Choose continuous improvement over “good enough”


Successful leadership can sometimes be reduced to a small number of fundamental choices. Once those choices are made, they guide decisions and behavior in dozens of situations each week.

One of those choices is between continuous improvement and “good enough.”

Individuals and organizations are either improving or declining. They cannot sustain a steady state of performance for an extended period of time.

Continuous improvement is based on the assumption that is possible and desirable to find more effective and efficient ways to achieve important goals. It requires improving the processes of teaching or leadership and the acquisition of skills that improve both the quality of instruction and its outcomes.

The attitude of “good enough” views the status quo as either desirable or inevitable. It is closely linked to resignation in that individuals may believe that meaningful improvement is impossible.

“Good enough” asks us to do nothing more than accept the limitations of our current beliefs, understandings, and practices.

Continuous improvement has several benefits: 

• Students and the broader school community benefit with improved learning and stronger, more supportive relationships.

• When educators are successful, they feel energized, which fuels further improvement.

• School communities that are continuously improving are appealing places to learn, teach, and lead.

Conversely, when an attitude of “good enough” becomes embedded in the belief system of the culture, it limits the life chances of students and creates a slow-death spiral of energy within the school community.

In that sense, choosing continuous improvement is a moral imperative.

2 Responses to “Choose continuous improvement over “good enough””

  1. 1 barbarawmadden April 10, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Yes, success = energy! Thank you for another thoughtful post!

  2. 2 setdebello April 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

    It’s by no random chance that the most successful teachers, and by extension schools, are always looking to challenge and improve themselves. This isn’t to be confused with “hopping on the next bandwagon” approach that some administrators confuse with continuous improvement. Great blog!

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