I’m competitive by nature. I’ve always been that way. When I was a kid, I wanted to be first. I wanted to get my way. I wanted to be the leader. As I grew older, I quickly learned that telling others what to do and getting my way wasn’t always the best way to be a leader. Through trial and error, I learned to value teamwork, listen to the perspectives of others and step back and observe. When I began my career in education I soon learned that being competitive with others wasn’t going to get me very far. The only way that I could get better was to push myself and focus on my own behavior. Still, I wanted to be the best. I wanted this for myself, but more importantly for my students.
This summer, after reading Urban Meyer’s book, Above the Line, I learned about the leadership principle of 10-80-10. Donna Mahoney writes of this principle in a 2016 blog post for Sprint Business:
According to the 10-80-10 principle of human behavior, the nucleus of a group—its best or elite performers—represent 10 percent of the team. Outside this nucleus are the 80 percent—the teammates who consistently perform good work–and the bottom 10 percent, which is composed of slackers and other malcontents. At Ohio State, Meyer tried to motivate as many players as possible to move from the middle group into the top one. By the end of the 2014 season, Meyer estimates that 30 percent of his squad were among this nucleus group.
In the following video, Sunjay Nath further explains the 10-80-10 principle.
I want to be among the elite “10 percenters". I want my behavior to be such that I inspire others to be better.
It’s important that we all take a step back and evaluate our behavior. Imagine where our schools could be if we shifted the behaviors of more and more educators into that of the elite 10.
As we reflect on our behavior we need to ask ourselves these questions and answer them honestly:
Where do I want to be?
Who do I want to be?
Am I okay with average?
When faced with a challenge, how do I behave?
How does my behavior impact the performance of those around me?
Am I part of the 10, the 80 or the 10? What behaviors cause me to be part of
Who is part of the elite 10? How do they behave? How must I change my behavior to become part of this group?
And finally, remember, “If you can raise the level of effort and performance of those around you, you are a leader.” Urban Meyer.
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.