We need to get down from the balcony and sweat the small stuff

source: http://www.fastcompany.com/1798504/box-ceo-aaron-levie-create-something-exceptional-do-sweat-small-stuff

source: http://www.fastcompany.com/1798504/box-ceo-aaron-levie-create-something-exceptional-do-sweat-small-stuff

How many of you read the book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” I did and I agreed with it…. Until I started my third year as a principal. Why the shift? Glad you asked…

Over the past 10 or 15 years the message to administrators has been something like this…. Don’t be a manager, be a leader; stay in the balcony so you can see the orchestra; empower people and give them ¬†freedom to work… All sounds like great advice, but what happens when the results from the organization are not what you expect? Are teachers and administrators matching their espoused (what the say) with their theories-in-use (what they actually do)? These are the questions that I am wrestling with as an educational leader in the 21st century.

So how will I lead differently? My plan this year is to pay more attention to the details. As I enter classrooms I will be looking, listening and interacting differently. I will be looking for standards-based instruction, listening for common language among grade levels and asking higher order questions of the staff and the students. I will be placing more emphasis on lesson plans and checking plans against the implementation of those plans.


Are we doing what we say we are doing?


I want to know why more then ever.

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2 thoughts on “We need to get down from the balcony and sweat the small stuff

  1. Hey Spike,
    I know what you are saying and I agree and disagree with you. I agree that you have to sweat the small stuff. Yes, you have to monitor what’s going on. On the other hand, you have to delegate to good people as well. If you try to do it yourself they will take you out in a body bag. Do you think the top CEO’s know all the details of what is happening in their companies? However, you have to be like a general contractor and have an idea of what is happening in all areas. You don’t have to be an expert. In my opinion your lieutenants are the key and your hiring the best people is crucial.Remember, this is only my opinion…

    • Tom
      Thanks for the comments. I love the discourse so no need to apologize. In fact, the next post I did after this one addresses your concerns. Yet, all too often administrators are using the balcony approach to manage and missing the important issues facing teaching and learning.

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