Saturday, 4 September 2010

Learning from the Dragons: Peter Jones

I have always been interested in the world of business. At one point, in college, I wasn't sure whether to study education or business at university. In the end I went for education and the rest is history.

I am still interested in business though, and one of my favourite business programmes on TV is Dragons' Den. I recently bought a copy of the book 'Success from Pitch to Profit' for 99p and enjoyed reading it on holiday in North Devon. Whilst reading it I couldn't help but draw some parallels between the beliefs of the dragons about how to succeed in business with some of my own beliefs about success in education and the ideals I will take with me when I eventually go on to become a headteacher.

Over the next few weeks I wanted to share what I have learned by reading this book. The first dragon's inspiring words belong to Mr Peter Jones.

Peter Jones
  • Peter talks about the way he went about employing people when he first started out. He talks about 'talking to a few people and looking in the local area'. I think it's so important to base appointments on recommendations and references. I would much rather offer a job to someone who I know has a track record.
  • He describes the type of person he wanted to employ: 'someone who walks into the meeting room looking sharp and clean cut, and who has investigated the business they're coming into. I wanted to know 'Why should I employ you? What is it about you that's going to make a difference? What can you tell me about my own business? What can you do differently?' Surely this applies in education too? I would want to employ someone who has done their homework about my school; someone who can offer something that will make a difference to my school; smeone who looks sharp and dynamic.
  • When meeting job candidates various questions should run through your mind - just like in Dragons' Den. Jones explains, "When someone comes up the stairs into the Den I first look at their presentation - how they look, how they speak, how concise they are, are they getting the message across? Then in my head I quickly run through a few key business questions... How much have they researched their product? What's their previous history? How much experience have they had in this market before?" These are all things to consider when appointing a new teacher. Very often schools appoint NQTs who have relatively limited experience, and so then other factors play a greater role, like references, lesson observations, conduct and personality.
  • Peter Jones also gives four rules to success which I think hold great advice for leaders:
    • Vision - Have a clear vision - think big. 'One horizon always reveals another.'
    • Influence - 'Influence is twinned with win-win.' To be a successful leader you need to have influence.
    • Confidence - 'An inner self-belief is like a cornerstone under the tallest building. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.' It's important to have confidence and belief in yourself and in your team.
    • Take action  - 'Enterpreneurs make things happen.' Overcome barriers to make your vision come to fruition.
The book Dragons' Den: Success from Pitch to Profit can be purchased here: Dragons' Den: Success, From Pitch to Profit

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