Unimportant Information

It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted.  Life, doctoral studies and other complications have gotten in the way of me finding a little bit of time each week to write, reflect and think.  Nonetheless, the time is now right to get back to it.  For those of you still subscribed thanks for sticking with me, and maybe you can share this link and get me a few more readers.  – AT


Unimportant Information

Creative Commons Attribution, non-commercial, by Wysz

A colleague, I discovered the other day, has a three-ring binder that is labeled “unimportant information”.  It was sitting on the middle of a conference table in his office. He noted to me that he was given the binder to sit next to the binder labeled “important information” that was left for him by his predecessor.  After a hearty laugh — something I urge all of you to do daily– I serious mentioned that we all need one of those binders. As school leaders we are bombarded by information and data.  Some of it we need to ignore as it is “unimportant” in the grand scheme of finding direction to the mission of our organizations.

For my doctoral work this week we were asked to discuss the difference between “managers” and “leaders”.  Jim Collin’s in his book Good to Great outlines the concept of the level 5 leader and what it means to be a leader.  Collins (2001) defines the level 5 leaders as someone who “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of humility and professional will” (p. 452).  Level 5 leaders deal with the paradox of ambition and will against unpretentiousness humility and bravery, never letting their personal ambitions and goals getting in the way of the betterment of the organizations in which they lead (Collins, 2001).


Cover of

Cover via Amazon

The adopted goals of a level 5 leader are those of the organizations mission and vision.  Managers, on the other hand are great at getting things done, moving their organization from one task, one process or one goal to another, but in general fail to keep the organization focused on the greater good of an organization.  Collins(2001) defines a competent manager as someone who “organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives” (p. 452).  What is clearly defined is that in cases where organizations succeed in gaining ground, making changes for improvement, it is the leader who can find the balance of what Collin (2001) describes as “humility + will= level 5” (p. 452).


I suspect a level 5 leader would connect to the idea of having an “unimportant information” binder.

Enhanced by Zemanta
This entry was posted in leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Unimportant Information

  1. Joseph Levno says:

    Good to see you posting again, Andy! I applaud that former colleague of yours who had the foresight and level of organization to make an “unimportant information” binder. Humility is definitely an important trait that I have a feeling many of us struggle with. Yet, humility allows us to let go of personal ambition and helps us establish strong trusting relationships. I can see how that works well for Level 5 leaders who embrace the goals of the company as their own goals. Good food for thought :).

  2. Simon Power says:

    Good to see you back Mr Torris….
    You’ve had some busy months recently!!

Comments are closed.