Every leader leaves a legacy, which is the aggregate of the story he or she told over time. – Disney Institute
What do you want to be remembered for? How do you want your co-workers and friends to remember you?
The education community in Ohio recently lost a giant. Don Scriven served many schools in our area as legal counsel for decades. Mr. Scriven has left a lasting legacy through his character, authentic love for public education, and respect for others. His quick wit and one-liners are legendary. Don’s legacy will forever be his integrity, intellect, and authenticity. As a rookie superintendent, over 15 years ago, Don said to me in a matter-of-fact conversation, “The more you try to play lawyer, the more money you need to pay me to clean-up your mistakes. Why don’t you just leave lawyering to the professionals?” I have never forgotten those words.
Leaving a legacy isn’t about the things we create; leaving a legacy is about how people remember our character and our behavior.
Each and every day, lead with character and purpose. Create your legacy based on who you are, not the things you leave behind.
Everyone knows that we learn by doing – this is a timeless truth. We also know that “learning by doing” is based on the premise that we are going to fail, learn, and try again. It is imperative that we change the paradigm in school related to failure; we must instill in our students a willingness to fail.
We all make mistakes – big mistakes and little mistakes. We misspeak, act out of emotion, and lose focus. No one is at their best every moment of every day. We must learn from our actions and strive to be better. Some failures are known only to us – some mistakes are known to the masses – but each of us has an opportunity to get better and to grow, each and every day.
With discipline in our lives, by pressing pause to be intentional in our words and actions, we make better decision. We can reflect on failure, identify our areas of weakness, and live lives of continual growth. Don’t let past errors or failures bring you down . . . use them to lift you up to be a better version of you. As adults there is nothing more powerful than modeling this for the young people in our lives.
If you want to change the world, start by making your bed. – Admiral William H. McRaven
In his book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can change Your Life . . . And Maybe the World, Admiral McRaven shares, “It was my first task of the day, and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline. It showed my attention to detail, and at the end of the day it would be a reminder that I had done something well, something to be proud of, no matter how small the task.”
We teach our students to “do the right thing” even when no one is watching. The discipline of making your bed in the morning starts the day off with intentional behavior. There are many events each day that require us to respond with skill. There are also actions and behaviors that we control . . . habits that serve as the foundation for living with purpose. We practice, we live, an attention to detail and commitment to excellence. We don’t do anything “half way” and we live our lives with focus.
Commit to do the little things in the right way . . . when you do the little things well you are ready to handle the bigger things with the same focus, attention, and skill.
Schools must work directly with business and industry to match skills, talent, and interests with workforce needs.
We often hear the media reporting that there is a shortage of specific skilled labor in Central Ohio. We have thousands of unfilled jobs due to lack of qualified applicants. This is a failure at both the education and business levels. Schools must partner with our area corporations to create the next generation of workers. We, as educators, can’t keep doing what we are doing and expect different results.
Hilliard Schools are engaging several area businesses, inviting them to our Innovation Campus, and having them teach specific skills to our students. We are creating a recruitment pipeline to the job market. Some students will have the opportunity to “earn to learn” when they graduate from Hilliard. They will be hired directly from in-school experiences, into good paying jobs, with opportunities for advancement within the company.
Where we see gaps, we must partner to close them. We must breakdown silos and historic firewalls to solve problems together. Turf battles and institutional barriers may protect adult interests, but harm efforts to prepare students for success. We all must step up and do the work
School today shouldn’t look like it did in 1990. We are preparing students for a different workforce.
Change is difficult. There is comfort when our systems and services are familiar. As parents, there is comfort when our children’s school experience is just like our experience decades earlier. While comfort is easy; it isn’t what is required of us in public education today.
Public schools today are preparing students for a much different world. What it takes to be Ready for Tomorrow is changing at a rapid pace. Public education doesn’t need little changes; we need to stop nibbling at the edge. We need to continue to innovate, embrace the productive discomfort of change, and question the status quo. It isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be celebrated by everyone. We simply need to engage our community and do the work.
Yes, you need talent to win, but talent cannot replace leadership. – Tim Kight
The most talented team doesn’t always win the championship.
The most talented staff doesn’t always prepare the most successful students.
The most skilled sales team doesn’t always sell the most product.
Yes, we must cultivate and develop talent, but talent alone doesn’t get it done. The world is filled with talented failures. Every organization requires leadership to create a culture of trust. Every organization demands leadership to provide clarity and create support systems.
Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group, a tribute to our combined effort. – Walt Disney
Walt Disney had a vision; he had a dream. While Walt didn’t live to see Disney World in Orlando open in 1971, his vision lived on in the culture and company he created. Still today, decades after his death, the culture and expectations established by Walt are at the core of Disney’s behavior. Everything that is Disney today is an accomplishment of a group; it is a tribute to a combined team effort.
No single individual is responsible for culture, results, and success. The Power of the Team is at the core of every successful organization. Team culture built on relationships, equity, empathy, and high expectations perform at elite levels. Doing the work demands support within the team; accomplishments are a tribute to the entire team