The Simplest, Hardest Lessons Make the Biggest Difference

This is my last blog for The Cornerstone, as I will be leaving for a new job July 1.  I’ve learned a great deal during the last six years, some of it from more experienced colleagues in the AEA system, some of it from GPAEA team members who have so graciously shared with me the intricacies of their day-to-day work, and a lot of it from the many educators throughout SE Iowa whom we continue to serve.  I’ve seen some resounding successes and some disappointing failures and I want to take a moment to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned.  While I have learned a lot of lessons (many the hard way), these three are the most important ones I want to share upon my departure.  They are simple lessons to remember, but often hard to follow and I have found they often make the difference between success and failure.

The most important thing I’ve learned about service agency work (and educational work in general) during my tenure here is that everything we do has to be driven first by the building of a relationship.  In the absence of a quality relationship, successful collaboration is an uphill battle, if not impossible.  Our successes and our failures are the direct result of the quality of the relationship that exists between the parties involved.  I have encountered some very smart people in recent years who believe that their knowledge or technical expertise is the most important thing they have to offer, but it isn’t.  Solutions must be adaptive to each unique situation and I’ll take a team united more by caring, commitment, and empathy over one heavy on expertise every time.

Continue Reading at The Simplest, Hardest Lessons Make the Biggest Difference

One thought on “The Simplest, Hardest Lessons Make the Biggest Difference

  1. Well written and oh so true! Plan to share your blog today with the brand new graduate here in Philadelphia. Jon, you have been an inspiring leader with your sincere listening and caring attitude and ways. One small, though extremely powerful way is simply remembering someone’s name, thank-you! I have tried to remember names of siblings, grandparents, significant others etc in the Early Access homes I serve. Thank-you for the periodic reminders about quality relationships, as my professional and personal life continue I know with great conviction that I want to serve with passion and love for others and I am happy to admit with age comes that growth in wisdom to see the importance of this practice. I am so happy for you and your family and wish you blessings in this move and in your professional endeavors.

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