In his NFL playing days, Jerome Sally would have spent his summer getting ready for pre-season training camp. But Sally, who played professionally for seven seasons for the New York Giants, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Kansas City Chiefs, spends his summers doing what many school administrators do, getting ready for the next school year.
A graduate of William Woods Masters in Education program, Sally has worked for the Columbia Public School District since the early 1990s, and is now assistant principal at David H. Hickman High School, in Columbia.
For Sally and hundreds of other William Woods graduates working in leadership roles, the busy life of a school principal does not down shift for summer as much as people might assume. But the change of season might prompt him and others to consider picking up a book or two in the name of continuing education. Here’s a list of five potential summer reads — mostly work, a little pleasure — from the world of business and management:
1. “No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends” By Richard Dobbs, Jonathan Woetzel, and James Manyika
As much as you have studied and trained to be a school leader, sometimes — maybe often times — you must call upon your intuition. The directors of the McKinsey Global Institute synthesize serves full of data and settle on four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: the rise of emerging markets, the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition, an aging world population, and accelerating flows of trade, capital and people. We know eventually, every change outside the school fence and doors comes inside.
2. “Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life” By Glennon Doyle Melton, Scribner Book Company
Women continue to lead more US schools — upwards of 55 percent today, a ten percent climb from the 1999-2000 school year when women accounted for about 44 percent of public school principals. For women and their male peers, Glennon Doyle Melton’s funny/poignant reflections on building community — inside and outside your school life — might be a good tonic after a year of successes and failures on that front.
3. Frugal Innovation: How to Do More with Less By Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu.
If there is one challenge that school leaders grapple with every day, it’s how to do more with less. A book like this might offer principals a fresh perspective on that daily dance with what the authors call “frugal innovation.” Lessons here also for such things as leading a more sustainable school, and winning over parents and the community with more frugal thinking.
4. On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership By Alison Levine
Maybe the world, and school principals, could do without another book on leadership, but the title here promises something new. Author Levine offers concrete insights into leading learned from her various expeditions in extreme environments ranging from Mt. Everest to the South Pole. Maybe a school principal could invite her to put these concepts to work in the most extreme of environments — the school.
5. Persuasion Equation: The Subtle Science of Getting Your Way By Mark Rodgers
At least half a school principal’s typical day comes down to negotiation and persuasion — so why not learn a few new strategies and techniques. Author Rodgers defines persuasion as “ethically winning the heart and mind of your target.” Maybe the target jargon is a little macho, but the book does get down to the nitty-gritty of decision-making, offering insights into the roles of personality type and gender. He also tackles the tough topic of credibility: acquiring it, losing it, and rebuilding it.