Friday, August 28, 2009

Job or Responsibility?

I have followed Jim Collins' books over the past six years and have tried to adopt his leadership principles in my work as head of school. So much of what he talks about makes such good sense. In his recent book How the Mighty Fall, I point you in the direction of reading his Appendix 5: WHAT MAKES FOR THE "RIGHT PEOPLE" IN KEY SEATS.

Having spent the first 11 years of my career in boarding school doing the triple threat—teaching, coaching, and dormitory duty, I quickly decided the way for me to survive was to "live the life" rather than treat my work as a job.  It has proven to be the way to approach any job that I have had.  In Collins' Appendix 5 he cites six generic characteristics, one of them being "THE RIGHT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE 'JOBS'; THEY HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES.  They grasp the difference between their task list and their true responsibilities.  The right people can complete the statement, 'I am the one person ultimately responsible for . . .'"

As an aside, when I asked a long-time, successful business owner if he read Collins' latest book, he responded to my email by saying, "I am reading it, too. One must always keep his/her eye on the ball and remember, the ball is moving!!!"

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