The New Luddites are back, and they’re packing heat. The mighty Economist writes of “the disturbing thought” that “America’s current employment woes stem from a precipitous and permanent change caused by not too little technological progress, but too much … A tipping point seems to have been reached, at which AI-based automation threatens to supplant the brain-power of large swathes of middle-income employees.” The New York Times chimes in: “technology is quickly taking over service jobs, following the waves of automation of farm and factory work.”
Here’s a question that bedevils everyone from Fortune 500 boards seeking a replacement CEO to school principals hiring a new algebra teacher, from families looking for a great electrician to baseball teams searching for a better shortstop:
THE melancholy over Steve Jobs’s passing is not just about the loss of the inventor of so many products we enjoy. It is also about the loss of someone who personified so many of the leadership traits we know are missing from our national politics. Those traits jump out of every Jobs obituary: He was someone who did not read the polls but changed the polls by giving people what he was certain they wanted and needed before they knew it; he was someone who was ready to pursue his vision in the face of long odds over multiple years; and, most of all, he was someone who earned the respect of his colleagues, not by going easy on them but by constantly pushing them out of their comfort zones and, in the process, inspiring ordinary people to do extraordinary things. ”
Most schools have bad strategies. At least, that's what author Richard Rumelt would say. His recently-released volume, Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, incorporates multiple examples from organizations (including schools) that highlight the difference between good strategy work and bad strategy work. Rumelt has been engaged in strategy work for over thirty years, and is no-nonsense when it comes to pointing out "strategies" that really aren't strategies. His approach works: readers learn quickly how to spot bad strategy.
Earlier this spring, an email popped up in my inbox announcing a retirement party for a former colleague, a long-standing faculty member at a school where I used to teach. My first thought was, “I wish I could be there.” My second thought was, “Already?”
Please enjoy this excellent post by David Marshall. David beautifully describes characteristics of a great teacher/mentor. Do you have someone in your career who has made such an impact on you? Please click the link above to go directly to David's post.
One of the hottest ideas in education policy these days is tying teacher pay to student performance on standardized tests. The theory is that offering up cash bonuses will prompt unmotivated and unaccountable teachers to get their acts together and do better by our kids.
One great thing about heading a school is that you never stop learning. There are new issues to face, new personalities to deal with, and you never know what a new day will bring. Early on in my career, I had to learn about building materials and asbestos abatement; later, some biology with AIDS and blood born pathogens. I had to brush up on my PR skills to decide how to respond when one of my teachers was lead way from school in handcuffs, curb my development instincts when a major donor prospect offered me a spectacular sum of money for the school if I would expel the child of a rival. Even when the decisions are more mundane, there are hundreds to make every day, and the choices you make will determine your tenure and your legacy.