Cut it to your core and concentrate on clarity

Rob Evans spoke of taking things off of our plates before adding more on. Gary Hamel introduced the notion of core competencies. And Greg McKeown gave us the clarity paradox.

“the clarity paradox,” … can be summed up in four predictable phases:

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success. 
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities. 
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts. 
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, success is a catalyst for failure.

– from “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” Harvard Business Review, August 8, 2012.

It’s a fundamental principal of design, too. Take away all that is non-essential. Reduce until you cannot reduce any more. Then, the best will remain. When I think of this principal, I think of a sculptor reducing a block of marble to the essential remains – I see something like Michelangelo’s David. In fact, now that I think of it, the content of the statue points strongly to the lesson, as well – a small boy with only a sling defeating an enormous giant.

One way in which a school can achieve systemic unity and cohesive pedagogical architecture – don’t add so much to your plate…know your core competency…maintain your clarity of purpose…strip away the stone to reveal the statue…master the sling and know your creator instead of carrying too many weapons and weighing yourself down with too much proudly worn armor.