Sunday, May 25, 2014

Leadership is a Choice, Not a Rank

Lots to think about in this TED Talk. Please watch it first, then I have a few thoughts to share after.

Video of Captain Swenson

NextJump - Lifetime Employment. Note their home page:

Barry-Wehmiller Companies - Everyone took time off instead of laying people off. Note their home page:

For me, the key message in this talk was about trust. We need to trust our leaders. More importantly, our leaders need to trust us. I think that may be one of the two or three core problems in education right now.

The Federal Government doesn't trust the States.

The States don't trust School Districts.

School Districts don't trust Teachers.

Teachers don't trust students.

No one trusts anyone. In fact, we don't even trust ourselves. From the talk:
What I learned was that it's the environment, and if you get the environment right, every single one of us has the capacity to do these remarkable things, and more importantly, others have that capacity too. I've had the great honor of getting to meet some of these, who we would call heroes, who have put themselves and put their lives at risk to save others, and I asked them, "Why would you do it? Why did you do it?" And they all say the same thing: "Because they would have done it for me." It's this deep sense of trust and cooperation. So trust and cooperation are really important here. The problem with concepts of trust and cooperation is that they are feelings, they are not instructions. I can't simply say to you, "Trust me," and you will. I can't simply instruct two people to cooperate, and they will. It's not how it works. It's a feeling.
Isn't that the organization we'd all like to work in? Isn't that the educational system that would be the most effective for our students?



  1. You have an insightful blog. thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts.

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  3. Good Evening, Mr. Fisch!

    My name is Melinda Akridge. I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 510 class at the University of South Alabama. This week, I have been assigned to read your blog. I must say, I have found it to be very insightful. Particularly, I enjoy your two posts on the lack of trust within the educational system. I have also found myself having negative feelings towards using You are so right when you mention the lack of trust throughout the chain of command. It often seems that no one trusts anyone to just do their jobs. Of course, I guess this makes sense since everyone seems to be too busy making sure others are doing their jobs, to do their own work.

    Having said this, I have to tell you that your video link could not have been more timely for me, both personally and professionally. As I was watching, I began to think about what you posted about the lack of trust in every rank.(Sorry, I read first and then watched!) Anyway, it struck me. Am I always this type of leader in my own classroom? Do I make my students feel safe, and as though I am willing to sacrifice for them? Not my life, but my time, my efforts. I'm not certain that I do, and until I do how can I expect more of my leaders?

    Thank you for your insightful blog!

    Melinda Akridge