That’s A Great Idea, But..


I’m guilty of it. Like standing in the subway, waving goodbye as the doors slide shut, I’ve been exposed to ideas that I don’t jump on board with because “that’s a great idea but it won’t work for my students”.

And sometimes, it’s true. Not everything that comes down the pike is actually a good idea. Not everything that someone else is doing is a good fit for us and what we are doing. Indeed, not everything we ourselves envision is workable, or the right time, or the right circumstance.

But I wonder how many times what we really mean is, “That won’t work for ME“. Maybe it would require more time. Maybe it calls for us to change something we are already (comfortably) doing. Maybe it would require more (different) planning. Maybe…we might fail.

With the constant flow of ideas that pour into education, we are smart to engage in active analysis as we sort through, consider, and decide which to try out. Not everything can, or should, be done. That being said, I think we’d be wise to make sure that what we dismiss as “unworkable” is being dismissed for the right, and accurate, reasons.

As we consider the ideas that come at us, here are some questions to ask ourselves, along with some thought-starters:

Ask Think
Which of these areas is directly tied to time?
Is this an opportunity to reexamine how I’m spending my time?   Consider my priorities?
Which of these involves my resistance to change?
Is this an opportunity to further develop my flexibility? Can I seek   out support?
Which of these reasons is tied to a fear of failure?
Is this an opportunity to further develop my growth mindset? To take   a measured risk?

 Here are a few more questions:

Ask Think
What are the feelings of my team?
Am I being a team player; considering the needs and desires of those   with whom I serve?
What are the priorities of my superiors?
Am I aligned with the goals and missions of my school, department,   organization?
What outside forces might impact the success of this?
What suggestions might I make which could help with implementation?

And here’s a final question that I think gives us the greatest insight of all:

What is best for our kids?

With all the ideas coming down the pike these days, it reminds me of a subway station, watching the trains as they pull up, load, and leave. Boarding another that comes along. Making decisions based on where we are, where we want to be, and what we think is the most direct route to get there. All the while keeping a watchful eye on the other trains. The other passengers. The other destinations which we have yet to travel. Watching. Waiting. Wondering.


By considering the questions above, my perspective becomes clearer. I stay aware of my own areas of strength; current level of comfort. I also stay aware of my own ongoing opportunities for growth and those hidden roadblocks that I want to pay attention to. I think we are all most effective when these things are fluid, and not fixed.

It goes without saying that we want to keep traveling on those roads that are working, and keep working to improve them as we go. But we should always keep in mind that there are other ideas, other trains, other methods out there. And they just might lead to an even grander destination. At the very least, you might find that you have boarded an even smoother ride.

Here is a quick video from Zig Zigler on the importance of evaluating where you are:

What ideas are you currently pondering? What trips do you think you might want to take, and what are the roadblocks that are currently stopping you? Can you remove them? Can you detour around them? Or, could those roadblocks become a part of your trip?

Video downloaded from youtube via True Performance-Online Motivator on 2/14/14


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