“Systems thinkers” are essential to the growth of an organization. A vision that is created by stepping back and looking at the system as a whole is necessary if we are going to move from “pockets of innovation” to a “culture of innovation”. They see beyond any single classroom and help with widespread change.
The biggest problem with this though is that you also need to be a “systems doer”. If you can’t actually take that big thinking that goes beyond the classroom, and bring it into context of those same individual classrooms, any “vision” is just a bunch of buzzwords and phrases with no real meaning. It is important to challenge the system and ask questions, but if leaders have no answers as well, they lose credibility. If we are great at delegation, but not actually willing to be a part of the learning that can happen in classrooms and schools, then all of these thoughts don’t really mean much. It is imperative that we develop a big vision of what is possible in school today, but it doesn’t do much if we can’t give ideas and examples of how to break down into smaller steps that build confidence and competence of the same people within this system.
If someone can’t articulate what their “vision” could look like in the classroom, there might be lots of “systems thinking” but not much “systems doing”. Buzzwords become just that when what we say doesn’t actually make much sense in the context of the educators and students we serve.