The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros

Part II: Laying the Groundwork – 4. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

  • Spending time developing relationships and building trust is crucial to moving forward as a whole. It is far easier to trust someone when you have a relationship. Saying no to innovation will make people reluctant to try new things. As Steve Jobs was fond of saying, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do.” Some leaders fear success. This happens when someone does something new and it’s quashed for fear that everyone else will have to do it. A good way for all staff to build relationships with students is to be more visible outside of one’s classroom or office. The additional contact in the halls or other common areas will also improve supervision. Supervision should be seen as an opportunity rather than as a chore.
  • When it comes to professional development, ask each teacher what they want to learn. Engage in listening sessions with individuals or small groups and limit large group sessions. Your goal should be to spark and build confidence and get out of the way. Focus on empowering teacher-learners to become leaders.

5. Learn, Lead, Innovate

  • In business, customers are the end users. In education, the learners are the end users. (Doug: I have long espoused the idea for viewing students, parents, and subordinate staff as customers who I was there to serve.) George describes an experiment where a teacher shadowed a student for two days. This featured endless sitting, mostly passive reception of information, and almost no choice. The big question for teachers is, “Would you want to be a student in your class?” It’s vital to put yourself in the place of those you serve if you really want to innovate.
  • When George wanted to start blogging in his schools, he decided to do one himself first. This allowed him to see the effort required and the benefits of what became his personal digital portfolio. Now the 10,000 students in his entire school division are doing the same thing. Learn more from Share this:
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