This book is a culmination of many educational and business practices to accelerate and distribute learning throughout the organization. You will find twenty-five strategies to assess the ability and willingness of individuals and the school. This book will save leaders time by providing examples and a guide to implement processes to increase learning. The more talent schools have, the more students will learn. The future will require more learning and more ways to acquire that learning. These practical strategies can be used with individual staff members as well as groups of any size. These facilitation skills are already in use. Let’s learn, adapt, and take positive action to increase learning.
William A. Sommers, PhD, is the former executive director for secondary curriculum and professional learning for Minneapolis Public Schools and has been a school administrator for over 35 years. He has been a senior fellow for the Urban Leadership Academy at the University of Minnesota and has served as an adjunct faculty member at multiple universities. In addition, he has been a program director for an adolescent chemical dependency treatment center and on the advisory board of a halfway house for 20 years.
Preface – What is Talent Density? Why Adult Learning?
Introduction – Why this book?
Chapter 1 – Foundational Content, Adult Development
Chapter 2 - Situational Leadership – Assessing Readiness Levels of Individuals and groups
Chapter 3 – Not Able, Not Willing
Chapter 4 – Not Able, Are Willing
Chapter 5 – Are Able, Not Willing
Chapter 6 – Able and Willing – Learning Omnivores
Chapter 7 – The Fifth Quadrant - Extreme People Development
Conclusion – Now What?
About the Author
As a former principal and superintendent, I believe Bill Sommers has written a foundational book about talent development. He starts from the premise that talent exists in isolation, but only flourishes when an investment is made in adult learning. He demonstrates that by elevating the intellectual horsepower of adults, educators can create schools that embody talent density—schools where talented people make one another more effective. This invaluable book offers many pathways for committed leaders to create talent density—the payoff being schools that accelerate talent density in our students.
The title of this book may be misleading if you don't understand its relevance. Another way to phrase it is "how much talent does a person bring to future situations?" The more talent, the more density is present. This is a book broaching the issue of how we can better educate students for what we will all face in the future. This book is organized around a key leadership framework originally developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard decades ago. Their wisdom regarding the proper way to influence is best described as "organized common sense." Creating Talent Density brings us a lot closer to putting what is actually fairly uncommon sense and practice into the school systems. I highly recommend this book for anyone committed to creating more talented students coming out of our schools.
"The Learners are Coming!" could be William Sommers call to action for educators everywhere. The revolution he is foretelling intends to introduce a radical concept into our education system: Learning. As an employer in the fast-moving, everchanging high-tech software industry, we don't need good test takers, rather curious lifelong learners. Dr. Sommers has dedicated his adult life to this pursuit and by reading this book you will benefit from his knowledge, his wisdom and his joy!
To increase learning for our students we must learn to grow ALL within our organizations. Dr. Bill Sommers continues to push our thinking to help the adult learners in our educational communities. This book helps all leaders to assess and develop those they serve.
Leaders long to have followers who are willing and able. They despair when the people they must lead are neither. And they can get confused when their followers are willing, or able, but not both. Bill Sommers’s insightful book shows that talent exists whatever people’s existing state of willingness or ability. The job of the leader is to draw it in, bring it out, and bring it all together. This brilliant little book will help you develop people’s talent under any and all circumstances until every person, including you, becomes a multiplier of everyone else’s talent.
Bill Sommers has done the homework for every leader keen to know more about “how to increase talent, unleash that talent, and create environments that are safe to enhance the intellectual and emotional horsepower people possess. “ Bill himself has an incredible talent at identifying, reading, and synthesizing the most powerful research, practices and examples and translating them into actionable options for leaders committed to growing learning organizations. His latest publication is an exceptional example of his gift.
You will find multiple purposes for reading and rereading chapters of this book. It will become your “go to” resource for addressing each challenge. A powerful reference for leaders keen to “increase talent, unleash that talent, and create environments that are safe to enhance the intellectual and emotional horsepower people possess.