It’s a curious term that I came across in the business section of my newspaper this morning. In business ‘eating your own dogfood’ refers to the scenario in which a company uses it’s own product to demonstrate its quality and capabilities.
Of course, there are many extenuating circumstances in the decisions we make for our own children (present company included) – but in principle, is your school the kind of school that you would like your own children to attend? When I had my own sons at school with me it hit my hip-pocket. Not so much in the cost of fees, but the regular question as I crossed the playground… “Mum, can I have some money?”
In business, and in particular for business leaders, this speaks of corporate loyalty. The article makes reference to a question put to Melinda Gates about i-devices, to which she answered, “The wealth from our family came from Microsoft, so why would I invest in the competitor?”.
As a child I used to wonder if the employees from a TV channel were only allowed to watch their own station at home.
The former chief executive of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, recently admitted on radio that his zeal for Britain’s biggest supermarket stretched to the contents of the family’s fridge. Asked if his wife Alison had ever shopped at rival Waitrose, he said: “Occasionally, but I would complain so much that she wouldn’t bother.”
He even bribed his kids to inform if his wife popped into Waitrose (the competitor). You can’t say the man’s not passionate about his supermarkets.
While this sounds a little extreme, the principle remains, would you send your own kids to your school? Great school leaders would, almost with a parent-heart, want to create a learning community within which their own children would thrive.
So hypothetically, and even if you don’t have your own kids, how would your school stack up as first choice for your family?
Is the learning personalised so that your children would be engaged and stimulated?
Are there high quality relationships that would make your children feel part of a community?
Would the professional practice provide the best quality of education you would want for your kids?
Would they recognise you as the person at home?
I’m sure that there are other questions, but it comes down to passion for your school, and making it the best, so that even your kids would love it and thrive there.
So how passionate are you?