We are good but we can be great.
One of the pre-eminent books about creating a great organisation is Jim Collins’ Good to Great.
GOOD TO GREAT: This book addresses a single question: can a good company become a great company, and if so, how? Based on a five-year research project comparing companies that made the leap to those that did not, Good to Great shows that greatness is not primarily a function of circumstance but largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.
Over the years SCAS has embraced a number of the constructs espoused by this book.
Now, people often say that schools are not businesses and should not take on the lessons of business. I say that schools, particularly independent schools, can learn from great businesses and those who advise them (and, perhaps, some businesses could learn a lot from looking at the example of great schools).
For our students
- “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”: We tell our students to aspire to make the most of their talents and the opportunities offered to them.
- “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”: We show students how they can have a major impact on their future through hard work and resilience.
- “For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.”: We let our students know that whatever career they choose, it is best to be one that is meaningful to them, so that they feel a sense of fulfillment as well as making a living.
For the way we lead the school
- “Core values are essential for enduring greatness..It is not the content of a company’s values that correlates with performance, but the strength of conviction with which it holds those values, whatever they might be.”: SCAS is an independent Anglican school that uses its Christian values to underpin its efforts to create an inclusive learning community, that values the efforts and successes of all its members.
- “The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline–a problem that largely goes away if you have the right people in the first place.”: As an independent school, we have the opportunity, not offered to systemic schools, to choose and develop excellent staff, who are dedicated to offering our students the very best in educational practices and support.
- “The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led–yes. But not tightly managed.”. “If you have the right people on the bus, they will be self-motivated.”: We hire the best professional educators and support staff we can, but we do not stop there. We offer our staff the opportunities to further develop their skills and have access to the guidance they need to achieve their professional potential.
- “For no matter what we achieve, if we don’t spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect – people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us – then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes.”: It is our express hope that SCAS staff love their profession (really a vocation) and their vital role in educating our students. As a school that puts its students’ education and welfare at the centre of our decision-making process, we have little tolerance for attitudes or actions that might compromise our goal of offering the very best in education to our students. As Collins puts it: The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with.”
Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School