Byron's Babbles

Big Opportunity Leadership

Airplane-opptyOn my flight home from Washington DC last night I had many things on my mind. One of which was the newly signed into law Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA as most people refer to it. ESSA was the reason I was in our Nation’s Capitol for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)Legislative Conference. We had the opportunity to work through what state boards’ role will be in the implementation of ESSA. I was reflecting on how much work there was to be done implementing this new and great bipartisan law that gives a great deal of power back to the states – Patrick Henry would be proud. Consensus has been reached to pass ESSA into law and now it is time for implementation. John Manning (2015) referred to this as execution in Lesson #40 of The Disciplined Leader. As I was reflecting, the pilot came on and said we had 327 miles left to Indianapolis. Because the Wright Brothers are my idols, I could not help but say a quick thank you to them for executing their plan for first flight. They took advantage of what John Kotter calls the “Big Opportunity.” Because of them, I am able to be home from Washington DC in a little over an hour. That is one big opportunity!


Secretary of Education John King & I

Manning (2015) discussed creating ownership in solutions. ESSA empowers many to take advantage of the big opportunities. I had the opportunity to be with our recently confirmed Secretary of Education John King, yesterday morning and we discussed the opportunities for state legislatures, state boards of education, schools, and many other stakeholders to work together for implementation of ESSA. This implementation really plays into John Kotter’s Dual Operating System approach to change. As we implement ESSA in Indiana I hope we will use the five premises from Kotter as our guide for taking advantage of the “Big Opportunity” – equity in education for all students. Secretary of Education King also left us with this very important thought, “Schools save lives!” Again, that is one big opportunity. These five guiding principles are:

  1. Having many change agents – by having state legislatures, state boards of education, state departments of education, and many other stakeholders involved in the collaborative implementation we should have innovation and creativity for coming up with the best practices for our students.
  2. Creating a “want to” not “have to” mindset – Now that the power has been placed in the state’s hands for implementation of ESSA, we must be excited and have a “get to” approach.
  3. Head and heart, not just head – This is easy when we are implementing law to serve our children.
  4. Leadership, not management – This is important for me as an Indiana State Board of Education member. I must do my part to provide the leadership to keep the strategy of ESSA implementation in tact.
  5. Many systems, one organization, lose the hierarchy – everyone must be a part of the “big opportunity.” Again, there must be collaboration from many different stakeholders.

51cHkuSOUeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Manning (2015) taught us to “stay the course” and execute. What “big opportunities” do you have on the horizon for implementation?


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