We Have a Dream

“I have a dream.”

Millions were inspired by those words.

Now if Martin Luther King had said, “I have a strategic plan” or “I have a set of performance indicators”, do you think the effect would have been the same?

It is a dream, or a vision – a shared vision, that motivates groups of people to rise above expectations.

Andy Hargreaves pointed this out last spring  (May 1, 2014) at the Ontario Leadership Congress in Toronto (also in his TEDx Talk).

In his recent book, Uplifting Leadership, Hargreaves reflects on seven years of global research to list four characteristics of organizations that have risen to the top with seemingly very few resources.

The number one characteristic is the relentless pursuit of a shared dream or vision.

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Dreamcatcher image shared under a Creative Commons Attribution License by Chie.


Mary Jean Gallagher tells us that schools must be places where children can realize their “best possible, most richly-imagined future” (Jan. 17, 2014, Toronto)

As we begin this new school year, I wonder…

Do we share those dreams with our students? Are we relentlessly pursuing them together?


Featured image shared under a CC attribution license by katerha

2 thoughts on “We Have a Dream

  1. Hi Donna,

    Simon Sinek talks about this very thing in his book “Start with Why”. He talks about the idea of a vision statement rather than the typical mission statement and although I think his work is predominantly aimed at business, it does provides an opportunity for reflection for educational leaders. While we work through various initiatives, it is easy to see how motivation can be lost as the information we present can lack vision and inspiration. Explicitly connecting the work we do to larger purpose, and ensuring that everything we do is connected to our ‘Why’, can go a long way in increasing engagement and motivation. As Sinek says repeatedly in his book, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Thanks for you insightful post!


  2. Hi Scott;

    Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts on this post. Interestingly, my first versions of this post included Simon Sinek’s work. I have now included a link to his TED talk.

    I worked this summer for the first time in years, but it gave me the opportunity to observe the incredible intrinsic motivation of teachers who spend their vacation time learning more so they can better serve their students.

    The last thing we ever want to do is disrupt that intrinsic motivation!

    As leaders, we need to tap into it, support it, spread it! Passion for what you do is a powerful force.

    Have a fabulous and rewarding year.


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