Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Power of Reframing

"How do you match the right idea to the right problem, at the right time, and in the right way" is an opening line in the book by Lee Bolman and Terry Deal on the art of "Reframing Organizations." In our quest to consider the possibilities of the future in education through the lens of technology, we can use their concept of "reframing" to help us. Bolman and Deal go on to say, "An artist reframes the world to help us see new possibilities. Modern organizations rely too much on engineering and too little on art.... Art is not a replacement for engineering, but an enhancement. Artistic leaders are essential in helping us see beyond today's organizational forms that will release untapped individual energies and improve collective performance. The leader as artist will rely on images as well as memos, poetry as well as policy, reflection as well as command, and reframing as well as refitting." Within this text, the authors point out Burns' (1978) work, or the concept of transformational leaders that bring out the best in their followers, moving the organization to pursue more universal needs and higher purpose. Transforming leaders are visionary leaders and visionary leadership is invariably symbolic. More specifically, they state, "Transforming leaders use symbols to capture attention; Symbolic leaders frame experience; Symbolic leaders discover and communicate a vision; Symbolic leaders tell stories." How will we become transformational leaders in education, how will we develop the artistic ability to reframe, to see new possibilities, to create new opportunities, and to provide a new vision for the the future of our students?
We deal with people, not machines; we deal with opportunity not control; and, we deal with the future, not the past. How will we paint this canvas? How will we provide a future that truly makes a difference for our students, our society and our world?

1 comment:

Markel said...

Great points, Patrick. We often forget about the leader's additional role as artist. How can a leader transform a negative situation into a positive? How can the leader create a vivid picture and memory of a product, concept, or dream to inspire? Much like a jingle for a commercial, we remember the oroduct, concept, or idea every time we hear the jingle.

I think Ronald Reagan championed this idea during his presidency by being able to put a face with a policy he was proposing. And his craftiness was evident in that everyone could identify with the face, even if they couldn't identify so much with the policy.