Undercover Head of School

I normally don’t watch TV except for sports and the news.

On Sunday evening I was flipping through the countless cable channels and came across the show, “Undercover Boss.” Immediately this show grabbed my attention as it featured one of the owners of the Chicago Cubs going undercover.

The owner had grown a beard and wore a hat. His appearance was very different from his usual executive attire and polish. He went undercover selling hot dogs, parking cars, working on the grounds crew, changing the scoreboard, and more. This experience gave him an inside look at the organization that he would never have seen in his current role.

One thing he said stood out to me. As he was speaking to the staff of the Cubs organization at the conclusion of his undercover experience, he said, “I don’t know anything except that all of the ideas to make the Chicago Cubs a better organization are right here.”

I think schools can learn a lot from this TV show and from what he said.

I am not advocating that you grow a beard, wear a hat and disguise yourself among your faculty, staff and students—although that might be a very telling experience. However, I do think it is important for you to see your school in action—to experience it in ways that you might not normally see—especially if you are the head of school.

Sometimes the boss—or in your case, the head of school—doesn’t have a clear picture of what is going on. Therefore, you must rely upon what your people tell you.

Sometimes you must get out there and become vulnerable with your people in your school. You must allow them to tell you the way things really are so that your blinders are taken off.

You must realize that your people—your faculty and staff—have the ideas you need as the head to make your school a better place.

Only when you really know what is going on in your school and listen to the ideas of your people will you know what you must do to make your school a better place—for your faculty, staff, parents, students, donors, and alumni.

And when you work to make your school a better place by listening to the ideas of your people, the impact will be felt on your enrollment.

How can we help?