Byron's Babbles

Everyone Is A Leader

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Focused Leader Academy Cohort #1

I am finally in for the evening and sitting down for some reflection time with my computer blogging. What a day! This morning we graduated our first cohort of teacher leaders from our Focused Leader Academy. Then we had our commencement exercises for our Hoosier Academies Network of Schools 2016 graduates. This post is about our celebration breakfast for our Focused Leader Academy. IMG_0434

We had an incredible program recognizing our teacher leaders and an outstanding program by Andy Worshek of Turn the Ship Around! He is an expert on Intent-Based Leadership. Andy served in the navy for 24 years, and achieved the rank of Master Chief. Assigned to the nuclear powered submarine USS Santa Fe with Captain David Marquet and imagines a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work—a place where everyone is a leader.

IMG_0430Great Leadership creates an organizational culture that spawns generations of additional leaders throughout the organization. Which is exactly what we are doing with our Focused Leader Academy. With this program we are embracing continual learning as the primary activity of the organization. Andy taught us today that most people don’t quit the job, they quit the people. This really hit home as a leader of leaders. Andy discussed that instead of thinking about leaders and followers we need to think about having leaders and leaders. In order to do this we must move authority to information instead of information to authority. In other words, in a highly functioning organization the authority to use information is kept at what I call street level so it can be used effectively. In a school that means with teachers. Make no mistake, however, when shifting this model, we have an obligation to make sure that those we are empowering have the technical knowledge and skill to handle this authority. Otherwise, Andy taught us this would lead to chaos. Furthermore, for intent based leadership to work there must be organizational clarity. This is clarity is one of the things I am very proud we spent a great deal of time working on this past year as a school and with our Focused Leader Academy.

“Don’t move information to authority, move authority to the information.”
― L. David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

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Another eye opener for me was the idea of needing to change the environment, not the person. People’s behaviors depend on the environment. If you manipulate the environment, you manipulate behaviors. Since the earliest times, humans have needed to be sensitive to their surroundings to survive, which means that we have an innate awareness of our environment and seek out environments with certain qualities. The culture and environment of an organization can facilitate or discourage interactions among people. Additionally, the environment of an organization can influence peoples’ behavior and motivation to act.

“When a flower does not bloom in your garden, you fix the environment in which it is growing. You do not fix the flower.” ~ Alexander den Heijer

IMG_0431Too many organizations believe that “leadership” is a noun based on someone’s title. I believe, however, that leadership is a verb based on someone’s actions. By that definition, everyone is a leader. If we believe everyone is a leader then effective leadership helps to unify a culture, and a collaborative culture made up of leaders and leaders can solve just about anything. Now, that is an ideal environment where everyone is a leader. Organizations should realize that leaders permeate the organization. I believe the role of a leader is to find and develop other leaders – in essence, to multiply ourselves. We must intentionally look for people displaying leadership behaviors and create a process for developing the next generation of leaders. I believe that the Focused Leader Academy has done that for us.

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