Question: How can we re-image leadership and create a new paradigm that will enhance accountability and stop the ‘flying under construction’? What should the governance structure look like?
First for a leader to be successful in trying to change a status quo, they need an understanding of the previous paradigm. They need to study old patterns and see why people they lead do things the way they do. This will help that one in a leadership capacity to see what needs change and what does not. In the case study, Mary Jones has a thing for fixing what is broken without first establishing whether it is really broken. She fails to involve the board members in deciding whether change is really necessary.
Leadership should seem to be coming from those that are being led. It should come one step at a time without sudden radical changes like the ones Mary Jones is trying to effect much to the resistance of the board. The elected chair of academy charter school board of trustees feels that it is up to the director to choose the committees he wants as they are ther to fulfill his needs and expectations. In re-imaging of leadership in order to push for a new paradigm, try to do what the people want and not what one thinks is good for the people. This is because for change to happen it has to have the back up of the people.
There are immediate needs that need to be addressed in a situation. Leaders should focus on them. In the case study the outreach committee is still very relevant if the school is to find new students to fill in the financial void that is preventing it from acquiring the new building. More accountability should be expected from the various committees. Transparency is a key element in order to effect any form of change. The image of a leader who is after correct methods of doing things commands a following. This will involve more professional budgeting services in order to strike the correct balance in terms of the number of committees cited in the case study. This will also reduce the confused meetings as there will be a clear guideline.
The governance should carry the face of the community. The school’ss reputation is important if at all the empty seats and the financial void are to be closed up. In the case study there is a lot of external wheel spinning which is obviously not being helpful for the school’s aims. How about the ‘outsiders’ being made part of the effort in repairing the school’s reputation? This is an important lesson in governance: Turning spectators into players. Let them be part of the established committees and contribute to what they see as weaknesses. Reduce exclusivity if your ideas are going to be considered worth thinking about. This however does not make the board irrelevant. They are the ones who will be steering the ideas brought about by the community.
The governance structure should be one that also takes outsourcing seriously. Not one person can effect change no matter how determined they are. You need to spread out duties equitably if goals are ever to be reached..The duties in the case study cannot be effectively handled by the board staff only. Community needs to make sure things are getting done as planned.