The past month has proven that without great leadership, innovation drowns.


As with any large organization, found within are different agendas, perspectives, beliefs, and personalities. These “differences” help to make organizations unique and can provide an opportunity to differentiate. However, they can also stop change and innovation dead in their tracks.  So the trick… create an environment where individuals can thrive, but where the collective whole moves towards one common vision. That… takes great leadership.


Fortunately, in Philadelphia we have that. Paul Vallas believes that in front of us is a unique opportunity to “break ground”. This convergence of two powerful organizations is unprecedented in school development and we can not waste the opportunity. Egos must be put aside, alternative agendas tabled, problems must be seen as temporary hurdles where a solution has yet to be discovered. We must raise the level of debate, but we must do so with one common purpose… to make this the most empowered learning community found in the United States. Period.


We can not ignore constraints of budget and time. We can not do once, what can never be done again. But we can not fall victim to what is, simply because that is what is. This takes courage, it takes patience, but most importantly it takes great leadership.


For all of you in such a position, a lesson can be taken from Mr. Vallas. Know that in times of changes and challenge those around you need you to be more visible. Those around you need you to know when to calm the waters and when to ruffle the feathers. Those around you need you to set the vision and reiterate it as many times as necessary. Send email. Hang posters. Make buttons for cry’n out loud… even make people wear them! Do whatever it takes.


Those being led… offer debate, challenge the course. But when the decision is made… when the course is set, get on board. Anything less is simply not fair to others around you.


I have always been a student of leadership. It’s been fun to get such a tremendous “hands on experience”. Thank you Mr. Vallas. J