Just finished watching Bill Gates on American Perspective (C-Span) in a far reaching interview before an audience in Washington DC. He covered everything from his children and family, business, his personal decisions, to what is possible with philanthropy. Near the very end he was talking about education and specifically what goals his foundation could meet. Goals such as having a model of a good teacher or which technology helps best in the classroom! He also listed the goals that were not in their purview to meet. Goals such as reducing the drop out rate!
When he explained that the increase in health care costs in states is being funded by the decrease in funds for education, he simply said that given this circumstance we have to get better about the use of technology and teaching. I was struck with his pragmatic approach. Deciding which goals were possible for his foundation and focusing on them while still participating in the goals they couldn’t control. Accepting as reality the health care/education equation and finding different paths to accomplish the desired ends.
It was such a great example of Peter Senge’s idea of leader holding “creative tension”. The ability to hold a vision and not erode it while still being grounded in current reality.