Our work is bound by restraints and obstacles.  For years we have been told to eliminate obstacles.  What if obstacles were not meant to be eliminated? Would we experience more growth, as leaders, by leveraging the power of obstacles instead of eradicating them?

Below are three examples of unavoidable obstacles (the point is not to avoid but to see the advantages) that education leaders choose to leverage:

Time. All we are given is 24 hours, 7 days a week. The limitation of time forces leaders to pinpoint their vision. To create a laser focus on it. What is it we must do and why must we do it now?

Testing.  Test scores are not about one teacher, one principal, or one superintendent. It’s about all of us working together, collaborating as a team. It’s about creating unique and remarkable learning experiences for our students. If these two elements (teacher collaboration and rich student learning) are solid inside of our school culture, we’ve leveraged this obstacle.

Tightness. Schools are tight on resources. Creativity and innovation are born out of little, not an abundance. We have the opportunity to do the remarkable with the resources available. Yes, limited resources can be a catalyst for something fresh and innovative.

There is a reason we love reality shows (Gladiator, Wipeout, Amazing Race, etc.) that are centered on overcoming obstacles. A reason why triathlons are becoming more popular than ever. The challenge is immanent. What are you going to do with it?

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