Where Culture Starts

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Andrew Yee

You often hear how it is the “leader’s” responsibility to help create the culture of a school.  Leader, in this case, is often referring to a principal, superintendent, administrator, etc., and although they do have a significant role in establishing this culture, it is everyone’s responsibility.  I have heard teachers become frustrated with others on staff, yet when you work with them to address others, often they are fearful of saying something to a colleague.  To me, silence is consensus.

I read this post from Jamie Notter this morning and he shared a video from the Australian Army Chief talking about the issue of sexual harassment in their military.  The Chief shared this short but powerful quote:

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

Notter followed up with some of his own thoughts:

We all create the culture we’re in. Our actions, our words, even our thoughts. People in leadership roles often have the opportunity to leverage those words, thoughts, and actions, due to the attention they get, but we all are creating the culture every day. Be intentional about it. Be clear about what is valued and what drives success. And choose to behave consistently with that understanding, even if that feels like the harder choice in the moment.

I have always believed that the first place we always need to look is at ourselves before we starting talking about the deficiencies of others.  I have been guilty of this as I assume many of you are that are reading this post, but we still have to make a concerted effort to look inward first.

Someone said that when we point one finger at someone else, we have three pointing back at ourselves (who knows what your thumb is doing!).  Culture is something that starts with individuals before it becomes the norm.



  1. I had exactly this conversation yesterday with the staff of a primary school here in Victoria Australia as we began the journey of implementing teacher rubrics for empowering a developmental mindset!

  2. I listened to David Morrison’s (our Australian chief of army) speech on the car radio on the way back from school. Leadership is a collective responsibility. To lead is to serve. Everyone is a leader in some capacity. Leadership involves action. Action is the bridge between our dreams and reality. Everyone is able to action in some form and I encourage all educators to believe that change brings growth. Through action we continue to grow, refine and develop our learning. The ripple effect is alive and well. @7mrsjames

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