First published in NAPP My Portfolio 25 January 2016 – published in WordPress June 29 2016
Michael Fullan & Joan Quinn in their book Coherence 2016 offer some valuable insights to learning as a leader.
Although Simplexity is a word they have coined it offers some useful means to get to grips with school leadership through inquiry.
They suggest simplexity means “take a difficult problem and identify a small number of key factors (about four to six)- this is the simple part. And then you make these factors gel under the reality of action with its pressures, politics and personalities in the situation – this is the complex part.” (Chap 6 p127)
Leading the reality of action is certainly full of complexity not the least of which is getting some sort of insight into where the action has got to.
Early in Chapter 6 Fullan and Quinn make the point that meetings provide a valuable reminder about learning with your team as you explore action. “It is more important to be right at the end of the meeting than the beginning.” Feeling you are right at the beginning of a meeting is a sign you think you know but only in your own head. If you feel you are right at the end of a meeting (having shared through listening and questioning and reflecting) there is a great likelihood you will have shared with the group, learned with the group and influenced the group. In other words you and the group have processed elements of action that will probably have included you learning and changing your understanding about action.
In our daily learning lives we all have numerous informal meetings with members of the school community. These will often focus on issues or problems of significance. Perhaps Simplexity helps in sorting out them out and giving the means to move forward on the 4-6 factors of significance. Listening intently seems to be essential in making action gel with school goals and intentions.
Is it true that once a staff member has shared an issue with you, and in doing so responded to your coaching questions, they will often say they now have a means to take action and progress?
Perhaps we have been using Simplexity all along!