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Let Me Tell You A Story

Written by George Petrusma on April 8th, 2019

This true story happened to me recently. Allow me to set the stage. I led an admissions meeting with a couple where one of the adults asked me some very penetrating questions about our school. Questions like, “How do you know that you are doing what you say you are doing?” and “What are the measurement tools you use to calculate progress and growth?” stimulated a rich conversation about John Knox Christian School and its structures.

Rarely had I encountered such great questions during an admissions interview. There was something different about the depth and focus of these questions. They were coming from a person who made a living by identifying emerging leaders within  the large financial corporate sector.

Realizing the skill set of this individual, I determined that it was crucial that for this person to be on our strategic planning team. It was also crucial that they worked with me on my own evaluation and development plan. This was invaluable to us.

I loved watching this person set up my evaluation process: reading my personal history from elementary school until now; interviewing 16 people with whom I work closely; and hiring a psychologist to analyze my tendencies, strengths, and challenges. All of that culminated with an evaluation complete with five growth areas. It was the most thorough process and evaluation I have had in my career.

While I appreciated each of the five growth areas, the area of building leadership capacity was more intense for my coach and me. Developing the next generation of leaders at John Knox Christian School was an area that I previously had given little attention. That changed quickly. Several young teachers with much potential have now been identified and meet with me regularly to discuss and implement their leadership growth plan.

You have received the short version of the journey. As I reflect on leadership “take-aways” from the experience, I think of the following:

  • Seize opportunities.
  • Watch for gifted people to be utilized in significant roles.
  • Work with a leadership coach/mentor.
  • Be open to challenge for your own personal growth.
  • Identify young teachers with leadership potential.
  • Develop a plan for the next generation’s leadership growth and development.

That’s one of my stories. What’s one of yours? As you think about what happens in your leadership role, are you reflecting well? Are you making changes to who you are so that your development is accelerated, and you become a model of growth for your staff?

George can be reached at toronto@edvance.ca.

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