Progress not Perfection
CEO Thought of the Week
I hope you have had a positive week, and that the Christmas excitement is still at a manageable level.
Those of you who have worked with me for a while will know that the mantra “Progress not Perfection” is a favourite! In fact, we use it as the wallpaper on the Trust Twitter account. We all know that in the world of Education “perfection” is a myth and if anyone ever tells you that they’ve got this business cracked then they’re either lying to you or to themselves. Therefore, all we can do is continually work to make progress and to try to be a little bit better each day. We are often fooled into thinking one massive change will make the difference and it very rarely ever does. What makes the difference and helps us build momentum and ultimately make progress is small incremental improvements backed up by almost “ruthless consistency” in what we do. In our jobs we don’t have the luxury to blow “hot and cold”- our children, families and colleagues need us to bring our professional A-game every day. Now that doesn’t mean we always feel like that and many days we need to paint on a smile as we go about our work but that is the nature of being in a profession that serves others. We all know the feeling of going into a restaurant where the waiter is dismissive and rude, or we’ve been met with the passive-aggressive checkout operator. We can’t be like that with our children or each other. Many of our children experience that in their home lives (and much worse) so we must be the constant for them and find other ways (and places) to let off steam. We don’t have the roles where we can just push the repeat button each day like we’re on a production line- we must be intuitive, to read the situations around us, to respond and adapt and most importantly try to improve. This can feel like a pressure, but pressure can also be seen as a privilege- it means that what you do matters, that it is of value and that we deep-down want to get it right. (Please note that pressure and stress are two very different things- pressure is a privilege of being part of something that matters! Stress on the other hand is a culmination of internal anxiety and something that we collectively all want to reduce.)
So, I hear you ask what does all that have to do with progress- well often when you’re amid all the noise and busyness, progress can seem non-existent. You can feel like you are treading water and getting nowhere or its one step forwards and two back. Therefore, it’s important to take a step back and gain perspective occasionally. This week I have been working on our annual report which has allowed me to do just that. Each year I’m forced to stop and reflect at the progress the Trust has made, the journey of our individual schools and how Infinity has developed as an organisation. And to be honest, it blows me away! We get so busy trying to be a little bit better, trying to be consistent that very often we don’t look over our shoulder to see how far we’ve come. I hope this weekend and over the festive period you get to pause and “take notice” (one of the five ways to Well-Being) at the progress you’ve made in your own role, with specific children, with your curriculum area and in your school. Yes- we can always see the to-do list and the million things we still wish to achieve but just think about how big your “done” list would be if you had kept it over the Autumn term. We may not be “perfect” but goodness me across the board and without exception we’re making some amazing “progress”.
Have a great weekend!
PS- keep an eye out for our Annual Report which should be in your inbox before Xmas. You are all a crucial part of making Infinity something to be proud of and a Trust that keeps getting better!