Chapter 5, Mind the Gap: Cultivating Change and Closing the Disengagement Divide. This short chapter sets the stage for the last two chapters in the book.
The chapter starts out with the debate between strategy vs culture. Strategy is about the goals we want to accomplish and culture is "the way that we do things around here." Brown makes the argument that culture is more important and is "a critically relevant discussion for organizations" (p 174). She goes over 10 questions that can tell someone a lot about the culture of an organization. The questions are meant to illustrate the disconnection and disengagement between what we say and what we do, the space between what we we're actually doing, thinking and feeling and what we WANT to do, think and feel. This space is the disengagement divide. Brown argues that the greater the disconnect the more dehumanizing the culture. The greater the divide the harder it is to navigate an organization (business, family, religion, political organization). Brown gives powerful examples of the divide in politics and religion. She also gives examples of the disengagement divide within a family. The examples make me think of 2 idioms in particular. Practice what you preach, especially around your children because they are always watching. The other is, actions speak louder than words. I won't share Brown's examples. You should definitely read this book! The best one that I can think of that I deal with as a "tech" coach on a regular basis is digital leadership as it pertains to fair use and copyrighted images from the web in staff and student work. Many teachers let students use any images from the web that they find for their assignments. I've seen pictures with water marks on them being used. This is clearly a violation of copyright laws. I try to impress upon teachers that this goes against everything we should be teaching students. We teach our students that theft, taking something from someone else without permission or payment is a crime. We wouldn't let our students steal from a gift shop on a field trip, and we shouldn't let them steal images from the web. A person worked hard to create that original work. Their creativity and individualism should be valued. We had an incident a few years ago where a parent of one of our 7th graders had to get a lawyer because and artist was threatening legal action because the child used an image in his work without permission from the artist. This example is an illustration of aspirational values vs practiced values. "If our practiced values are in constant conflict with the expectation we set for our culture, disengagement is inevitable" (p 180). Students disengage from school when things like this are repeatedly done. Minding the gap between what we say and what we do is another example of daring greatly. Ask yourself as a school or teacher leader - Am I practicing the values that I hold out as an example of the culture of my school?
This chapter sets the stage for the last two chapters. I can't wait to see what Leah at Responsive Literacy and Kristin at Reading and Owl of the Above have to say about chapters 6 and 7.
I will leave you with this quote, "We don't have to be perfect, just engaged and committed to aligning values with actions" (p182).
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