As school districts struggle to balance their budgets, the concept of running schools like a business continues to be a frequent topic of discussion. For those of you who are Jim Collins devotees this dialog is meaningless, for the distinction should not be between business and social sectors, but rather between good and great organizations.
The business world is full of companies we would be foolish to emulate - Enron, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, General Motors and Chrysler to name a few. All were profitable at one time or another and some even set the standard within their respective industries. However, each has either failed outright or required millions of federal bailout dollars to survive. For us in schools, like the astronauts on Apollo 13, "failure is not an option!"
Therefore, our goal should not be to be more businesslike, as this is clearly no precursor for success. Rather our goal should be to get better. To be an organization that makes the very best use of our available resources, (people, time & money to name a few) so that we educate our students better than we ever have. As Collins says, "this is not a business concept, this is a great organization concept!"