If I only knew what I know now! In my first superintendency, I had the best intentions! We were going to improve student outcomes. I was on fire. I was ready to implement a duplicatable continuous cycle of improvement. I had the goals set, and I was prepared to go. The only problem was that I forgot to build the relationships first. I was reminded of one of my early mistakes at my local gym.
One of the first mistakes I made was The Dot Board. I implemented a check-in and check-out system to increase the efficiency of the front office and ensure everyone was safe in case of an emergency. Everywhere I worked, you had to sign in and out. It was no big deal to me. If I had taken the time to seek to understand and SLOWED down, I would have seen the potential landmine I was stepping on. Quickly rumblings started about micromanaging, getting in trouble, and that I was trying to keep track of employees. Looking back, I shake my head. All this did was create tension with the staff. It became a fight over directives and compliance. It distracted us from the important work.
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Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Jobs said. “You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Pun intended! It is true. I went with my gut at the moment. I thought I was doing something that made perfect sense.
I am grateful for my time during my first superintendency. I learned about building relationships, establishing trust, and implementing continuous improvement systems. I was able to lead during a difficult time, and I am better because of the experiences. I am a better person and leader because of my time there. The community and stakeholders may never know how much difference they have made in my life. Looking backward I would absolutely do things differently. I have to trust the dots. Onward and upward!
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