leadershipday2010_smallHow ironic right? So typical of leadership today (crazed with busy) that I am writing my leadership day post a day late. Indicative for sure of why we are not moving along faster in our leading of transformational change.

We are so busy and overwhelmed with the work that who has time to change? For most of us it isn’t that we don’t want to challenge the status quo, it is simply we are so caught up in supporting the status quo that we do not have time to learn what we need to learn to lead change.
Learning takes time.

A friend of mine was talking to me yesterday and she was going on and on about how she just didn’t have time to learn new things. She didn’t have time to pour into her friends, much less read or network, yet later in our conversation she said because she was tired she wasn’t going to a concert for which she had tickets- rather she was going to lay on the couch and watch movies on TV.

I thought back to Shirky’s new book where his lead story is about how when 1900s London was overwhelmed and not sure how to spend their free time they turned to drinking gin as a way to cope. They wasted lots of time drinking and sobering up. His comparison was how in our culture we have turned to television for the same comfort. The stats he gave on just how much time we spend watching TV was mind bending. Which begs to ask the question- What if we, as educational leaders, took the time we all spend watching our favorite shows on TV and used it for design thinking: inspiration, ideation, and implementation.

Inspiration: I get this from my network. As resources and ideas are shared on Twitter, as I watch a TED Talks, as I read a blog post, have a Skype chat with my partner Will or one of our PLP community leaders I find myself inspired and motivated. Ideas start bursting in rapid succession.

Ideation:Once the ideas start coming I leverage the wisdom of the crowd. I turn to my community to help me define and sort out the ideas. Making my thinking stronger. (Notice I do this mostly with my community, not my network) The ideation takes time. They start to take on a life of their own. New ideas attach to my existing schema of conceptual frameworks and the ah-ha starts to percolate. All of the sudden I see the idea everywhere, as if it was hidden and only now that I have been made aware am I allowed to see it. It comes to life in books I am reading, conversations I am having and it formulates and grows and I begin to develop an action plan around it.

Implementation:This is the toughest one. This is where I start to try my ideas out. I test bed them gathering data to use to inform the work and make it stronger. I scale. I observe. I adjust. Action research at its best.


I found this graphic and started to think about how we implement. This graphic relates to community in the medical profession. My first reaction was — wow, in educational communities (like PLP) we share and talk and offer from our own personal expertise but where we miss it is in then acting on what we learn. Moving from conversation (ideation) to action (implementation). How many of us as leaders act upon what we read and learn from others to the point that we develop an implementation plan and evaluation plan to adjust our project based on what we learn along the way? And yet- this is the only way shift will happen. WE have to get beyond talking- beyond being inspired by our “wow” moment and get through ideation to implementation.

I love this by Seth Godin,

One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen.

Interestingly, I asked my Twitter community about the graphic above. I asked them what was missing. They didn’t see what I saw.

@snbeach re: communities of practice graphic – I’d say sustainability is missing.

- Ashley Casey DrAshCasey
@snbeach I think teachers and students need 2 learn to collaborate. We spend our lives covering our work with an arm to stop others seeing

- Andrew Smith smitha834
@snbeach The sharing often doesn’t occur because the tools (SM sites) are either looked down upon or outright blocked by school filters.

- Jan Green jangreen31
@snbeach I think we are only just scratching the surface with connecting, therefore collaboration & creating still underdeveloped
@snbeach and sharing between schools, across ditricts, regions etc is often limited to conferences etc unless people are “connected”
@snbeach I think we are weak in the sharing. On Twitter, blogs etc, we see sharing as norm, but reality in schools shows > sharing needed

- Eric Palmer DaddyOh
@snbeach It has to be about the end goal. Student outcomes. But I wonder sometimmes what some peoples end goals actually are (aka us govt)
@snbeach Evaluating patient outcomes and how straties and care plans contribute (or something like that)
@snbeach I’d change the text for each stage in the circle to include patients
@snbeach I’d take out the center boilerplate and put a vision for improved patient care in the center.

- Jan Green jangreen31
@snbeach The diagram seems closed to me. Collaboration outside PLN? Also little room for creating; new directions/meanings/understandings

- sschwister sschwister
@snbeach Students/patients.

- Eric Palmer DaddyOh
@snbeach Wow that is amazing. Where is the patient?

- Lisa Parisi LParisi
@snbeach Where are the kids? Getting to know them? Adjusting to them? etc

- Bill Ferriter plugusin
@snbeach : I don’t see evidence of any kind of external challenge to the thoughts of the self-contained groups.

- Maria Droujkova MariaDroujkova
@snbeach The voices of care recipients are missing. http://annfammed.org/cgi/content/full/8/2/170/F1

As a leader I so need my network. I so need my community. And I so need to be brave enough to not hold back on implementing my ideas. I need to ship. But mostly- I need to kill the TV. And so do you.

Tags: , , , ,

8 Responses to “Leadership Day- A Day Late”

  1. Rebecca August 1, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    I am not sure that the voices of the care recipients are missing – one could assume they are part of the evaluation and data collection. I think what is missing may be breaking out of the learning community – an external perspective

  2. Joel MacMillian August 12, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Inspiration – Ideation – Implementation – I like it!

  3. Beatrice September 5, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    These steps are define the artist’s (along with everyone else) creative process. It is what art students need to do. The ship metaphor works for me.

  4. Beatrice September 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    These steps define the artist’s (and everyone else) creative process. It is what art students do every time that have a studio assignment. The ship metaphor works for me – off into unknown/untested waters.

  5. Christopher Colvin September 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    I’m not sure what the difference is between gin, television, and the internet 2.0 All can be forms of socializing, learning about the world (sort of), or not, and each, if set in context, can be educational but if enthusiastically imbibed can lead to a critical numbness (and missed deadlines).

    It seems to me that problem of implementation is not one of time available, rather it is one of social consensus. But that is a vast topic. So one does what one can, eh?

  6. Lisa Hallee September 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    I have often referred to the start of the school year as a rushing river that sweeps me away. My friends and family have come to accept that, come mid August, I will no longer have much time for them, and I can identify with the “I’m so tired I’m just going to veg out in front of the tv” syndrome. I’m doing PLP this year, and I have found myself choosing pre-game activities, TED talks and professional development books over naps and tv in the evening, albeit often with a glass of wine by me side. I look forward to having a community that can help me turn my inspiration into implementation!

  7. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach September 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm #


    That’s great news that you have been deciding to do things that will help you become a connected learner. It will pay off for you and your students in the end. I look forward to learning with you this year.

  8. Dan September 30, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    I’m interested in your comment regarding ideation. Turning to your community vs. your network. Your community helps you define and sort out your ideas= where does the network come into play with ideation?