11/09/2017

The greatest...

I hope you had a great holiday. 'Time for the good times..., oh yeah', as Madonna so rightly puts it.

I certainly had good times relaxing and watching the pantomime of the World Athletics Championship in London back in August, with its villains....

Gatlin_Villain

And it's heroes and heroines...

Athletics World Championships

Amongst the heroes were, of course, two of 'the greatest', taking their final bow on the world stage...

The greatest ever...

Usain Bolt

And the greatest ever from Britain...

Mo Farah

'The Greatest' was also an epithet applied in another, albeit sadder context over the summer, with the passing of Sir Bruce Forsyth; our 'greatest ever' all-round entertainer....

Bruce Forsyth

Given its prevalence over the holiday, I spent some time reading and thinking about 'greatness'; reflecting on its characteristics. How do individuals, team, organisations become 'the greatest'.

These two were particularly enlightening...

Syed

Mathew Syed specifically explores the common features of the world's greatest ever sports performers, whilst Own Slot's analysis of how Team GB bucked every previous former Olympic and Paralympic host nation trend by further increasing its greatest ever medal haul from London 2012 in Rio last offers fascinating insights into a related culture of continuous improvement.

The common themes which emerge from them is the being 'the greatest' is about...

Longevity
sustaining high performance over time, building on previous success

Resilience
building on previous failures as much if not more so than the successes; set backs and the critical learning that comes from them. When the going gets tough, the tough get going...

Team
greatness isn't achieved in isolation. Coaches, psychologists, physics, agents... family all provide a vital support network that underpins performance...

Style and beauty
great performers achieve well, they don't simply win - they have, sorry, an X-factor; they are showmen, have charisma...

Inspiration
because of the nature of their achievements, and their style in securing them, they motivate others to be even better themselves...

 

I guess we would recognise  these features in what all of my earlier exemplars of greatness achieved during their careers.

 

Which finally brings me to the summer holiday in school. And why I chose 'The Greatest', starting with them, as the theme for both my staff meeting and last week's start of term assemblies.

 

This year's GCSE results, in the most challenging examination context for 30 years, were 'the greatest'... ever. A further 5% improvement on last year's which, until this summer, were... the greatest ever!

 

Way, way above national and local averages.

 

How wonderfully they practised; how brilliantly they rose to the challenge of 'leaving the jersey in a better place'....

 

www.parkhouseschool.org/Blog/practice-makes-perfect.aspx

 

http://www.parkhouseschool.org/Blog/A-Challenge.aspx

 

My key messages, then. To both students and staff.

 

Those wonderful young people's equally wonderful achievements were based on the characteristics of greatness that we've just described....

 

Based on commitment, over time, with continuous learning on the way, supported by the the 'team' of teachers and parents, achieved ' beautifully' in the context of so much else that they have done and contributed to the school and wider community (these young people will never be defined by letters and numbers alone), inspired by a success and continuous improvement culture.

GCSE results

We certainly - and rightly - celebrated (the other reason to start with Madonna!) the moment in the holiday....

 

And, like the greatest, we will reflect on it, and then move on. Because...

 

The greatest keep on learning...

 

The greatest are never complacent about their success...

 

And the greatest look forward to the next challenge...

 

So here's to the year ahead. It's going to be the greatest....

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