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We move from ‘Good to Great’ (with the support of Jim Collins)

I love my job and I love my holidays. Every holiday, I find that I have more time to think and reflect. I love reading (dodgy chick lit, Mann Booker prize novels, lots of children’s fiction, Twitter-the list goes on). I am fortunate that I can read really quickly. As a young child I remember being questioned in ‘top infants’ as to whether I had actually read the whole of the Wide Range Reader I’d been given as I had read it so quickly. Not a great party trick but massively useful nonetheless.

However holidays for me are also the time that massive imposter system creeps in. What happens when others find out that I am not as good as they might think I am? What if I stop having ideas or thoughts as to how to enhance our provision? And the most scary; what if people stop trusting and believing in me?

This holiday a podcast was recommended to me and I decided that whilst driving rather than listening to music I would try it out. I listened to Jim Collins talking on “Eat, Sleep, Work repeat’” and I can highly recommend it. With apologies if the quotes aren’t verbatim, this is what resonated…

1.    “More disciplined the environment the more creative we can be.” We are currently creating a book inspired by the wonderful Clare Banks at Olympus Trust on our St Anne’s pedagogy. This will hopefully ensure clarity for all staff, both old and new and ensure increased clarity over our non-negotiables to enable all staff to have more space to think and be creative about what the children in their class are learning.

2.    “People are the most important. You don’t always know where you might go next but if you have the right people together you will get there.” And “Getting the right people on the right seats on the bus”. As I have said in previous blogs, over the last 5 years I have been fortunate to employ over 70 members of staff. I truly think that we increasingly have the right staff and with a bit of shuffling for September they will be in the right seats. That doesn’t mean the seats remain the same year on year. As our organisation grows and people change and develop, there will always be shuffling. Maybe we look at more shuffling across our Trust in the future?

3.    “Level 5 leaders show humility alongside the desire for their organisation to be really, really good.”  Imposter syndrome could also be called humility and is beneficial to us all. We are all learners and need to passionately strive to be better. This doesn’t mean that we work harder and harder but that we focus on becoming as Tom Rees would say ‘awesomely capable’ in our roles.

4.    “Leadership is about trust”. I trust all of our teachers to do what is right for the children in their care. Sometimes we get it wrong, or what we try to implement doesn’t work but I know that we have staff who come into work to do a good job. My job as a leader is to coach, to listen, to offer suggestions and to ask questions. This all comes from a place of trust and honesty. We will keep pushing our metaphorical fly wheel and try to get better and better because that is our job and it is the best job in the world.

But really it’s not about me; it’s about us. At St Anne’s and across The Priory Learning Trust we are building a “pocket of greatness” as Jim Collins would say. We have recruited great people. We trust each other to be great in every pocket of our environment. We understand that sometimes being great means we try something out, we get it wrong and we change it but our fly wheel momentum keeps moving. We have the courage to try. And to keep ooking for ways to make our good little school great.

Any of us can be great in our own small way and as educators it is our moral imperative to be so.

Lisa Dadds

Headteacher – St Anne’s Church Academy

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