Two things can be true at the same time. School leaders can learn this concept in hard or easy ways. Some tend to think there is just one solution or way to address concerns, interests and needs. Really? More astute leaders recognize that there is complexity and multiple ways of addressing solutions to challenges with leading and taking schools to higher levels of performance.
Consider haiku as a both a metaphor and strategy for finding elegant solutions to apparently complex situations. Haiku is both simple and deep.
With teaching and learning there can be basic factual recall and higher level thinking skills and applications. There can be rigor and relevance. With school climate, think safety and civility. We can make decisions that meet the needs of the community and also serve the students themselves. Yet, problems can exist and persist. When it comes to solutions, one should not let perfect get in the way of something that works better than previous practice. A learning organization can take a continuous improvement approach to modify and subtly change systems so that they work more effectively and efficiently over time — seemingly simple and deep.
Pushback on all of this can deal with relativity and false moral equivalence. The experienced leader recognizes the pitfalls connected with buying in too quickly to persuasive stories and excuses -- that truth and lies can exist in the same events or scenarios. We need to be open to the possibility that others may have the ability to achieve solutions that are unavailable to us in the moment. That we may be able and unable at the same time.
Experience and reflection can help one to better understand that daily we face what Lewin identified as driving and restraining forces. We learn from Wheatley and Gleick that when attuned to both chaos and complexity that there can be regularity within an array of irregularities. From this understanding comes the trust in being able to recognize problems and make decisions primed by executing solutions that may not be perfect but, in the moment, work.
With this in mind, one can bring the leadership trinity more clearly into focus. That getting to know your people, talking about performance, and leading for results necessarily requires two way communication. This again illustrates the reality of the ‘two things’ principle.
The wisdom of understanding that two or more things can be true at the same time is a variation on being able to walk and chew gum at the same. That to go fast one may need to go slow. As with haiku, we can lead and operate in ways that are both simple and deep.
Dr. Mike Dietz, Dir. Innovation and Global Outreach; 262-365-3947 @mikedietz92
. Contact Mike to discuss ways that Concordia PEP can work with your school or district to help take your school to a higher of performance that makes a difference.