This year’s topic: “Thinking like a Start-Up”.
Jendusa gave his unique perspective about thinking and acting like a leader within an entrepreneurial organization that is either in their startup or scale up phase. He shared stories from his entrepreneurial journey and discussed what his advisory business, STUCK Coaching, does to help entrepreneurs.
Speaking in front of around 500 administrators, teachers, faculty and students, Jendusa started his presentation with an online poll from Direct Poll. He asked the audience “What does entrepreneurship mean to you?”
An overwhelming majority of 76 percent of participants answered “Creating opportunities and growing something”.
In reality, there is no right or wrong answer. Jerry Jendusa explains, “It means different things to different people, and its concepts can be applied to anything, especially education”.
Jendusa’s speech focused on preparing the younger generation for the workforce. More specifically, how they can develop and be successful with an entrepreneurial thought process that will support the growth for themselves, teammates, and ultimately the organization they work for.
Specific questions revolved around:
How can our educators improve their invaluable services to build learners’ soft skills?
Is their classroom an environment that is a “great place to learn”? How can this be measured?
What gaps in skills did Jendusa notice in his own workforce?
And most importantly, are we personalizing the learning for each student?
He continued to explain how personalized learning is essential in school as people learn differently. The workplace needs different kinds of learners to be functional.
Then, he talked about how he co-founded the aerospace company, EMTEQ, with partner Jim Harahsa. As they grew the business, he started to see a variance in skills between the two. “We wouldn’t be able to function if we were the same kind of person,” he said “and I needed to understand this and play to our strengths. It was the differences of skills and personalities that helped our company grow.”
Jendusa stressed to educators to promote differences and to not say “no” to new ideas or new ways of doing things. He compared the classroom to a business and said that educators should learn about their students and support them as they work in the teams. “In business, the closer you are to your customer, the more you’ll be able to lead,” Jendusa continued, “the students are your customers” .
After talking about the importance of personalized learning, Jendusa went on to discuss what skills the best leaders need in the workforce.
“What can you do to develop the skills that are needed in the workforce?” he asked, “What can you do to turn your current state into that ideal future state where those skills are taught?”
First, he talked about having a system to measure these efforts, “You have reading, writing, math and science assignments. What about measuring if your classroom is a great place to learn?”
He discussed using a Single-Page Plan to share and measure the initiatives and targets that support personalized learning. The measurement of its success may be catered to each individual.
— Elizabeth Nelsen (@elizeducation) November 15, 2018
The presentation included a list of those soft skills that are needed in the workforce.
One of the skills listed on that slide and also a key talking point was “Being a PITA (Pain in the Ass)” individual. Jendusa talked about how these people can be looked upon as change agents in the education system. These people can help turn current states into ideal future ones.
Just learned what a PITA is….and other characteristics of ideal learners in the workforce from Jerry Jendusa@Institute4PL#PLconf18
— Christine Grams (@ctinegrams) November 15, 2018
Why are they considered a PITA? Can you use them to improve the classroom? Do they work best learning or working a way that hasn’t been done before? Can you untap their potential? Can this turn a classroom into a great place to learn?
As he concluded his presentation, he stressed the importance of change and continuous improvement. “It’s all about continual learning, always making improvements and not being afraid of change,” he stated.