Leadership Best Practices

I’m listening to Susan Scott’s recent book, Fierce Leadership. She has an enjoyable writing style. One of her analogies was something to the effect of – I’m paraphrasing – Are your best leadership practices like eating peas with a knife? Then maybe you need to rethink those practices. I can see I’m going to enjoy listening to this book. “Best practices” is quite the buzzword in education – whether it be teaching, learning or leading. Too often, though, they are outdated. They may have been “best” years ago, but our spoon has morphed into a knife and some of us haven’t realized it yet! Personally, though, can we change the peas to a bowl of ice cream or something? Much more appetizing! And the analogy still works.

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Sir Ken Robinson interview with Michael Hyatt

You may have seen Sir Ken Robinson’s two TED talks: Do Schools Kill Creativity? and Bring on the Learning Revolution! Earlier this year, Sir Ken spoke at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast, focusing on creativity, imagination and leadership. Michael Hyatt interviewed Sir Ken after his talk. Here are some of my notes and thoughts.

Creativity & Innovation – more important than ever, especially in education.

Imagination – the power to bring to mind things that are not present. How do we do this in schools? How open are we to student questions?

Creativity – putting the imagination to work. I often hear teachers say they are not creative. Creativity isn’t some special power. This is typically reinforced within our celebrity culture. “If you’re a human being, it comes with the kit. Of course, you have to develop it.” You can be creative at anything at all as long as it involves your intelligence. Creativity isn’t solely for the arts. This is a limited view.

Relationship between creativity and leadership – If you as a leader want people to have original ideas that have value, you need to create a culture in which everyone has ideas. Everyone is capable of creativity, but getting people to come up with the ideas is the challenge. How can leaders do this?

  • Put people in touch with their own creative abilities – skills and techniques – identify their talents.
  • Recognize that fresh thinking and innovation comes from teams and collaboration.
  • Identify factors within the organization that get in the way of creating a culture of innovation.

What are the talents of the people I work with? How often do we generate innovation in teams – how often is it a collaborative process? What are the barriers? I would like to think about these questions in regards to our leadership team as well as our technology team. I think this is really important as we step forward with the TL2014 initiative.

Like a farmer, leaders create a culture – a climate – where ideas flourish. This is a great analogy I had never thought of….leader as farmer.

School systems actively – maybe not deliberately – suppress creativity. No argument there.