Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thermometer or a Thermostat?

“We can never predict with absolute certainty the future but we are always in control of how we prepare for it.”

Most organizations, successful or not, have two types of people: Thermometers and Thermostats. How do you know which one you are?  That is easy, what do you do to contribute to the success of your organization?  Are you one of the leaders that help set the tone, or do you sit back and wait to see what happens?  The difference is much like the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat.  A thermometer is a very useful tool.  It measures the temperature and can tell you if something is too hot or too cold. However, it is limited in its usefulness…it does nothing to effect a change of temperature when needed.  There are many people that play this role in an organization.  They are useful, very good at what they do, and even necessary to provide valuable information in making decisions, but they are not the small percentage of movers and shakers needed to keep an organization on the cutting edge.

Thermostats are much different.  Thermostats can tell you the temperature, but perhaps more importantly, they have the ability to control the temperature.  They make the climate comfortable or uncomfortable, hot or cold.  They have the power and ability to change the climate to a more desirable or effective one! These people have the unique ability to adapt the climate to what it needs to be for a given situation.

 Most successful schools share a common thread at the center of all they do…an effective instructional climate guided by highly engaged instructional leaders.  This is often the principal, but the principal can’t be the only thermostat. The climate is different in every classroom and they can’t be everywhere so it also takes assistant principals, teacher leaders, instructional coaches, or just someone willing to step up and be a leader.  These leaders must be thermostats.  They need to be able to gauge the temperature and effect change as needed.  Without them, the status quo will remain and only fluctuate by chance…just like the temperature.

So the question remains, are you a thermometer that just measures the temperature of your classroom or your school?  Or are you a thermostat that controls the climate and makes the necessary changes that are needed? Everyone has the power to be both.

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