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ERIC Number: EJ791997
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6439
Selective Lessons from Business
Schlechty, Phillip C.
School Administrator, v65 n4 p16-17 Apr 2008
Over the years, the author has participated in many gatherings where business leaders have been invited to provide educational leaders with advice regarding the way they should lead their schools. Some of these events proved satisfying, but others proved disastrous. In this article, the author argues that it is a mistake to invite business leaders to instruct school leaders on how to run their organizations or how to become more effective leaders. Not many business leaders understand the conditions of schooling well enough to provide such advice. As the highly regarded management consultant Jim Collins reminds everyone, not that many businesses are really exemplars of great practice in the first place. It is possible to learn from both exemplary and less-than-exemplary business organizations and their leaders, but only if these leaders serve as storytellers rather than instructors. If the lessons learned by business leaders are to be of value to educators, it must be left to the educators to discern what can be learned from the stories told. To learn from the stories of business leaders, school leaders must first accept the fact that the organizations they lead, though perhaps unique in some ways, are nonetheless complex, formal organizations--and all formal organizations have much in common. For many school leaders, business is a metaphor, and sometimes the metaphor may provide useful ideas, examples and illustrations. Business stories may be seen sometimes as morality tales, sometimes as comedies and sometimes as tragedies, but all such stories can be stories from which school leaders can learn. The key is to position business leaders as collegial storytellers and to position educational leaders as sophisticated learners, rather than as naive apprentices.
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A