Given that it's December 31, I feel compelled to write a "blog of closure" for the year, although I'm not spending my time thinking about 2009; rather, I'm looking forward to 2010. I like January - it always represents a new beginning, and new beginnings feel good.
Some thoughts on this, the last day of the year:
- I received Daniel Pink's newest book, Drive, on Tuesday. I've read most of it - very thought provoking. It certainly merits consideration for those of us focused on business models and what it means to do business in the 21st century. An avowed Pink fan, I am re-reading Free Agent Nation. One can see the progression of Pink's thought from FAN to Drive.
- Tom Peters' post today is thought-provoking (focus on resilience). Some of what he says is very much on my mind (i.e. those things that should concern us, as we look ahead to the next handful of years, perhaps as much as a decade, but perhaps sooner). We are still very fortunate folks here in the US, but there is also concern.
- I am writing a book on endowment strategies at independent schools; it should be available by late December 2010. I will be sure to announce it here!
- I am considering forming a business venture (perhaps several) in 2010. Stay tuned. It's about taking advantage of opportunity - and viewing the Great Recession as an opportunity instead of a crisis. It's about mindset, and I've got a growth mindset.
- Prediction: over the next two years, 5% of independent schools will close. There may be some start-up schools to replace them, but not many. We may see some school mergers, but my gut says that mergers (as a concept) will not solve the problems that some schools are facing. This recession has been sharp enough that closure may be the best bet.
- I was going to submit that 10% of schools will close, but I think that's exaggerated. However, with 5% closing, I will submit that 5% more will alter themselves forever -- perhaps in the form of much smaller schools (for example, going from an enrollment of 350 down to 200). They will struggle for much of the next decade; some won't survive - it'll be death by a thousand cuts over the course of 10 years.
- Philanthropy will be basically flat again in 2010, with some glimmers of hope - primarily from those donors eager to make a difference, but who will want far more say in how their dollars are used. Look for schools to consider new endowed funds that appeal to alumni/current parent interests.