I read anarticle in Forbestoday that discussed what we should expect from business leaders in 2014. This made me think about what we should expect from educational leaders in 2014. Many of the overarching ideas align with the Forbes article, and yet the reasoning behind their application to ed leaders differs a bit.
1. An Identity You Can Count On
Expect we know who we are as leaders, our core values, and our influences. We should be able to look in the mirror every day and ask (+ answer):
What do you believe?
Why do you believe that?
What's the most recent evidence that shows you believe these things?
2. Sense of Urgency
For educational leaders, lives of kids and families are at stake each day and we take this seriously. The "market" in which many of us exist is shifting. For example, in Washington State we're implementing Federal, State, and local initiatives related to teacher/principal evaluation, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), standards-based instruction/assessment/grading/curriculum, cultural competency, etc. On top of that, charter schools are becoming a reality. Our traditionally red ocean approaches to the educational arena are quickly shifting to be redefined within a blue ocean state.In 2014, we will strive to keep up with these changes, while forging ahead with a sense of urgency that leads to making a difference for each student.
3. Use the Best of What's Around
Educational leaders in 2014 will foster 21st century skills within our schools/districts/teams and break down human barriers for educators/leaders/students/families to use technology in classrooms, communication, collaboration, national/global connections, etc. The 21st century is nearly 13% complete. Almost all Pk-8 students have grown up in the 21st century. In light of this reality, educational leaders in 2014 will establish flexible systems within which innovation and creativity can flourish. We will invite innovative ideas to be shared so we can help negotiate terms that will allow for the fruition of such ideas.
4. Increased Collaboration
Collaboration is recognizing that leadership success comes most to those who are surrounded by people who want their success to continue (Llopis, 2013). Expect educational leaders to leverage Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) online and ongoing communication with fellow association members. It used to be we might connect with fellow leaders at meetings and annual conferences. Now, we're able to connect via tools like Twitter, Google Hangouts, and Facebook on a regular basis. I love that associations, like ASCD, are supporting this! They've coordinated monthly Hangouts for Emerging Leaders (and alumnus). Leaders who are connected will be more supported and inspired on a regular basis during 2014.
5. In-Depth Understanding of OD
Understanding and applying OD best practices is a necessity in today's shifting landscape of education. Change will not be forever, but it is expected to be constant for the foreseeable future (Anderson, 2012). You can expect educational leaders in 2014 to hear this statement then draw on OD knowledge and experiences to collaboratively lead a SWOT analysis that informs work, develop communication plans, assign project managers, mentor colleagues in regard to OD, and utilize progress monitoring tools (like dashboards). You can expect us to ask tough questions that challenge traditional thinking about educational systems and lend themselves to increased clarity in the long run.
6. Communication, communication, communication
For real estate, the important piece is location, location, location. In leadership, that translates to communication, communication, communication! This rings true as we move into 2014. You can expect educational leaders to be increasingly attentive to both internal and external communication strategies, leveraging many 21st century tools.
Anderson, D. L. (2012). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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