School of Business Affairs - October -2017

4 OCTOBER 2017 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS Leadership, Integrity, and Student Success Anthony N. Dragona, Ed.D., RSBA president’s message A s a longtime New York Giants football fan, I recall when Tom Coughlin was hired as head coach. Among the myriad challenges of stepping into such a high-profile position, Coughlin also inherited a problem of player tardiness. To address this chronic problem, Coughlin had all the clocks in the Giants training facil- ity set ahead by five minutes. Therefore, being “on time” for a meeting was really being five minutes early. Being late meant stiff fines for the tardy player. “Coughlin Time” came about because previous attempts at curbing player lateness were unsuccessful. The new solution, while unpopular at first, became the norm. It was decisions such as these that earned Coughlin the nickname “Colonel Coughlin.” Making the right decision is one the greatest challenges of leadership. As school business officials, we make decisions based on our trust in our team—trust that they will be honest and responsible, that they will collect the data, interpret it, and inform us of their findings. We make decisions based on our own integrity as well. Being fair, listening to others, and empower- ing them as part of the decision-making pro- cess are strategies that go a long way toward bolstering our integrity and ensuring effective decision making. For example, often being the ones with the most longevity on the management team bestows upon us an element of seniority. When a new superintendent is selected, when new administrators move up the professional ladder, and when new board members take their seats at the table, our years of service and the decisions we’ve made come under review. We must ensure that our experience and our integrity guide us as we work with these new arrivals. They often are full of fresh ideas and solutions that may be already-tried solutions from the past that didn’t succeed. Rather than dismissing their proposals outright, we should take the time to explain why past attempts led to failure while keeping in mind that because the problem has not yet been solved, proposed solutions are always worth considering. As leaders, we are the face of the orga- nization, in good times and in crisis. Our stakeholders must trust us and our word. They should see us as dependable, visible, and honest—as providers of factual information. Then, when we need to communicate the dif- ficult message, perhaps a program reduction, resource allocation, or emergency situation, they hear our message from the mouth of someone with proven integrity. It may not make the words more palat- able, but it does add credence. Case in point: Coughlin, who earned two Super Bowl rings as coach of the Giants, is now executive vice president of football operations for the Jack- sonville Jaguars, and yes, he brought with him the five-minutes-early rule. Jacksonville players may not like the rule, but they respect it and the coach who established it. Chuck Peterson, ASBO’s incoming presi- dent, holds integrity as one of his core val- ues personally and professionally, and I am certain that will be reflected throughout his presidency. Chuck, along with incoming Vice President Tom Wohlleber and the full ASBO Board of Directors, are poised to continue to move our association forward. With your continued support and involvement, we can Manage Resources for Student Success. Making the right decision is one of the greatest challenges of leadership. Anthony N. Dragona, Ed.D., RSBA President, ASBO International School Business Administrator/Board Secretary Union City (NJ) Board of Education