Innovation Leadership – so what’s that?

Starting on the 1st August I will take up my position as Director of Innovation Leadership with Drummond International. But what does a Director of Innovation Leadership actually do?

Firstly, it’s important to place the role within the overall values and principles espoused by Norman Drummond throughout his long career.

At risk of simplifying Norman’s work it is fundamentally aimed at helping leaders to establish – for themselves –  a powerful and meaningful connection between their ‘heart’ and their ‘head’ in order to underpin their leadership behaviours, at both a personal and professional level, thereby leading to a more rewarding, effective and meaningful life.

Norman’s work is driven by a deep optimism in the human spirit, as demonstrated through one of his favourite quotations:

“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” John Buchan

With apologies to John Buchan our work in relation to innovation adopts a similar values based and optimistic perspective and could be paraphrased as follows:

“The task of leadership is not to put innovation into humanity, but to elicit it, for the capacity to innovate  is already there.”

Innovation Leadership has three elements which can be considered separately or in a more integrated manner depending on the requirements:

  1. Supporting Leaders to Innovate
  2. Creating space for Innovation
  3. Generating Innovation

Supporting Leaders to Innovate is geared towards helping Leaders to become more innovative themselves and to counter the barriers, fears and limiting cultures which may have reduced their confidence and capacity to innovate in their personal and professional lives.

Creating Space for Innovation focuses upon innovation within an organisation and assists the leaders, their teams and other members of the community to create the environment which encourages others to innovate, supports and enables the collaborative innovation process; and finally, develops ways in which to translate innovation into habitual and improved practice.

Generating Innovation is where the Innovation Leadership process is used as a catalyst to assist organisations or teams which are ‘stuck’ in order to generate new ideas which can then be translated into effective solutions to long-term, or intractable problems.





Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself – George Bernard Shaw

So the die is cast. I’ve submitted my resignation and started the countdown to a new career which will start on 1st August 2013.

I have accepted an invitation to join Drummond International as Director of Innovation Leadership. The opportunity to work with Norman Drummond and the rest of the team at DI is one which was impossible to turn down.

Norman’s work is founded upon three profound questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. Why are you living and working in the way that you are?
  3. What might you yet become and do with your life?

The answer to why I’m taking this next step is centred somewhere in my own response to these questions.

 Who am I?

I am fundamentally a teacher. I’ve come to realise that I gain the greatest satisfaction from working directly with people and helping them to develop their knowledge, skills, confidence or whatever the purpose of that interaction might be – not in a didactic or instructional manner but through engaging them and encouraging them to see and maximise their own potential.

Why am I living and working and working in the way that I am?

As my career has progressed I’ve gradually moved further and further away from that direct connection with people. My roles have become increasingly corporate, strategic and my responsibilities diverse. It’s interesting to reflect on my original motivation for seeking positions of responsibility was linked to my desire to change the system. By taking on management roles I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to influence policy and practice at a local and national level in a way which would have been impossible had I simply remained as a teacher. Nevertheless, this journey has taken me away from the very things which give me the greatest satisfaction – hence the need to refocus my career on the things which matter most to me.

What might I yet become and do with the rest of my life?

This is an exciting question for someone of my years. Rather than considering the notion of winding down towards the end of a career – this is a question which liberates the spirit to consider the future in a positive and fulfilling manner. It opens doors on opportunities, and challenges you to consider the skills and abilities you have and whether these could be put to better use in other ways.

I actually reckon my skill set is quite narrow and is connected to my ability to inspire, encourage, and develop others. What I want to do with the rest of my life is use these skills to their absolute maximum.

I suppose I unwittingly touched upon this in my most recent article on Leadership Legacy where I described the impact my father made upon other people. If this sounds selfish and self indulgent then I stand guilty but I suppose I’d like to spend the next 15 years of my life making a similar personal and positive impact on people’s lives.

My new role will also give me the opportunity to concentrate upon my connected passions of education, innovation and leadership. I hope to be able to research, reflect and write about these areas with a view to making a positive contribution to these fields of study and practice, and use my accumulated knowledge and related life experiences to make a corresponding contribution to society.

My other new career goal is to establish The Scottish Leadership Trust, a not- for-profit organisation that will promote and integrate values-based leadership within and across Scotland’s public, private and voluntary sectors.

The objectives of the Scottish Leadership Trust will be:

  1. To champion the importance of values-based leadership development for the future well-being of Scottish society.
  2. To share and promote leadership expertise across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
  3. To provide a national forum for promoting cross-sector leadership development.
  4. To promote a vision of leadership that is jargon free, inspirational, enabling of innovation, and supportive of our national aspirations.
  5. To reinvest any profits into voluntary sector leadership development programmes and advice.

This project is very much a long-term ambition but it would be my dream to be involved in the Scottish Leadership Trust in fifteen years time – when I’m seventy years old – although I should add (as my grandmother used to say when looking forward in time) – “If I’m spared”.

Leadership Legacy

One of the recurring pleasures I have in life is coming into contact with people who knew my late father.  He had been a family doctor for over 40 years and had selflessly ministered to the needs of a close-knit community throughout that time.

Having a relatively unusual surname people ask me whether or not he was any relation and inevitably, upon hearing that he was my father, launch into telling me stories about how he had helped them – and usually their family. The stories of impact are even stronger from those who worked with him – especially young doctors who came into contact with him as trainees.  It often transpires that he has had a seminal impact upon those individuals who used him as a role model and exemplar upon which they based their own future behavior.

Now the point of this story is to explore what it is to be a leader.  I use the leader here in its more general sense, as I would describe anyone who has a role in supporting and shaping a community as a leader, in his own terms, my father was a leader in his community, just as would be a teacher, or minister, or a sports coach, etc.

As I read leadership programmes and courses it strikes me that my father hadn’t been trained in any of the theory or mechanics of leadership – yet he had developed an intuitive understanding of how to engage with individuals that inspired confidence, interest and self-belief.

It was while trying to think about the characteristics of high quality leadership that I came to the conclusion that it can only really be measured in terms of legacy – and not short-term legacy on an organisation, but on long-term legacy on the life and behaviour of individuals.

So what are those characteristics that mark out the person that leave such a legacy? As regular readers of this column are aware I like the number seven – so in order to arbitrarily limit this list I’ll stick to what I reckon are the seven features of long-term leadership legacy.

The first of these is ‘passion’, a passion for what they do, and a level of enthusiasm that rubs off on all those around them to the extent that we are infected by that same passion.

The second characteristic of leadership legacy is ‘truth’. People often use the description authentic leadership – but put more simply we are naturally drawn to people who have an inner sense of being ‘true’ to themselves first and foremost – and through that sense we are more inclined to place our trust.

The third, is ‘knowledge’, I’m not talking here of people who can absorb every fact about their chosen area and regurgitate it at will – but about people who have a depth of understanding about their area of work and who carry that knowledge very lightly and allow it to be demonstrated through what they do – rather than what they say.

Fourthly, those who leave a lasting leadership legacy are driven by a sense of ‘duty’ and service which transcends self-interest – in fact it can occasionally become self-harming – but it’s exactly that element of self sacrifice which makes such people so appealing in a world where we come to think that there is an ‘angle’ on everyone’s behaviour.

The fifth feature is an ‘interest’ in other people – once again not through what the person can get out of that relationship but simply the pleasure to be gained through seeing them developing their own passions and abilities.  We talk of mentoring and coaching but ultimately it’s a matter of simple human relationships where one person passes on something of deep worth to another person – and in so doing gains enough from that unsophisticated transaction.

The penultimate feature of leadership legacy is perhaps a little surprising but in my experience those who leave the greatest legacy have a ‘flaw’ – not a huge destructive handicap – but something which reminds us all that they are human beings just like us, capable of the same mistakes and errors, but which put them just within the reach of our imagination enough to encourage us to strive to be like them.

Finally, there’s something about these people that is difficult to put your finger on – Professor Rev. Norman Drummond would describe it as being connected to their ‘spirit’ – a connection between their head and their heart that transforms their behaviour from disconnected actions into a purposeful life.

Looking back on the death of my own father I wrote a poem that same evening and one of the verses read:

Your family extended to a community

And we sought refuge in your knowledge

In your vitality and wisdom.

Protected against our fear of suffering

We passed our worries on

And you absorbed them

Putting them in a black bag

Within your soul.

It’s this notion of ‘soul’ – or essence, if you will,  – that inspires confidence amongst those around such a person to the extent that in challenging times we know things will “turn out to be alright”.

I suppose that if any of us who have leadership roles should have any ambition about our legacy it should be that – sometime, long after we are gone – that someone meets one of our children and tells them that we left something behind in them that still lives on.

Obliquity – valuing an indirect approach to educational improvement

Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, argues that the promotion of health has for too long been based upon a deficit model. That is, we tend to focus on identifying the problems and causes of ill health. In turn this leads to the identification of outcomes all directed towards a particular deficit, e.g. reduce the number of people who smoke; reduce alcohol intake; or increase exercise levels.  The system is comfortable with these discrete outcomes and develops strategies and activities aimed at achieving these outcomes.

Yet the evidence clearly shows that such a deficit led model has not led to any substantial impact upon those most vulnerable to ill health, i.e. the poorest in our society.  Sir Harry recommends that in order to promote good health we need to focus on what creates health (salutogenesis) rather than the traditional view of preventing illness.

In order to achieve that goal people need to be able to understand their lives, manage this day to day, and see themselves and life as worthwhile. People who feel they have little control over life experience more stress. This chronic stress mechanism in the body risks seriously damaging health and quality of life.

In turn this has led the Chief Medical Officer to propose that we fundamentally shift public health policy towards seeing the assets within people as individuals and in groups within communities, and that we support people to work together and take control of their own lives.

Such a conclusion challenges those of us in public service who have been conditioned over the years to focus upon a simplistic notion between cause and effect, e.g. reduce smoking levels by implementing a smoking reduction strategy; or (in our world of education) improve literacy levels by introducing a new reading scheme. This approach appeals to our managerialist tendencies and enables us to set targets, allocate budgets and evaluate success, thereby fulfilling our obligation within the professional management hierarchy.

Yet Sir Harry Burns is not alone in challenging this managerialist approach, with its simplistic assumptions regarding cause and effect, and suggesting that a more holistic and seemingly incidental approach can allow us to achieve our goals more effectively.

The concept of ‘obliquity’ (the state or condition of being oblique) was first proposed by another famous Scottish medical figure in the form of the Nobel Prize winner Sir James Black, which he defined as follows:

“In business as in science, it seems that you are often most successful in achieving something when you are trying to do something else. I think of it as the principle of ‘obliquity’.”

Obliquity has been further developed by Scottish economist John Kay, who argues that often the best way of achieving our goals, especially those which are particularly complex, is to do so indirectly.

“Strange as it may seem, overcoming geographic obstacles, winning decisive battles or meeting global business targets are the type of goals often best achieved when pursued indirectly. This is the idea of Obliquity. Oblique approaches are most effective in difficult terrain, or where outcomes depend on interactions with other people.” John Kay 2004

The paradox presented by Kay is that if you want to go in one direction that the best route might often be to go in another. The irony of Kay’s work is that the managerialist aspirations of those of us involved in public service delivery leads us to mirror what we think to be the effectiveness of the rationalist commercial approach. We set outcomes, we attempt to control parameters, we measure and evaluate, but above all we get locked into doing things the way we have done them in the past and expect different outcomes just because we have planned them better. It was Einstein wasn’t it who was attributed to have described this as insanity i.e. “….doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Yet what we tend to miss is that the world which we inhabit is complex and imperfectly understood. Any analysis of our plans would support such a conclusion given the extent of our certainty that we can succeed where others have failed.

So what has all this got to do with our own complex business of education? Well from a personal perspective the concept of ‘obliquity’ strikes a chord in my intuitive understanding of how the world works.

For education is an iterative process which benefits from an open minded and adaptive approach which values problem solving and creativity.  As soon as we begin to believe that we can make a predictable connection between an action and outcome then we are almost destined to fail. “Results are what we expect, consequences are what we get”  Robert McNamara

Consider the traditional approach to improving the educational outcomes for the lowest attaining 20% of students in our schools – an intractable problem for Scottish education. Typically we would identify the students, plan a range of actions targeted at their deficits, and sit back expecting positive results – and then be surprised when no substantive change takes place.

An oblique approach to the problem would not tackle this directly but would amongst other things address the culture of the school, teachers’ values, and the value placed on education in our most disadvantaged communities.

Yet such an approach would take courageous leadership from a school leader, particularly in a professional environment that places undue value on sophisticated plans and confident ‘direct’ action.

A Christmas Fable of Promises and Gold

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a king and his four sons.  The king had come to power through a promise he had made with the elves and fairies of the kingdom to look after their needs and wishes in exchange for him ruling the kingdom.

For many years the kingdom was successful and as his sons became older he gave each of them a task. The first prince was responsible for ensuring that there was sufficient food and firewood. The second prince was responsible for collecting taxes. The third prince was responsible for castles and weapons. The fourth prince was to look after the needs of the elves and fairies.

For many years the system worked well and the king, the princes and the people in the kingdom enjoyed happy lives. But one day the gold which was kept in the biggest castle was stolen and the kingdom was thrown into chaos.

The king called his four sons to a meeting and explained that their reserves were very low and they would all have to reduce their expenditure if the kingdom was to survive. He set each of the sons off to consider their plans and commanded that they return the next day with proposals.

The first prince decided that he would plant cheaper crops, reduce the amount of food given to each member of the kingdom, and increase the cost of food.

The second prince decided to increase income tax, put up taxes on hovels, and reduce the donations made to court beggars.

The third prince decided that they could sell off one of their castles to another kingdom, reduce the size of cannons on the castle walls, and stop the building of a new castle which had been planned for many years.

The fourth prince was stuck. He looked at his job and could think of lots of ways that he could reduce his costs.  For example, he could stop giving each elf a gold coin every day; or he could stop allowing fairies to replace their wings on a weekly basis; he could even take the drastic step of telling the elves and fairies that would no longer have a room of their own in their fairy castle.

But each time he pondered an option he came up against the promise that had been made by his father, the king, to the elves and fairies.

The next day the king called his sons to his court table and asked them to set out their plans.  Each of the first three princes explained in great detail how they would manage their reductions.

On completing the presentations, which had been well received by their father, they turned to the fourth prince.  He began by reminding the others of the promises their father had made to the elves and fairies on his becoming king.  As he continued he could see that his brothers were becoming angrier and angrier as it became obvious that he was saying that there was no way that he could reduce his expenditures if he was to keep the promise their father had made.

The other princes demanded that their brother go away and return the next day with a proper plan for reducing his costs in the same way in which they had done to the approval of their father.

That night the prince had a sleepless night for he had explored every possible avenue to reduce the money spent on the elves and fairies but he kept coming up against the promises his father had made to the elves and fairies on his crowning as king.

The next day they gathered again in the great hall and they waited patiently for their brother to match their proposals.  As he slowly got to his feet he stuttered that he did have a plan.  That plan was to stop giving each elf a gold coin every day and give them instead a silver coin.  He had calculated that this would save the same as his brothers and that it would allow the kingdom to survive.

His brothers were elated – they knew that their brother had been holding back on them and that if they pushed hard enough he would come up with a plan like this.

However, the king was a wise man and did not share his sons’ euphoria. He asked the fourth prince if he had discussed this plan with the elves and fairies.  The prince explained that he had but that they had not accepted the change in the conditions of the promise.  The other princes did not think that was important – surely the elves and fairies understood that if savings were not made that the kingdom would fail and that none of their conditions of the promise would be met in the future.

The king sat quietly and contemplated the dilemma. As he sat the other princes shouted and demanded that the condition be changed.  Eventually the king spoke.  He explained that the promise made to the elves and fairies was one from which there could be no withdrawing. He instructed the princes that the ‘problem’ and the ‘promises’ belonged to each of them equally and that they must work together to solve their challenge.

A year later the kingdom had survived its trial, for the four princes had come to recognise that the problem could not be resolved by working in isolation, or by ignoring commitments they had made to others, but only by working together in sharing the problems each of them faced in an equal manner. And they all lived happily ever after.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go

The practice of setting SMART targets in the world of education has become the norm. As ever we see ourselves as being more “professional” by adopting the practice of the technical bureaucrat and lack the confidence to find approaches which more suit our context.

A SMART target is one that satisfies the five criteria associated with the acronym.

“S” represents specific; “M” measurable; “A” attainable; “R” Relevant; and “T” time limited. Local authorities, schools, and teachers are encouraged to adopt this approach – or something like it – when planning their work. Such an approach gives the impression that change and improvement can be controlled and bent to our will – as long as we adopt the technocratic method.

In the space available to me here I’d like to focus on just one of the elements of the SMART methodology and consider whether or not it assists us in our desire to seek improvement.

The notion of “A”, an Attainable target, seems reasonable at first glance. Imagine the outcome for someone who sets him or herself a goal to achieve self-propelled flight. Yet surely there’s a difference between an impossible goal and an inspiring goal? All this came back to me recently when I was listening to someone describe their classroom practice and their use of SMART targets with students. Once again it seems reasonable and logical to adopt this approach with young people. To set an unachievable goal surely means that they will become dispirited and eventually disengaged from the learning process.  Better then to chunk aspirations or goals into small achievable steps on a journey towards eventual success.

Such logic is based upon the premise that failure is to be avoided at all costs. There’s something deep within our psyche that makes us believe that to set a goal and to fail to achieve that goal is bad and deeply damaging. Such thinking permeates not only the classroom but also the Scottish educational establishment, where SMART target setting – in a variety of different forms dominates our practice. This is most evident in local authorities through the comprehensive adoption of project management strategies such as PRINCE, where the acronym translates to Project management IN Controlled Environments. If there’s anything less like a “controlled environment” than education I’d like to see it!

Nevertheless, we appear to have succumbed to the lure of giving into the appearance of being professional through adopting practice from other fields – as opposed to seeking out solutions and ways of behaving that meet our own contexts. Perhaps it has been ever thus?

Arguably then, education has adopted technocratic methodologies and we have, as is our unfortunate habit, slavishly translated and transferred them into areas of work for which they are not only unsuitable – but self-limiting in terms of the effect they have upon our practice and our achievements.

So to return to the notion of setting Attainable SMART targets in the classroom and the school. My problem with this idea is that an attainable target must, by definition, lack aspiration. For if a system is ‘hard wired ” to avoid failure – because failure is “bad” for people – then it must mean that we are always reaching for something which is within our grasp, as opposed to reaching for something just beyond it.

Such a model certainly creates “safe” environments for learning but these are deeply uninspiring places and lacking in any form of innovation and appropriate risk taking.  The best teachers and the best school leaders are not hindered by a fear of failure.  They are prepared to dream (something which doesn’t feature in a SMART target, or a PRoject In A Controlled Environment). They set outrageous expectations for themselves and the people around them. But above all they permit young people to believe that the comfortable boundaries, which they may have placed around themselves, can be escaped.

For me it’s this comfort with failure that marks out the outstanding practitioner. They know that a safe journey might be to set out the way in a logical sequence and achieve them in a nice comfortable steps A, B, C, D, E, etc. – but they prefer to stretch themselves and those around them to consider the final destination. By setting such aspirational goals they know that the final achievement will be far in excess of a goal that is restricted by our personal comfort zones.

From a personal perspective I had a long-term goal from the age of 10 to play rugby for Scotland.  It consumed me and provided a focus for me for the next 13 years.  I spent every moment, training, practicing and thinking about my goal.  As it turned out, although I got close to fulfilling my dream, it never came to pass. So was that time wasted because I failed to achieve my target? Would I have achieved what I did in my rugby career if I hadn’t set myself that logically unachievable goal? I’m convinced that I have benefitted in so many ways from setting an aspirational goal which was possibly beyond my reach but which taught me so many things in terms of how to apply myself, make the most of whatever abilities I had, and ultimately enabled me to transfer that energy and focus to other aspects of my life.

I’ll leave the last word with one of my favourite writers, T.S. Elliot, who had this to say about attainable target setting (if he’d known that’s what it was to be called):

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

Educational Leadership Metaphors

I’ve started a small piece of research using Twitter  – the hashtag is #leadershipmetaphors

I’m asking people to identify the predominant metaphor they would use to describe effective educational leadership. I’ll run this through until the 27th April.

The score so far is:

Ship’s captain 2

@Mary10478: Captain of the ship: an eye to the horizon; navigate dangerous rocks; steady in storms; motivate crew; be brave far from harbour

Architect 1

Marathon Runner 1

“@johnoneill13: Marathon runner not sprinter.

Diplomat 1

Farmer 1

Theatre Director – 1  Has a clear idea of the overall structure & works as an ensemble with the actors to create the best end product

Master baker 1

Conducter 1

Jazz band leader 1

@realdcameron: It has to be the band leader -like Prince, brings the vision and imagination, lets the band take it on and can still pull it together if it goes off

Air traffic controller 1

“@atstewart: Air traffic controller. (Don’t like word controller) but allowing take off providing safe space as well as safe landing fits.”

Master Builder 1

Tour Guide 1

Submariner 1

“@KarDoh: I like the concept of the submariner – sometimes you can cruise along + enjoy the sunshine but mostly you need to explore deep down”

Virus 1

Gardener 1

Lens 1

Giving permission for partnership working

It’s been four weeks since I took up my position as Director of Education and Children’s Services at Midlothian Council, in addition to my new role as Executive Director of Services for People in East Lothian.

Aside from being able to meet and work with great people the most fascinating – and potentially most significant – aspect of my dual roles has been the opportunity to give permission for people to work together across two authority boundaries. People often talk about the “bottom up” approach as being the most effective change strategy and I’ve been an advocate for that mindset throughout my career. Yet over the last few weeks I’ve come to realise that in the realm of partnership working such “bottom-up” approaches are often stymied by the managers and leaders who are further up the ladder on either side of the partnership boundaries.

From a simplistic point of view let’s take a person who is appointed to a joint post between two authorities but who has a number of layers of management above them. To be a change agent in such circumstances is very difficult – especially if the partnership process may eventually compromise the position of the managers above them in each organisation.

Now contrast that to a situation where the change agent occupies a more senior post than those same managers in either organisation.

It is this latter situation that I now find myself in, whereby I can now give permission, authorisation and encouragement for colleagues to work together for mutual benefit and benefit to the organisation. In the past I’ve often found one of the most common obstacles to joint working, articulated by staff, is that “they won’t let me do that” – with a symbolic upwards finger point, alluding to the fact that management in their organisation would not approve (of course, there may be other more significant and personal reasons behind these assertions but I’ll leave those to your imagination). However, any such assertion now falters on the fact that such an allusion would mean that I (as the Director in both organisations) must have some form of leadership schizophrenia, where I can occupy two points of view on either side of the organisational divide.

Four weeks into the process it’s been very rewarding to see people actively and without direction begin to explore this new world, and from a personal perspective I’ve come to realise that one of the most important things I can do in my unique position is to continue to give permission for innovation and joint working – with a clear and absolute focus upon the quality of service we provide.






Solving the Recruitment Gap

A Scottish Government Report on the Recruitment and Retention of Headteachers in Scotland  (2009) evidenced the growing crisis in recruiting headteachers in Scotland:

There is an increasing focus on these issues in many countries where recruitment and retention of senior leaders has attained “crisis” status, impacting with particular force in areas seen by aspirants as less desirable, such as schools located in inner cities and less accessible rural communities.

Three years on the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better – particularly in the Primary School setting.

A combination of factors including, a relatively small pay differential between primary Headteachers and Deputes; relatively few principal teachers who have sufficient management experience to make the jump; and a perception by many that the job is too demanding.

In the next few weeks East Lothian is to advertise 7 headteacher vacancies and I am concerned that we won’t receive sufficient interest for all of the posts.  It was with this in mind that had a chat with a colleague who is a Principal Teacher in a secondary school.  An exceptionally talented individual she is concerned that the reduction in senior management posts in secondary schools will limit her prospects of gaining further management experience.  I asked her if she would be interested in a management post in a primary school. Her reaction was very positive and it seems to me to be a worthy of consideration – especially with the 3-18 focus for Curriculum for Excellence. In fact I wrote about this possibility a few years ago for TESS Leadership Skills – are they transferable?  I am convinced that such scheme would create a surge of interest from committed teachers who have significant management experience which would transfer successfully to a primary school environment.

The main obstacle for such a thing to happen is the qualifications barrier – secondary teachers are not qualified to teach in primary schools. However, perhaps there is a solution. What if a person wishing to be considered for a Management post in primary school had undertaken – or committed to complete the On-line post graduate certificate in primary education offered by Aberdeen University? What if the authority paid for half of the £900 fee? Are there any people out there who would be interested in such an opportunity?

And before anyone asks – yes I do think that primary teachers could manage in a secondary school environment!

Drop me an e-mail if this is something you would like to follow up.




Seven Sides of Educational Leadership






Over the last 17 years I’ve been working on a leadership model which captures some of the complexity of the change process but which can be applied in any situation in a simple and useful manner.

What has evolved is the Seven Sides of Educational Leadership which can be used by any educational leader to devise and refine a change strategy.  Over the years I’ve used it extensively myself and continued to refine the methodology through trial and error.

The model does not attempt to suggest that one behaviour is any more effective than another but simply that successful leaders deploy a range of behaviours to effect successful change depending on the context and the stage of the change process.

I hope the model is of some use to other people as it is intended to fit with and complement any leader’s personal preferences and strengths.

Good luck.