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Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I recently read What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker (2012).  This is a second edition; I read the original version back around 2004.  

In this work TW outlines 18 tangible attributes he identifies as blue-chip qualities of great principals, from his decades of research.  

My biggest takeaways, from a book that is chock full of great thoughts:

  • It's the people, not the programs, that make the real difference in successful schools/organizations.
  • Be ultra visible and ultra accessible.
  • Hire the people you want your organization to become, not the ones who fit the organization as it is. 
  • Refuse to let hot-button issues or inconsequential urgencies distract us from what matters most.
  • Focus first on behaviors; beliefs will follow.
  • Base organizational decisions (e.g., schedules, rules, protocols, guidelines, expectations) on the best employees, not the worst ones. 
  • Ignore minor errors.
  • Behavior and beliefs are implicately tied to emotion.  

My favorite quote:
"Every principal has an impact.  Great principals make a difference." (p. 141) 

TW's thinking regarding principals adapts nicely to leadership in general, germane regardless of organizational setting.  Glad I read this book (again). 

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