The Leader Games

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ds/2012/10/Crossword-Leadership-1093561-150×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ />I am currently participating in a series created by George Couros called “Leadership 2.0” . The series is focusing on what school leadership looks like in the context of today’s world and how innovative leaders are pushing their schools and organizations forward. Fascinating, right?

As I listened to Chris Smeaton, a superintendent from up north, speak last week on visionary leadership, it was impossible to keep up with the stream of his gems of greatness. I wanted to tweet almost every statement as a “what I should be doing” kinda note taking tweet.

A couple that stood out…

Having a clear vision is going to be what sets you apart as a leader. If you are content with the status quo and are content with just going through the day to day mechanics of a campus, you’re a manager, not a leader. There’s a difference. Why is it so important to have a vision?

The director of the Hunger Games, Gary Ross,  said that one of the most important things he does as a director is to sit alone, at his desk, for hours, before he begins and writes out everysinglething he can about the movie. From staging to angles to directions…he writes it all out the way he wants to see it happen. This is his vision. Everything that happens from this point on goes BACK to that vision. He talks about how on the set in the heat of the moment questions are asked that you may be tempted to answer based on practicality.

All decisions have to flow out of a single vision that you had alone, calm, without the questions, doubts or negativity that can surround you. Inevitability, those answers that should be based on logistics default to what’s practical.

A leader wants answers to questions that reference back to the clarity of their vision. The costume designer said that when she has a question, she thinks back to what Gary Ross’s vision is, not what she interpreted from her reading of the books/script. It’s HIS vision, not hers, and she makes decisions based on THAT. These are Academy Award winners here…grown, capable, creative minds. It’s not as if they couldn’t answer but they see the importance of the unified vision of their director, their leader.


Is your vision as an administrator so clear to your staff that they are able to conduct their classrooms in a manner that embodies that vision? I say staff because top to bottom, that’s how visible and impacting your vision should be. From the cafeteria workers to the janitor to the office staff to the students and teachers…everyone should know and be able to base their actions on your vision. A vision is more than just success on standardized tests. A vision defines how you feel about discipline, attitude, homework, community involvement. It transcends the mechanics of your job and instead becomes a campus mindset.


As I continue to learn and grow, I see even more how I (someday) want my campus to be a product of my preparation instead of the preparation being a product of the campus. I don’t want to adapt and adjust to the tone, but instead be the one who shapes and defines it. Vision is one those hot button words that comes up when one discusses leadership, but this week really defined it as one of the most important things a leader needs to do.


May the odds ever be in your favor,