Make Things Happen

by Jean Tower


I recently heard someone say that there are three types of people – there are people who:

  • Make things happen,
  • Watch things happen,
  • Wonder what happened.

When I heard this I laughed out loud and then I thought of the educational technology administrators who I know and work with and I thought, “Now that’s a group of people who are MAKING things happen.”

I recalled so many instances where I have found this to be true. When I meet with technology administrators from across the state (MassCUE , METAA )  I leave those meetings amazed at what we have planned, accomplished, and committed to do.

Through my local education collaborative (Assabet Valley Collaborative ) I meet regularly with the technology administrators from the districts in the collaborative. The energy and commitment of this group blows me away. We plan and execute grants, cooperative professional development, and entirely new initiatives for managing data, offering online professional development, and developing policies. It is an incredible group and they MAKE things happen.

On a national level, I have been lucky to be working on  the CoSN committee refreshing our CTO Competency Framework . The work has been thoughtful and reflective and has included many voices ~ all the attributes of a project that would typically be long and drawn out and slow moving. But not so. This group MAKES thing happen. It has been (and continues to be) such a pleasure to be part of this group and to collaborate with such fast-thinking, active, results-oriented colleagues.

Then, I look back to my own work in my school district, where I am much more “solo” than when I work with my fellow technology administrators and I wonder if I “measure up.” My inner critic (who is quite pushy) wants me to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN fast and with lots of impact. Schools just move a little too slowly for that inner voice of mine. I don’t want to be accused of WATCHING things happen, but I find myself trying to strike the right balance between leading change and maintaining the current status. In John Kotter terms, I’m looking for the right degree of urgency.

Anyone out there have the recipe and want to share it?

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