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~Core Values + Time = Primary Greatness

Stephen R. Covey convinced me that there are basically two primal ways to live life: You can live a life of primary greatness or you can live a life of secondary greatness. Previous learning along side “Primary Greatness ~ the 12 levers of Success.” Taught me that living a life of high integrity, responsibility and contribution far outweigh the superficial rewards in what he calls “Secondary greatness,” money, popularity and meaningless accolades. Stephan R. Covey passed away in 2012 after a bicycle accident. I was living in Utah at the time and his passing was mourned by an entire state. His legacy is simply amazing!

In one chapter titled, “The Lever of Priority” along with previous knowledge around Habit 2 & 3 Covey talks about saying no! Neglecting what is urgent but not important. This allows us to align our core beliefs with our most precious gift, our time. Great leaders escape the chaos, and do great  work.

  • Busyness is the essence of management
  • Creativity is the essence of leadership

Think back to the 4 quadrants:

  1. Quadrant I am for the immediate and important deadlines.
  2. Quadrant II is for long-term strategizing and development.
  3. Quadrant III is for time-pressured distractions. They are not really important, but someone wants it now.
  4. Quadrant IV is for those activities that yield little is any value. These are activities that are often used for taking a break from time pressured and important activities.

As a school leader I want to spend the majority of my time on my true priorities: things that are important to me but not necessarily urgent, such as preparation, prevention, planning, relationship building, creation, and the empowerment of others. The best school leaders focus on the things that matter the most.

Educators are some of the busiest people I know & staff turnover is high and the perceived rewards are low. Would turnover be as high if all educators were given permission to let go of the urgent but non-important tasks? We need to focus on the passions and creative fire inside our teachers. I believe greatness lays in the heart of all, we must find a way to bring it to the surface again.

A very important learning is for educators to distinguish between the important and unimportant. This requires common organizational vision aligned with core values of individuals. This judgment required teachers to know ones true north, their principles to live by.

Why we all became educators!

Lastly, we must recognize our weaknesses and use the strengths of others to balance our teams. When organizations shift their daily operations from dependent to independent, landing on interdependence true greatness ensues. Creative work in the field of education is difficult to maintain, as the demands and pressures are ever changing. Those creative educators who stop at independence usually burn out. Covey calls them shooting stars. Teachers that refuse to create an interdepend team around them, leading to high turnover. Without true teamwork and collaboration outside forces will push against creativeness. We must have interdependent skills and mindsets to build working teams. Ones weakness must be balanced by another’s strengths to solve the adaptive issues we face. Synergize!

Let’s put our collective passions and creativity at the forefront of education! Love kids, serve others and make our schools great.


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