My father, Walter Senkowski, was a very successful business executive who, like many of today's corporate-minded school reformers believed in results. The results he was after were profits in the heavy construction equipment business and he had faith in his own ability to generate profits for his shareholders, so much so that he tied his own compensation almost completely to the profitability of his company and he encouraged his sales force to think about compensation in the same way. But he never tried to tie the compensation of his union member service workers to individual performance because he understood that this kind of direct tie to work outputs just couldn't be made with any integrity. And also important, he always knew that taking care of his employees, financially and personally, was critical to the bottom line with respect to profits and reputation.
I've been thinking about my father as I've been pondering selection criteria (with particular reference to "dispositions") for those entering the teaching profession. Throughout a career in management and in motivational speaking, Dad articulated what he called a "Credo for Success," and these were the dispositions that could get you there:
- A true sense of urgency
- A demand for excellence in yourself and others
- A compelling curiosity to know the things you don't yet understand
- A driving desire to do the best you know how TODAY
- A healthy disregard for the way things have been done in the past