As of this writing, my family and I have been members of the Oconee County community for 47 days. By almost any measure this is an extremely brief amount of time. Yet, I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing individuals during this month and a half. From elected officials, to business owners, to private citizens, it is clear that people here care about our community and have a commitment to its success.
But, what is commitment? How do we quantify it? And better yet, how do we replicate it?
John Maxwell writes in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader that “When it comes to commitment there are really only four types of people: copouts, holdouts, dropouts, and all-outs.”
- Copouts are people who have no goals and do not commit.
- Holdouts are people who do not know if they can reach their goals, so they are afraid to commit.
- Dropouts are people who start toward a goal, but quit when the going gets tough.
- All-outs are people who set goals, commit to them, and pay the price to reach them.
I think it is fair to say that we probably all know individuals who fall in each of these categories, and that at times we may all fall into one or more of them based on the task at hand. Yet, what separates successful organizations and communities is having more individuals willing to go the extra mile and reach the goal than not.
In 20 days, we will begin a new school year. One thing I love about the cycle of education is that each year we have the opportunity to begin anew. Perhaps last year we did not achieve the goals that we set; perhaps we abandoned them when it got a little too hard or never got around to setting a specific commitment due to the fear of not obtaining it; perhaps we set a goal, achieved it, and felt the pride in doing so.
Regardless of last year’s outcome, this year our students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community have the chance to begin anew. We have the opportunity to replicate great commitment already demonstrated, create new commitments and goals, and redefine the expectations necessary to achieve our chosen path.
As a leader, however, I cannot ask others to make a commitment without first doing so myself. My commitment to each of you is to be highly visible in our community and schools, to put students first in all decisions, and to work each day to support a learning environment that sets student achievement as our system’s number one priority.
What is your goal for the school year? What is your student’s goal? How will you reach those goals? How will you define and measure commitment and success? Please share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.