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The Skinny on Leadership

From the desk of Stephanie Clark

I recently read Motion Leadership: The Skinny on Becoming Change Savvy by Michael Fullan.  Communication without action is almost meaningless is one of the key concepts discussed in Fullan’s book.  This really stopped me in my tracks and started me thinking about how many times as school leaders we talk and talk, but nothing happens.  Maybe it’s because we focus all of our energy on communicating a message, but we run out of steam when it is actually time to take action.  Or maybe our message was so confusing that our staff couldn’t identify the “take away” or exactly what they were supposed to do next.  As a result, schools often don’t make the changes and growth that are needed for students to achieve at their fullest potential.

When the message from the leader is too cluttered or fragmented then it is a challenge to gain full “buy in” from the staff.  Teachers often feel like jugglers – so many balls to keep in the air and so few hands!  School leaders need to keep it simple when they are trying to implement organizational change.

Leaders should:

  • Focus on a few things.
  • Communicate clearly.
  • Expect action.

School leaders need to find “the skinny” – the smallest number of high yield actions with easy to understand directions that will give positive results.  Maybe this means those long action plans in 3” binders that get put on the shelf need to be replaced by one or two page plans that everyone understands. Make them “skinny”.

I really enjoyed this book! It made me reflect on what kind of leader I was and what kind of leader I want to be.  I would recommend that any school leader – whether at the campus or central office level, read this book and think about leading “skinny”.

Watch a clip about Motion Leadership HERE!

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