I wasn’t familiar with Ron Clark’s earlier books or the Ron Clark Academy in inner city Atlanta before reading a review copy of Move Your Bus. His descriptions of the school are so inspiring I’d love to pay it a visit.
Clark’s uses the metaphor of a Flintstone-style bus propelled by the feet of those aboard to present his ideas about managing employees. He categorizes employees as runners, joggers, walkers, or riders depending on how much forward momentum they provide to the business or institution. The boss is the driver of the bus.
Some of Clark’s ideas really resonated with me. For example, he believes in rewarding the “runners,” the highly productive, instead of dividing resources equally among all staff. At his school, the high performers seem to be those teachers who infuse the most creativity into their classrooms.
It seems to me, however, that in other settings, it’s not that easy for employees to do this sort of thing. Clark embraces this enthusiasm and makes a conscious effort not to criticize when these employees go too far or make mistakes so as not to break their spirits.
I venture to say not many managers hold this philosophy. That’s a sad commentary on leadership. There are way too many brilliant books written about effective management that not enough managers put into practice. Bravo to Ron Clark for driving his own bus with such skill and gusto.