Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Best Analogies for success

With the beginning of a new year, I'd like to step back and share some big-picture thoughts on what success – and a path to get there – might look like.  I wrote an article about this in 2005 (full text below and at:  Here's an excerpt:

Through various organizations I've been involved with over the years, I've studied a wide range of schools -- public, private, charter, parochial, etc. Among those that serve the most difficult students in the toughest neighborhoods, there are schools that are achieving educational miracles, and their secrets of success are quite similar (for a great book on this topic, I recommend No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning). So what are their secrets and how might they be applied to the public education system?

Empowering key people
The first step to reforming any large, dysfunctional organization -- note that this also applies equally to companies (think about this the next time you're evaluating a corporate turnaround effort) -- is identifying and empowering the key people. By this, I don't mean the senior executives; I mean the people on the front lines closest to the customers. In a police department, these are the patrol officers and precinct commanders; in a school system, the teachers and principals.

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