Saturday, May 12, 2012

Profound Objectivity Through One Simple Question

Last week I spent the better part of a day at the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast, watching and listening to people like Tim Tebow, John Maxwell and Andy Stanley speak about leadership. Specifically, the speakers addressed making choices in positions of leadership.

Perhaps the most significant nugget (no pun intended) I took away from the whole experience came about five minutes into the morning. Andy Stanley presented a simple question to the audience for us to use when we're facing a choice or decision that requires clarity and objectivity. My colleagues and I have been returning to this question for more than a week, talking about its gravity and its brilliance. Here's the question, from Andy Stanley, to ask yourself: If I were no longer in my current position, what would my replacement do?

Just chew on that a moment.

This question brings instant objectivity and should make tough choices not so tough. This question can be applied to myriad situations in the lives of all educators - administrators, coaches, department chairs and classroom teachers alike. What should I do with that coach or teacher who isn't getting the job done? What should I do with next year's reading list? Should I keep using the same yellowed notes and mimeographed worksheets I created in 1983? If I avoid the issue and the uncomfortable conversation, will the problem go away?

If I were no longer in my current position, what would my replacement do?

If I had heard nothing else all day long, this one thought would have made the whole day worth the time I spent away from school. I challenge you to begin to examine things in your world through this lens.


Jim Brown said...

I guess its nice to be able to look at things through a new set of eyes. Sometimes things become much more clear when you are able to take personalities out of tough decisions.

Jim Brown said...

I guess this is why its nice to be able to bounce ideas off someone else from time to time that doesn't have an emotional stake in the decision.