An Old Crusader: When Leadership Fails

When I look back on the WHY I started down the road of being a CTO, I found myself with a profound desire to make things better, to do that which other CTOs had so often failed--to empower classroom learning experiences through the use of technology. So often, I found in my own experience, CTOs were vain suits and creatures of political expediency, their focus being on the latest gadgets, chasing after district funding for projects that did little, seldom doing anything that addressed the profound problems school districts faced. Make it simple, my experiences cried, help them transform their work, to do what would be impossible. A young man's hubris? Probably but no less worthy a goal.
there is no shortcut to improved learning outcomes in a post-2015 world economy where knowledge and skills have become the global currency, the key to better jobs and better lives. And there is no central bank that prints this currency. We cannot inherit this currency, and we cannot produce it through speculation; we can only develop it through sustained effort and investment in people.  Source: Andreas Schleicher as cited by Dangerously Irrelevant
I hoped that I could overcome my natural shyness, my social ineptness, and that I would somehow inspire others to follow me because my cause was just. In truth, though, I have often reflected on my failures as a leader. They have proven to be more instructive than fleeting success, and I am beginning to wonder...why is the road so long and hard? At every turn, there is advice...leadership advice by the bucketful, yet, it is difficult to realize. As they say, perhaps, "Advice is toxic."

Image Source: Daily Picks and Flicks
I don't remember when I left the road to success, when the exit sign called to me more than the open road. I do know that I agree wholeheartedly with the message on the side of this truck. It is a lesson that is inscribed on my heart, that forces me to reflect and ask, "Where does the long road begin so that I may follow it? There are no shortcuts."

Then, I realize that I am on it, that the long road is fraught with failure, that the path lies through the challenges, that all else is illusion. There was no exit sign, the truth remains as it was--a beacon of hope to which I must hearken.

One more time, let me try, let me begin again.

Update: Some people have called me and asked, "What's up?" The truth is, I am casting for a renewal of spirit, a getting in touch with the core, bedrock reasons I started out to be a CTO. By doing so, I regain power and strength, my conviction is strengthened, and I realize that the obstacles are not insurmountable. Think of it as a re-dedication, a opportunity to gain a firmer grip on things. 
And, while early days certainly saw glory in the work, the real excitement is that there are no shortcuts. Like when you want to help people in a school embrace technology as a part of have to go classroom by classroom, issue by issue, and work through it, whatever "it" is. If you're not committed, then you lack the stamina to reach the finish line. I hope that makes sense and this update clarifies the goal of the post.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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