As I work my way through Daniel Pink’s new book To Sell is Human, it has been interesting for me to reflect on two of his essential points for being someone that can convince and persuade others to the needs of the group. Being a school leader is about selling, selling a vision, selling a commitment to kids, and selling everyone on the need for things like grit, perseverance and empathy during the toughest times when we have no more energy to give. Two of his factors for excellent “salesmanship” are attunement and buoyancy. In a lot of ways, these are similar to the ideas of empathy and perseverance through moments of failure.
I believe that we are all on a journey to grow in these areas, but I wonder how intentional we are in these areas within our own personal development, the development of our teacher leaders, and the development of our students. Many of those reading this have colleagues in their personal learning networks that are thinking, learning, and struggling with fresh ideas in Philadelphia as a part of Educon, the annual ideas and innovation conference hosted by the Science Leadership Academy. It is clear from the Twitter traffic this weekend that both empathy and persevering through tough times are a part of the conversation. How are you selling your community on these ideas? What stories are you telling that provide hope? What decisions are you making that showcase that these are important to you as a leader? The next phase of education is really hard. It isn’t about test scores and assessment. It is about culture building, and preparing our kids for a world where the majority of workers will be an entrepreneurs in some form. Educon is part of the silver buckshot that will help the education system to heal, and our ability to be perceptive to others, attunement, and bounce back from adversity, buoyancy, will be central to finding deep, sustainable success.