Pushing Past the Organizational Plateau

    Speaking at conferences is such an incredible opportunity and one that I feel incredibly blessed to do.  Often when I am asked to speak, organizations at one conference invite me to join them and bring that same thinking to their school or district. It is incredibly humbling.  Although I am often asked to share the same message, I do my best to personalize it to the groups I am working with.
    I distinctly remember having a conversation with one participant at a conference, and they said, “I love your stuff, but you did the same talk that you did at the conference. When are you going to do some new stuff?”
    My response was simple. “What did you do with the old stuff?”  They had no answer.
    I wasn’t shirking my own need to grow, but sometimes “growth” doesn’t mean jumping onto something entirely new, but digging deep into what you are working on now.  I am reminded of when I first started learning to play the guitar.  At first, the increase in learning was exponential, but then it seemed to plateau.  Instead of sticking with it and getting good, I backed off my learning, and now at best could headline a concert for my two-year-old daughter, which is still pretty awesome 🙂
    This is a common issue in education, especially at the organizational or school level.  We grab hold of a new initiative, put some time into it, and when we get to the “average” point, we get frustrated and move on before we go deep.  Not only does this leave off becoming average at everything, but it is also frustrating to teachers who feel that we are continuously overwhelmed with initiative overload.
    I thought about all of this when I read this Bruce Lee quote:

    Do we limit our learning when moving from initiative to another without real intention, thought, or purpose?
    I am not adverse to new learning. If you have read my blog over the years, I encourage it. But “new learning” doesn’t always mean new stuff; it can be focused on depth just as much, if not more, than breadth. Before we jump on to the “next big thing”, let’s evaluate where we are on the last big thing.  Otherwise, that plateau is where we will always stay.

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