In medieval times, the year began with spring. Despite our starting the calendar year in the middle of winter, we still look to spring as a season of renewal. In my childhood, most women made a point of spring cleaning. Certainly the Easter and Passover holidays encouraged that. It was good to air out the house and make it feel as fresh and clean as the outdoors.
While some people still maintain the custom, I think many of us are so busy our efforts are more slapdash than concerted. Yet the idea has merit. I don’t only mean house cleaning—although it’s something I probably should consider as well. I think this is a good time of year to do some mental house cleaning.
The school year is entering the final phase and you are probably working at full speed to meet the demands of teachers and students. How is this year different from the past? Is Common Core the only change? Are you still doing what you have always done?
“If it ain’t broke—break it.” Good leaders never say that out loud as it generally causes alarm in those who like certainty rather than change in their lives. But the concept is to avoid complacency. If you only do what you have always done, you don’t explore the new and (possibly) risky. But without risk and change there is no innovation – no rewards.
Jim Collins has said, “Good is the enemy of great.” When things are working, you are willing to accept the status quo, but remember nothing really remains in stasis. If you are not growing and improving you are decaying and falling behind. The questions that always need to be asked are: “How can this be done better?” “What would I go for if I had all the funds and support I needed?” Why would that be a good idea?
And about the risk factor – remember leaders take risks. Another quote that’s can be scarier than the others—“Chaos is good.” If you can keep your head when things are chaotic, you can find opportunity within it.
Are you embracing change? How are you spring cleaning your program and “mental” attic?