“You can’t always get what you want….”
The purpose of this article is to provide the busy, often overwhelmed new leader (or even existing leaders), with common sense ideas about how to take charge and move forward and meet key objectives with the team or organization they “got,” not what they wished they had. Along with each of the brief ten steps I recommend, I have included suggestions for further study. The steps I suggest in this article are not complex or difficult. You don’t need to hire consultants; just dive in and be a leader who brings the best out of your team or organization.
One of the first things new leaders do is assess the talents of the players they have to work with, hoping they are A or at least B level players. It doesn’t take long to discover the hard facts: they are not all A or B players, many are C or even D level. The tendency, then, is to wonder, “How can I get better players.” Yet, it is not realistic to think you can replace the C and D players; at least not right away. You can’t clean house and start from scratch, and you don’t have much opportunity to bring in new people at, hopefully, an A or B level. “What you got is what you got.” The alternative is to see yourself as a leader of humans with infinite potential. Your success is in the hands of these people, the ones you got, regardless of what level player they are, and they likely have untapped potential. The situation you are in brings to mind the Mick Jager/Keith Richard classic, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need.” Initially, your job is to to build success and achieve key results with what you have, and you likely will find you get what you need. This can be achieved achieved, if you try, through implementing the ten steps outlined in this article.
- Select people who have the capacity to move the organization to greatness
- Clearly articulate the purpose of the organization
- Create a shared vision that is compelling for all stakeholders
- Embed purpose, vision and goals holographicly into the total system and its parts
- Relentlessly pursue goals while remaining flexible to changes in the environment
- Emphasize continuous learning for all
- Demonstrate empathy for all stakeholders
- Build a culture that is both tight (directed) and loose (autonomy)
- Disperse leadership into all levels of the organization
- Commit to helping improve the world
Copyright by TargetSuccess, Inc 2013
Thanks for the email letting me know that you’d been appointed as an assistant principal. Congratulations! I am not surprised that you’ve been given responsibility for discipline, and I was delighted that you asked me for some ideas as you start this new position.
As you know, I have been observing assistant principals and other school leaders for quite some time. It seems that assistants are usually given jobs like discipline and/or supervision of classified staff. In comparison with the bigger picture of educational leadership, being responsible for discipline or classified staff may not seem very important, and it’s tempting to take on the attitude that this lowly assignment is something that everyone has to endure on their way to being a principal–like an initiation or right of passage. This attitude blinds one to the leadership opportunities in these seemingly lowly assignments. I’d encourage you to avoid this “rite of passage” attitude and become a leader in the area of discipline. Don’t just endure—LEAD! Continue reading
By Peter Pillsbury Sr.
We would all likely agree with Jim Collins in his popular book, Good To Great, that selecting and hiring the right people is key to organizational success. The most important decisions organizational leaders make is who to hire—organizations don’t achieve greatness without great people; it is that simple! Yet, often, we find selection of talent a slippery slope. The story is all too familiar and goes something like this: Bob was hired six months ago after a rigorous application process including two interviews. In the interviews he appeared friendly and convincing about how his talents would add value to the organization. The members of both interview teams had a good feeling about Bob and liked his confidence and ability to express his beliefs that were consistent with those of the organization. The consensus was a feeling that Bob would be a significant asset to the organization. Everyone involved in the selection process was excited and confident to recommend Bob above all other applicants. Continue reading
A great curriculum in the hands of a mediocre teacher—even one with a credential—is nothing more than a mediocre curriculum
Leadership, Nov-Dec, 2005 by Pete Pillsbury (While this was written 8 years ago, it is still relevant in today’s search for hiring outstanding educators)
Most administrators would agree that hiring a teacher is the most important decision they make. This decision has a greater affect on children than any other administrative decision. What a teacher believes and does as a teacher will either open or close doors to learning for students. Continue reading