In my experience, the education sector can only benefit from the innovations and ideas from other sectors and industries. I think we should be examining the underlying philosophies, principles and practices that make an organisation successful in a knowledge age and how schools can learn from or even adopt similar practices. Yet there is still a reticence to do anything that has been cultivated from without the education sector.
Everything is evolving in a connected world and it seems the game-changers are companies like Amazon and Google including how they employ and retain creative staff. It seems that potential is more valuable than experience in the 21st century according to article in the latest Harvard Business Review.
The article’s author, Claudio Fernandez-Araoz believes we are moving into a new era of talent spotting, in which ‘potential’ is the ‘most important predictor of success at all levels.’ Fernandez-Araoz says that the 21st century work environment is complex, uncertain and volatile and the question organisations need to ask is not do employees and leaders have the right skills but do they have the ‘potential to learn new ones.’ Remember Alvin Toffler’s famous quote about 21st century illiterates!
Fernandez-Araoz goes on to identify other qualities that he sees as the hallmarks of potential: motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement and determination. Interestingly, these are the qualities that effective teachers bring out in students when learning is challenging, engaging and rewarding.
For me this article raises new challenges for education to consider in the way we attract and retain teachers. I tweeted an article from HBR recently on a company in the US that has taken the bold step of ditching resumes and auditioning potential recruits to see how they work in existing teams. Several people responded to me on twitter to say they were already doing this in their schools!
Education in general needs to dismantle the industrial mindsets and practices that are stifling widespread innovation. Even the Federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne has said that education is one of the last bastions in the working world where length of service is still rewarded.
The days of logical career mapping and moving up the professional ladder are limited. Schools need the best instructional leaders leading – and it may be that we need to look at potential over experience.
The rhetoric of being a life-long learner needs is becoming the reality for knowledge workers and teachers are no exception.