One of my all-time favorite bands is Led Zeppelin; I own just about every one of their albums. If you ask me, it doesn't get much better than the 6:45 mark of "Stairway to Heaven," and I have been known to belt out this song, particularly in my younger years, but that is a different post for a completely different setting. The other day I was listening to another one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs as I was driving in between the two schools that I serve. This song prompted some thinking about education, changes on the horizon and it happens to be the title of this post.
There is one certainty in 2016...change. Whether we are studying a new instructional technique to engage students, establish more efficient methods of collecting performance data, finding different ways to connect with families or recruiting new members to join our teams, change is happening rapidly before our eyes. We consistently look for better or more efficient ways of doing business with the end goal of improving each day. It is easy to get lost in these changes, as our world continues to move at a record breaking pace with daily advancements in technology and web-based tools. I am a proponent of change and have attempted to embrace new tools, methods and ideas as they have come my way. As I think about change and forward movement, I often find myself focused on the constants and despite how many changes come our way, the song remains the same in some respects.
We've heard this before: relationships, relationships, relationships. Nothing could be more accurate. It doesn't matter how efficient of a system we've created or how much money we've invested in the latest maker space if we do not have a significant connection with the people in our business. There are people behind the instruction, assessment, coding application, Facebook post and everything else within our field. When we communicate, establish trust and appreciate those around us, the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish. Whether we are living in 1916 or 2016, it doesn't matter, it is always going to be about positive relationships and connecting with people.
I know this team has received a great deal of criticism in recent years with "Deflategate," "Spygate," among others, but you really cannot argue with the success of the New England Patriots in the past fifteen years. There have been many faces that have contributed to the success of this team and it seems as though skill players continue to come in and out, but it doesn't really matter, the direction and the results remain the same. This organization has developed a system of excellence that continues to produce amazing results year after year, regardless of the surrounding cast. It certainly doesn't hurt to have Tom Brady running the offense with the genius of Bill Belichick standing by his side! The point that I am trying to make is that there has been a system established to produce excellence, regardless of the supporting cast. I believe this can be created within our organizations as well when we are clear of our direction, assemble the proper team and are relentless in our path to excellence.