If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~African Proverb
Seriously? We have to choose?
What about this: “If you want to go fast and far, let there be spaces in your togetherness”?
You’re guilty, I’m guilty. We want things relatively fast. Just not, for the love of God, slow. And please: not always together.
It can be infuriating. The meetings.The waiting to hurry up. The feigning of interest in someone’s absurd point of view. The humouring of curmudgeons. The compromises. The time.
So we see senior administrators trying to fast track change by circumventing due process. Here’s one way to ensure that your initiatives falter—make them unilaterally. Don’t ask your teachers. Keep everyone guessing. Post job openings that start the rumour mill humming. Keep a low profile. Remember, lasting change comes from the outside in.
“I think the first thing one has to do [in setting out to change a culture],” says Robert Dockson, “is get people on one’s side and show them where you want to take the company. Trust is vital. People trust you when you don’t play games with them, when you put everything on the table and speak honestly with them. Even if you aren’t very articulate, your intellectual honesty comes through, and people recognize that and respond positively” (p. 161, On Becoming a Leader, Bennis).
Attempting to change culture without communicating purpose is futile. Leaders must be able to articulate their vision, because, as Marty Kaplan says, “if someone is a complete master of what they need to know, but is unable to explain why I should care about it or want to help, then they can’t get me to support them.”
If you want to go fast, go alone. We’ll catch up sooner or–more probably–later.