realize time is a precious commodity, but we must make time to do those things in our communities, state and nation that are necessary to make the radical changes necessary to not be left behind. I have made a conscience effort to model this or “walk the talk,” so to speak. I have been involved at the local, state, and national levels for civic service whether in service organizations or politically. In 2010 I had the honor of being commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel because of my contributions in the realm of education in Kentucky. The commission of Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. Because I really believe in the mission of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels I have made a real commitment to provide time, talent, treasures, and connections. In fact, on May 16, 2015 I am going to be on an Honor Flight, sponsored by the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, serving as a Guardian while taking Veterans from Indiana and Kentucky to honor them. We will be flying out of Louisville, Kentucky to Washington, D.C. for them to be honored as Veterans and tour the Monuments of our foreign wars. Check out this inspirational video promotion of our Honor Flight. Click here to watch the video. I am very excited to have been selected to serve as a Guardian for this very important service to our Veterans. This is just one of the social services that the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels provides through our Good Works Program. If you are so moved and want to donate feel free to click here.
Our second president, John Adams, stated: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I am a believer in the rights given to us of freedom of religion and the freedom of speech (in other words the right to hit “publish” when I complete this blog post). I also completely believe in our moral responsibility to give in service to the civic and social needs of our communities, state, and nation. The title of this post is “Love Thy Neighbor!” The inspiration comes from the the Bible in the book of Mark. It first comes up in the 31st verse, but then the most important lesson is given in the 41st through 44th verses: “Sitting across from the offering box, he [Jesus] was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins – a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, ‘The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the other gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all’ (The Message Bible).” Are you giving your all to make the world we live a better place now and for future generations?
I hope you have reflected on the essential question I started with: How can you make yourself useful and effective in helping to solve a social problem of our society? Now, I leave you with this question for a post-reflection: How can you leverage your social and religious involvements to increase your involvement in civic life?
Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week at the Indiana State House with a group of our teachers. Our mission was to demonstrate to our state legislators how virtual education really works. We set up in the House Committee rooms and had our teachers facilitate learning for our students from there. Many legislators came down and spent time with our teachers and we really appreciated the opportunity to share. At stake, right now, is a bill (HB 1001) that came out of the house calling for 100% funding for all schools. When the bill went to the Senate the amount was reduced back to the present level of funding of 90% for us, as a virtual charter school. I absolutely believe that our school, Hoosier Academies, should be funded at 100%. I believe all schools serving Indiana’s students should be funded equally at the 100% level.Representative Dave Ober, from Albion, said it best this week in a tweet: “The education philosophy in Indiana is that money follows the child. We need to make that commitment clear.” I have blogged about leading with certainty and clarity before (click here to read), and I consider this leading with both certainty and clarity. I had the opportunity to visit with Representative Ober this week and he certainly understands what is at stake. He is displaying his commitment to ALL Indiana students. In my personal growth time this morning I was reading David McCullough’s Truman. McCullough stated that former President Harry S. Truman hated the words “progressive,” “liberal,” and “reform.” Truman wanted everything to be “Forward Moving.” To have our schools and education to be “forward moving” there needs to be 100% funding for all schools, regardless of type.
One of the issues about funding right now relates to virtual schools. Let’s dive into the virtual thing. Really, virtual education is very “forward moving,” as Truman would have said. I hope we can all agree that all students can learn and that all students learn differently. If that is the case, then why would we think that all students learn best in a building with walls and a roof? We need to think “outside the walls.” Having just spent time with my Smithsonian Institution friends in Washington D.C. this past week, I can tell you they embrace the fact that not all students will be visiting, or even have the means to be able to visit within the walls of their museums. In fact, the Smithsonian Institution wants you to take advantage of visiting virtually. Truly, the Smithsonian Institution is equal access to everyone. EVERYONE!
I’ll give you an example: The Wright Flyer, on display in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, was scanned using a 3D laser, which produces a highly detailed and accurate image of the object. The 3D Wright Flyer exhibit is part of the Smithsonian Institution X 3D Collection, which provides a very detailed look at objects. The 3D Explorer allows visitors to rotate the objects on the screen and includes guided tours. The X 3D Collection provides access to many of the Smithsonian Institution’s 137 million objects of which only one percent is on display at any one time in the 19 museums, nine research centers, and the Smithsonian National Zoo. This is very “forward moving” and is in line with the Smithsonian Institution’s core mission – “The increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The Smithsonian Institution is certainly thinking “outside the walls” to provide extensive public outreach and educational programs.
Just like the Smithsonian Institution, we in the virtual education world, are serving as pioneers and trailblazers in online and blended education. We continue to learn how best to navigate innovative ways to deliver content and facilitate engaging lessons for students. Our “forward moving” and “outside the walls” approach includes a data-driven academic plan, increased professional development for our teachers, individualized learning plans for all students, strengthened family and stakeholder engagement, and a targeted credit recovery program.
A key to the success of any organization is understanding what makes it distinct. At Hoosier Academies we are distinct because we are carrying out, as called for in the state constitution, education equally open to all and by all suitable means. We know in our case what makes us unique is the fact that students served by Hoosier Academies are able to be fully online (statewide in all 92 counties) or have the option to go to our hybrid schools (face to face two days a week and online the other three) in Indianapolis. What also makes us distinct is that we have a 67% mobility rate. We must embrace the fact that in many cases we are a short term solution to many of our students. This mobility may be because of health issues, bullying, differentiated learning needs, or students who have special circumstances such as being an Olympic gymnast. For many students we are the only available choice in a state that embraces school choice. I believe we are beginning to make progress because we have begun to answer the question of what what makes us different and really owning it. This realization has only come about because of really asking and listening to the students and parents of the students we serve about what they believe we should be trying to accomplish for them. We have a long way to go, but are making progress.
This discovery has come about from stories, for example, of the family whose daughter has been with us through 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, because of being bullied at her local school, but, is going to try going back to her local high school next year. Another family, who I visited with recently in Gary, has their children enrolled in Hoosier Academies because they are scared to have the students walk to school. We also have students with medical conditions that do not allow them to be enrolled in a traditional setting and who are flourishing in our modality. Another story comes from our starting a National Honor Society this year and how the parents of a student with Down’s Syndrome who was inducted stated that there was no way their daughter could have ever been as successful, academically or socially, in a traditional setting. These stories are anecdotal and qualitative proof that Hoosier Academies is an interim solution for many families. We are a place for students to go for whatever length of time the parent believes is necessary. Furthermore, more than one-half of parents of high school students and one-third of elementary students will choose this option to catch their child up academically.
The internet has changed the way people accomplish so many things, including the education of their children. Thanks to technological advances, students aren’t limited to learning in a traditional classroom environment. Many parents are choosing virtual schooling as a viable educational choice that provides a range of benefits. Virtual schooling provides the same opportunities for children and teens, allowing them to use technology to learn and grow in the familiarity and comfort of their home environments. Online school programs may also provide students with more of the personal attention they need. Teachers are often better able to focus on each student’s unique needs and provide a more customized approach to learning. In a perfect world, no child would ever face bullying or other social struggles in school. In reality, however, many children deal regularly with bullies and troubling social interactions that make learning nearly impossible. Many students we serve also face classroom-learning challenges because of their own behavioral or emotional needs. Online learning modalities allow students to learn in a safe and secure environment that is free from the social and behavioral concerns typical of traditional classrooms.
Again, if we truly believe all students learn differently we need to embrace the fact that students will need individualized learning environments as well. Let us be “forward moving” in our continued improvement of all learning environments for tomorrow!
Being mindful in our responses ensures integrity in our interactions and solutions to opportunities (what I call challenges and problems). Absence of mindfulness raises the likelihood of emotional reactions and unproductive arguments instead of thoughtful and effective responses. We need to gain control through attentiveness and awareness, centering ourselves to lead our solutions and conversations fruitfully, honestly, and fully. It is easy to be pulled into reacting, and it takes more effort to respond. However, with mindfulness practices, I believe exchanges can be more productive and greater integrity can be maintained.
As we maintain our mindfulness through inner calmness and strength, we listen to what is being said more intently, and we watch the way in which it is being said. Also, we truly can begin to look at the challenge as an opportunity. We become more aware as we formulate our response. Our raised attentiveness enables us to respond more thoughtfully and, if needed, begin to direct the exchange in a direction of collaboration or more productive areas of discussion. Our mindful and responsive solution can truly become a new adventure and great journey.
Let me tell you the story of my morning. I am in Washington D.C. with a group of our Hoosier Academy families. They really wanted to go to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Well, as a former Smithsonian Teacher Ambassador and Smithsonian Diffusion Award Winner, I was ready to do anything Smithsonian! We arranged for our charter bus to take us there in the morning. Then we were going to have the bus take us at noon to the Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden to meet up with some of my Smithsonian friends for a research experience. On the way to the zoo, our staff person coordinating the trip got an email telling her that we could not use the bus at noon. Ok, I’m not going to lie, my first thought was to react, but then I practiced mindfulness. Keep in mind the zoo is 3.8 miles from the Smithsonian Castle. Not an easy walk for a group of 55. Also keep in mind that almost all in the group had never been to Washington D.C. – certainly, never been on the Metro!
As I took a moment to become mindful, however, I decided that with a Metro station two blocks from the zoo at Woodley Park, and then a short ride with one change from the Red Line to the Orange or Blue Line at Metro Center, it would be a cheap, $2.75 per person, experience and journey for our students and families. So, what did I do? While the group was exploring at the zoo, I went and purchased 55 Metro passes. What a great experience and adventure it was! Bottom line: we all got to Enid A. Haupt Garden on time for our program (see picture below)! I had students telling me it was the greatest thing they had done. All of our participants were glad to have had the experience. What a great lesson for our students to learn how to use mass transit. While there may only be a slight difference between the words react and respond. In practice, there seems to be a gulf of difference. When people react, it seems to be defensive and snap, poor decisions are made. By practicing mindfulness, however, responding is more thoughtful. Mindful responses contain reasoning. If mindfulness is being more centered within and aware of others, then this is a practice we need to embrace to prevent reacting and focus on responding. Being mindful in our responses ensures integrity in our interactions. It might even enable us, as leaders, to provide opportunities of great adventures for those we serve!
Drucker believed that the spirit of performance in an organization is led by leaders who are committed to getting the right things done (effectiveness) and doing the right things (efficiency) (Maciariello, 2014). These leaders must posses integrity of character, a vision for the organization, and focus. They must also be able to lead change. Drucker called those who could lead change agents “disturbing elements” (Maciariello, 2014). A disturbing element in an organization is a leader who seeks to change its culture and practices to prevent bureaucratic behavior from settling in. These leaders bring energy and spirit to the organization.
Drucker also believed that the purpose of an organization is to “make common men do uncommon things” (Maciariello, 2014). We all hire from the same pool of common people. Face it, we are all just common people. Why do some achieve greatness in the companies, organizations, and schools they work for? Because there has been at least one leader in that institution who prodded people to develop, improve, innovate, and sustain the spirit of performance. Organizations must see being entrepreneurial and innovative as a duty. As such, organizations must develop their people to be entrepreneurial and innovative. This ca be accomplished with “conscience” activities. Those activities that remind the organization what it should be doing and what it isn’t doing.
Those leaders who provide the sustaining spirit for an organization are forever watchful for bureaucratic tendencies allowing people to drift into repetitive routines and lose focus on primary results. I was really reminded in this week’s lesson, how much all of this really deals with people. It deals with hiring the right people and then providing the right opportunities and a culture of performance. Furthermore, it is important to remember that decisions that affect people, their placement and pay, promotion, demotion, and severance, must represent the values and core beliefs of the organization. As businesses, organizations, and schools, innovate and evolve there will be people who are just not the right fit. This poor fit may be because of skill level, personality or any number of things. Drucker teaches us this is natural. We must work to make conscience decisions about how to get them the professional development they need, help them understand the gap in fit, or come to an understanding together that it is just not in the best interest of either party to continue. I liked the suggestion by Maciariello (2014) that we should always ask the question, “What can they do?” Many times there are adjustments that can be made.
Are you providing the spirit of performance in your organization?
Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
I had the privilege this week to accompany our Hoosier Academies families to Washington D.C. It was a great trip and I loved getting to know our families and students we serve better. As you probably know I have spent a great deal of time in our nation’s capital and every time I am there I learn something new to reflect on. This time was now exception. When visiting the exhibit dedicated to women, Women in Military Service For America Memorial, at Arlington Cementary I was struck by how personal the exhibit was. It is very well done. You actually get to know the women that have served our country personally. This made it so much more powerful experience. I knew these women’s stories when I was done. Then, later that day our group went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This museum is a very intense experience that starts with you being given a card with information about an actual victim of the Holocaust. You are to reflect on this person as you move through the museum. Believe me, it becomes very personal! The individual I was given was, Iosif Rivkin. Here is his story: He was born in 1891 in Minsk, Belorussia. Iosif was born to a Jewish family in the Belorussian capital of Minsk. He fought with the Tsarist troops in World War I and was taken prisoner by the Germans. When he returned to Minsk after the war, he began working in a state-owned factory building furniture, an occupation in which a number of his relatives also made a living.
By the early 1930’s Iosif was married and had three daughters. They lived in central Minsk. By the late 1930’s Minsk was filled with Polish refugees fleeing the German invasion. On June 27, 1941, the invading Germans reached Minsk. The Rivkens’ home was bombed the next day, and they were forced into the street. They slept by the river with numerous other refugees, until German guards threatened to shoot them all. German posters in Minsk declared that the Nazis had come to liberate the Soviet Union from Communism and Jews. In August the Germans set up a ghetto, there Iosif was put to work as a carpenter. When the ghetto was liquidated in October 1943, Iosif and his family were deported. Iosif’s daughter, Berta, escaped from the ghetto before it was liquidated. Iosif and the rest of his family were never heard from again.
As I reflected on his story, I caught myself really having feelings about what had happened to him and his family. Why was I able to do this? Because I was able to see the faces of Iosif and his family. Isn’t that an important skill that leaders learn? It is important for us to tell the stories so that those we lead understand the faces, the values, the mission, and the vision. I really believe in the value of telling stories as a leader, but had not really thought about the exercise of seeing the faces myself. Not to me mention telling the story so those we lead see the faces. This was such a powerful lesson. I really believe that our great leaders that we celebrated while in Washington D.C., like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy all were able to see the faces of all those Americans they served. After reflection, I really believe it was their ability to see the faces of the people that gave them there wisdom. I am so glad I had this revolation and then was able to spend time on the trip getting to know a cross section of the Hoosier Academies families I serve. As the leader of a very large statewide school system that serves students in every county in the state of Indiana, it is very important that I am able to see the faces of those we serve. Are you taking time to see the faces and truly understanding those you lead?
We are increasingly moving towards multinational, transnational organizations that are held together by two factors: control of mission and strategy, and enough people who know and trust each other. Distributed leadership and a flattened hierarchies are key to accomplishing this. In this week’s lesson on Peter Drucker, and example of how the Coca Cola Argentina division had to make a decision that was right for helping the people of Argentina, but not good for the bottom line of the company based in Atlanta Georgia (Maciariello, 2014). Coca Cola understood that performance measures for foreign subsidiaries should be adapted to local political and economic realities.
As leaders we must learn to balance having a bold vision with what to do next. We must also learn to lead together by working together. Everyone in the organization must understand the values, objectives, and expectations of the organization. This is why it is important to build a team that is competent. Empowerment without competence is chaos. Wherever you sit in the organization, there is many times a tendency to wait for others to lead. We need to create an environment where everyone in our organizations can lead from where they sit.
Trust-based relationships must replace command and control mechanisms as coordinating mechanisms. This will allow effective leaders time to perform important duties. We must create enough autonomy for our teams to meet the local realities they face. Maciariello (2014) closed this week’s lesson by posing a great question that we all, as leaders, need to answer. Does your organization have resilient trust networks, that allow individuals to transfer information to and from one another?