When I worked in the Hanmer Springs State Forest in the late 80’s I knew at the end of the day where I had been and what I had done. I could look back at a row of pines and see a line of freshly pruned trees. It was that simple.

It was the same when I had a job mowing lawns. I could see exactly where I had been at the end of the day and how good my lawn cutting had been.

When you’re a leader it’s not always so easy to see the success in your day especially during these crazy times of Madvember!

So how do we know if anything we do actually makes a difference? How do we know if we’ve been successful?

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Success of course comes in all sorts of different ways and means different things for different people.

Take just one child for instance. He or she might be one of those challenging kids that we all seem to have. 

From this child’s perspective success might be being asked to play in a game with someone else at playtime or lunchtime.

From a learning assistant’s perspective with this same child, success might be getting that same child to find his reading book in the bottom of his bag and then getting him to read to the second page.

From a teacher’s perspective it might be seeing that same child get through the day without distracting four others, or biting a fifth.

From the Learning Team Leader’s perspective it might be not hearing about that particular child’s outbursts and having to deal with a frustrated and stressed out teacher.

From the principal’s perspective it might be not having to contact the Board Chairperson and letting them know that you’ve stood down that child for the umpteenth time.

Or maybe it might simply be sticking a principal award sticker on a piece of smudged work, proudly presented by the same child.

And from the Board perspective it might be being told, “thank you, but we don’t need any extra monetary support” for this child in the playground at intervals and lunchtimes.

Chances are that it’s that first perspective of success, the one of the child’s, and the one that appears the most simple, that has the most impact. Get that measure of success right and you’ll inevitably see a whole heap of other successes ripple from it. It’ll be then that you’ll know that you’ve made a difference.


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