“The most serious mistakes are not being made as the result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions.” – Peter Drucker
Henry Ford is quoted as saying before he built the first car, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Asking people what they want is often the wrong question. Steve Jobs frequently talked about creating devices people would want before they even knew they wanted them.
Public education is a tough gig . . . we want parent and community involvement, but we are often asking the wrong questions. We must ask voters for revenue, so we want them to be happy, but they are not the educational experts. Our parents aren’t futurists, economists, or employment experts. By in large, our parents want school to look like school when they were in school. The problem is, we are asking the wrong questions.
We should be asking questions about future employment, about success five years after graduation, and about sustainable growth models. We shouldn’t be asking questions about static information. We must be asking questions about growth mindsets, embracing productive discomfort, and relentless pursuit of excellence.
As educational leaders, we must step up, adjust and adapt, and purposefully work to frame the right questions. Just as it would have been a shame if Henry Ford had sought a way to build faster horses, it would be a shame if we found a way to better prepare students for success in 1999.