This is the first in a series of guest posts by Petrina North, Sycol Black Belt and education leadership expert.  Before joining Sycol, Petrina was Executive Principal  at the Parsons Down Federation.



When Sycol founder Dr Ioan Rees asked me to write a blog that people will find informative and helpful during the school day it made me think: does anyone ever have the time to read a blog in a school day? If they do, they were ‘a better person than I’.  I can remember meaning to do something from the moment I walked into school and not managing to do it until well after all other living beings had left the premises.


Looking back on it now, I realise that I was just not Lean.  Not only in the meaning of slim and svelte but also in the Sycol context – in the way I managed wastes.  Being Lean means taking every chance to eliminate waste and make something as simple, the best it can be, as swiftly as possible.  As leaders, we become adept at doing six things at once, for five different people, in four minutes, whilst waiting for three phone calls… but did I ever have anyone who explained to me how to be lean in my everyday dealings? No.  I wish I had. I realise now that I actually made things more complicated, wordy and time-consuming.  I didn’t mean to – goodness knows if I could have reduced my working hours I would have been delighted.  So, this blog is my gift to you.  Think of it as ‘Dieting for Leadership; operation lean’.


Most diets begin with identifying the things that cause the problem, often carbs.  So where are the carbs in your leadership style?  Carbs come in different guises and so do the wastes –  time, energy (yours and everyone else’s), talent, money, space, and opportunity.  Only six, and boy do they have an impact.  I wonder if, like me in years gone by, you made a New Years’ Resolution (in August) to be more organised and ahead of the game: to anticipate what is coming, whilst knowing that this will only work if you don’t have to rely on anyone else and Education Policy does not move the goal posts again.  Yes, I know, pigs might fly.


The change seems doomed before it starts.  I once heard someone say that the way to run a marathon was by cutting out the first teaspoon of sugar.  Small steps can lead to great changes. Phenomenal changes.


So again, where are your carbs? What do you waste? Time, energy, talent, money, space or opportunity? Or a combination?  Not intentionally of course, but still it happens.  How about you  take a closer look over the next few weeks. to notice the wastes in your practice and in school – then together we can consider each of the wastes and how they can be reduced.  Any doing this you will be creating energy, time and resource.


Together, we can cut some carbs and release some energy.

Read part 2 of Petrina’s blog Eliminating Time Wastage