Monday, 2 April 2007

Geoff Roberts, a governor at NW SILC and the Elmete BESD SILC was stimulated to contact me after reading the article I wrote for the latest Governors' Bulletin; it's good to know that someone reads it...

Geoff writes...

Hi there Chris, I found your first page article in the last Governors’ Bulletin heartening and the overflow onto p2 rang so many bells for me. You asked what I have learned over the years; I will limit myself to learning about change, which has been the focus of my professional practice for the last 20! I find myself intrigued by the comparisons between running a for-profit entity and a school. There are more similarities than many seem to recognise – budgets that are never enough, variable leadership/management capability, a range of employee engagement, often poorly-understood customer needs and less than adequate communications channels with them, often a lack of clearly defined strategic vision and people stuck in the past, poorly defined targets in the sense of both driving appropriate behaviours and their SMARTness….I could go on. Conversely there are shining examples of good practice that often don’t get picked up by others – the ‘not invented here’ syndrome!, some truly dedicated people albeit often dedicated to the profession rather than any individual organisation, people and companies constantly driving for improvement…

As a change agent I carry around a large number of models/tools/ideas and just a few key thoughts:
  • Start from where you are. It might not be where you want to be, but you cannot realistically start from anywhere else.
  • Do what you can, where you can, when you can. There are so many doors to explore during a process of change that I no longer waste my time pushing against stuck ones, I spend time identifying open doors and then go through them to stimulate change.
  • The Ripple Effect. Everything I do has consequences, positive or negative, beyond the immediate audience.
  • It’s about people. The processes, procedures and the like are important and the fanciest most effective organisation in the world needs people to run the kit. Focus on the people and the rest will follow.

Thanks for the stimulation of your article Chris.

The SILCs have come along way since I started here in Leeds. Governance is about strategic leadership and it is reassuring to have colleagues of the calibre of Geoff taking forward the special educational needs agenda.


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