Who is first?

Photo by Faith Goble

A few days ago I read a post in the blog education invitation titled: Putting Students First and Putting Teachers First: The Ambidextrous Professional Learning Community.  This is the basic idea: Education is about the students. We should put them first. Giving them valuable education is the number one goal. But in order to do that, we need to put teachers first. Because by investing in our teachers, we do the best thing for the students. Now, on its face these two ideas seem to contradict each other. And that is exactly the point. Because holding these two contradicting ideas together in our minds, allows us to reach innovative solutions.

And this is applicable not only in education but also in business:

Research by Gallup and others shows that engaged employees are more productive. They are more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. The best-performing companies know that an employee engagement improvement strategy linked to the achievement of corporate goals will help them win in the marketplace (source: Gallup Website)

Yes. The customer comes first. Yes. We need to think about the bottom line and profit. But as I wrote in Obliquity and management, sometimes the best way to reach your goal is the indirect way. And in this case, the indirect way is by putting your employees first.

I hope that by putting the employees and some other goal first, we will have to come with innovative ideas about how to treat our employees. It is time we desert the Taylorism and begin to adopt an approach that does not see the employees as an instrument but as a partner. It is time to understand that most businesses thrive if employees are given the right tools and good bosses. It is time to accept new thinking that allows innovative solutions. Let’s put our employees first together with other goals.


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