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Embracing the WHY

By Dr. Rickie R. Harris

Author Simon Sinek writes about the concept of the Golden Circle in his book Start with Why. Ultimately, through the implementation of the concepts associated with the Golden Circle, organizations can evolve into GREAT organizations as a result of being led with a clear purpose that supports their cause and beliefs. The Golden Circle and the resulting philosophy of success are the focus of my column today.

Let me begin with the basic premise of The Golden Circle. It is comprised of three components:

  1. Why – a belief
  2. How – how to accomplish the belief
  3. What – proof of the why

The success of the Golden Circle concept is contingent upon the order of execution of each component.

Successful organizations begin from the inside, rather than the outside. They identify WHY, before WHAT they do.  WHY ultimately refers to an organization’s clarity of existence. HOW is their discipline to hold to the guiding principles of their belief or WHY. Finally, WHAT is the consistency of practice and proof of their WHY.

In the West Orange-Cove school system, our leaders are closely examining our WHY. Consequently, I also recently met with a group of long-standing stakeholders. These were employees and/or community members who have been a part of our system for a minimum of 15 years (as an employee, student, and/or parent). From our discussion, we agreed that our WHY is to transform lives.

Transforming lives is more than just educating students and/or presenting academic content. We believe that in order to transform lives we must be prepared to teach our students skills beyond the classroom. To transform lives, we must teach students to be productive citizens in and beyond our community.  West Orange-Cove CISD must be more than just an educational institution. We must be an integral support mechanism for our families.

To explain further, we understand that we are a school or education system. However, to best serve our students and this community, we believe our cause for existing, our WHY, is to transform students’ lives. We will execute our purpose through educating students (this is our HOW or component #2 of above Golden Circle). West Orange – Cove’s WHAT (component #3) or our proof of our WHY is through an exceptional educational experience.

Therefore, our mission statement, developed by stakeholders several years ago, is still true:

In Partnership with our community, our mission is to transform lives through an exceptional educational experience. 

With this statement, we communicate that we will do our best to transform the lives of every student enrolled in our system.  We welcome the responsibility and the challenges that accompany that statement.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

Go Mustangs!

Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.