Strong Teams Better Futures.

Thursday, May 02, 2013
I've read a couple of articles in recent weeks about very different topics, but which I think share a common thread. 
  • The first being about the Chinese Air Force realising they need to let pilots take risks under pressure and learn from them
  • The second was about Australian schools creating policies to manage “helicopter” parents
Bourke Staff Development
The Chinese Air Force has realised that needs to let pilots take risks under pressure and learn from them, if they are to become a credible defence force in the modern era. Apparently, the pilots rarely actually fly their planes as the paperwork, managed by officials with no military or air force training, is overwhelming.

The article quoted world military experts saying that a crucial measure of military preparedness and efficiency is the number of peacetime accidents. Wait for it….the higher the better! Apparently accidents indicate that training is realistic with the pressure, unpredictability and danger necessary to build real strength.

The second article about Australian schools creating policies to manage “helicopter” parents was built around the idea that schools need to be given the space to do the job of teaching students to be respectful, resilient individuals who take responsibility for their own actions.

I've just returned from Bourke, where I was privileged to present staff development training to the teachers of Bourke Public School. On the one hand, Bourke has been in the news recently for its’ high crime rate. On the other hand I found it brilliant to observe the happy pursuit of learning going on in the school, empowered by a dedicated team of teachers led by a committed, competent Principal. They are excited to teach because they have a common vision and fair, consistent policies in place to manage their diverse clientèle. They all realise that good teams are built on identifying problems and finding positive solutions, as well as recognising, celebrating and building on their strengths. And importantly, giving people the opportunity to develop as responsible members of the team, whoever they are.

They have shared values and expectations that are encouraged and enforced. How inspiring to be in a school with 99% of its students in uniform and with wonderful manners. Well done Bourke Public!! The future will be better.

Great teams, like happy families, healthy businesses and strong countries have the balance right. They have strong guidelines to live by, but with the space to fail and learn and improve. 

Great teams led by great leaders recognise this.