A Time to Lead
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
-- Ecclesiastes 3, New International Version
There is a saying that comes to mind when I think of the pandemic, our current state of education in flux, and our brightest and best minds in EdTech: Fortune favors the bold.
As the Learning Counsel continues to speak with our nation’s education leaders through our virtual events, our podcasts and the myriad of conversations coming in and out of our offices on a daily basis, one fact has become abundantly clear. Our superintendents, curriculum directors, technology directors, principals and teachers are more determined than ever to provide a transformational experience for their learners. No one is giving up, and most educators, even though they may be working 12 to 15-hour days, have dug in with the understanding that failure is not an option. In fact, most see this pandemic shuffle as an opportunity to not only meet learning outputs from previous years, they see it as an opportunity to exceed all previous years, to take the viral lemons they were handed and make inspirational lemonade. But they do need one thing to make it happen: you.
This is a year like no other in education for a number of reasons. And every reason points directly to you and the amazing tools you offer our school districts and independent schools.
- A new paradigm requires new tools to make it happen. Our schools are actively searching for EdTech solutions that will help them maximize their success in remote learning. They are very open to conversations; in many cases, they have an idea what they want to make happen. In many more cases, they are looking for someone to bring them ideas. Talk to them, and listen more. Find out what their students need and then tell them how you can help them accomplish it. There has never been a better time in the history of the world for you to help our nation’s children. Schools are asking for your help. Give it to them.
- Everything is on the table. All ideas will be considered. For the first time, in perhaps forever, the regular rules don’t apply. The one question on everyone’s mind is, “How can we help our children?” Everything else is secondary, including the now defunct, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” If you have a better mousetrap, then you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be catching mice today.
- The normal sales cycle is out the window. Traditionally, the school sales cycle was 12 – 18 months, and politics and many other factors played a role in the sale. Today, the right solution can be presented today and sold today. It will take a phone call, and a quality virtual presentation. You should use all the virtual presentation tools available to you, because you won’t be making an in-person pitch. And it will happen fast. Schools simply don’t have any time to waste. They need the tools yesterday, and the sale can happen, literally, in a week or less. Really!
- Money is no object. Don’t misunderstand, school districts deserve your best price, so offer it to them upfront. But the money is there. In addition to the CARES Act money, which is now flowing freely, there is plenty of money being spent from the reserves of the last seven fiscally strong years. And we know that regardless of what you are used to hearing, a school district can always find the money for something they want. At the Learning Counsel, many of our industry partners tell us they are having their best year ever. And, so should you.
- To be successful, you have to be in the room. In this case, the room includes all the promotion you can afford to do and then some – Traditional marketing, podcasts, virtual events, thought leadership articles, whitepapers, sponsored content – everything you can get your company into. And then, follow that up with emails, phone calls, referrals – and get in front of the decision makers. Be in the room. Be visible, get the conversation, and give our districts what they need to be successful.
If you are receiving our LearningBiz newsletter, then you are a company leader. So, lead. You need to find a way to make it happen. Now. This is not the time to play it safe. Ask yourself, what will happen if our districts don’t talk to you and they buy an inferior solution for our children. Who is affected? Who loses out? You got into the education business to help children. If not, there are better and quicker ways to make a buck. But you are here, and this is your opportunity to change the world, to put your tech in the hands of our nation’s learners. You can make a difference. And this is your time.
For everything, there is a season. In this season of uncertainty and COVID-19 and a faster than advised switch to virtual learning, it is up to you to lead. Lead your company. Book yourself on podcasts and webinars, and make your voice heard. Lead our education community. And be bold. Your success is our success. And our children’s. And the clock is ticking.
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.