The Pipeline

How many would it take? How many folks could we empower, grow, and inspire to carry on the mission and message of the work? What would it take to build a pipeline of leaders that would allow this work to scale? At the heart of every conversation, every presentation, and every intentional action that we take in our work with this messy system that we call education is a desire to grow the good stuff and have it happen in more places, more often, and with more intensity.


There is plenty of room to discuss what the right stuff is, but none of us want our emerging wisdom to be trapped in a classroom or a school. We want it open for use, remixing, and replication when it applies. So how do we maintain this focus as we do the work that matters?


It requires a crazy amount of focus. It is easy to see a shiny opportunity and leap into the freshness of new. It is easy to get lost in compliance and following the old rules. It is easy to get exhausted, pull the rip cord, and retreat to doing the work on a scale that is manageable yet mostly unnoticed.


It requires finding great people to support. Those folks that have intellect for the work, have deep bellyfire for making change, and hold some other passions in their life to keep them balanced. It means reaching out to a diverse group of professionals with a giving energy that Adam Grant exemplifies through is hypergiving philosophy. It means finding the right rules that sync with the mission to avoid the confusion and stress that comes from the fight between compliance and innovation.


It requires a humility that comes with recognizing that your ideas are partial and never fully the truth. The beauty of networks in learning is that new truth emerges, and it can be melded onto previous ideas to produce a strong road forward. This same humility allows us to apologize when our energy for excellence impacts the audience in a negative way. This humility also helps us to keep perspective when we believe that our issues of passion are the most important when in actuality the world around us demands our attention and energy on even more pressing issues.


So how many? I’m not sure, but what if we all supported and grew ten others to a place where they could carry forth the work after we disappear into the sunset? Could this be enough to truly move the work forward faster for the kids that need it? Are you thinking about the pipeline that you are growing? Do you feel a responsibility for making this a part of your work?