G2G: Leadership Lessons from the Classroom

Abhishek Paul
May 20, 2019 · 2 min read

Last Friday, we had Naveen, the Managing Trustee of Headstart Learning Centre share his ideas on re-imagining education with us during G2G. Rather than just point out flaws in the educational system, he has gone ahead and built an ecosystem that is now a thriving proof of how children’s learning can and should be redefined.

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Here are the highlights from his talk:

  1. The flaw / root cause is that we have lost sight of the purpose of education, ie the “Why”. It has now devolved into a vehicle to pass examinations. You don’t need 12 years for that.
  2. He reengineered the school to now function as a Social Incubation Centre — a space where great people come together to bring about social transformation
  3. Curiosity is key to learning at any age. So education rightly done will have to nurture it — fan the flames not pour water over it.
  4. Schools have spent their time teaching children “what” to learn instead of “how” to learn. Vast amount of time is wasted and the burden of learning falls on the teacher.
  5. Children’s ability to grasp ideas and learn skills is vastly underestimated. Traditional schools have decided what kids can learn, by when and all kids of a certain age have to conform to these standards.
  6. Exposure can teach kids much more than theory. It also make each kid be aware of gaps in learning and go out and get that knowledge.

Learnings for Organizations:

What struck me was the realization that the ideas discussed to build a great school had significant similarities to building a great organization — a journey we are on.

  1. It takes a minimum of 10 years to build something that can create a transformation. 10 years of deliberate growth not drifting along.
  2. Great organizations grow leaders from within. They invest deliberately in identifying, developing and trusting them with responsibility > experience but proportional to potential and track record
  3. To remain creative, we need to stay small — short term growth is the wrong metric to gauge long term success. Reduce size but increase impact.
  4. Accept that talented people exist outside yourself / organization — rather than be a bottleneck, a leader has to create an environment that brings in the best to come, teach and play.
  5. Be curious, keep tinkering, remind yourself that the status quo / SOP is a a slow poison.

So while Naveen gave us his insights on how to make a serious dent in the educational system, we gained ideas on how to build a great organization and have fun doing it!

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