From the Deputy Principal (Head of Junior School)

Posted 5 February 2021 12:10pm

Prior to the start of the 2020 school year our Principal, Mrs Anna Owen, set the school Executive team the task of reading Jim Collins’ and Morten T. Hansen’s latest book, Great by Choice, and reflecting on the findings of the authors and their research team in the context of our areas of responsibility at Canberra Girls Grammar.

When Great by Choice, a book that would guide many of our discussions about leadership, was chosen we were all blissfully unaware of the challenges the COVID-19 global pandemic would present and so it was fortuitous that our reading focused on identifying the characteristics of companies that rose to greatness in environments filled with uncertainty and rapid shifts.

During the recent staff week, prior to the return of students, I shared a story from a chapter of Great by Choice with teachers. In the chapter titled 20 Mile March, Collins and Hansen used a numbers of interesting short stories to highlight the importance of leading with clarity and consistency and delivering a sustained level of high performance in good times and bad.

The story I shared was about Amundsen and Scott who in 1911 led their teams in the quest to be the first to reach the South Pole. Ultimately, Amundsen was the winner and Scott the loser of both the race and the lives of his men. With similar experience, age, weather conditions and start date, Amundsen and Scott were a case study in how their leadership behaviours and decisions impacted the result of their quest and the well-being of their people. I have certainly taken on board the seven characteristics of a good 20 Mile March and apply them to all Junior School and ELC projects.

As we begin the 2021 school year I want to share with you my hope that this year will be safe, happy and productive for our whole school community and to thank you in advance for your ongoing support.

With warm regards

Angela Whitaker
Deputy Principal (Head of Junior School)