I’ve learned more about, and more about working with people in the last three weeks than all of last year. Working through some really tough situations, both with students and staff, has helped me recognize additional strategies for helping those in need and holding others accountable.

It used to be that when I taught US History back in the day and we discussed the downfalls of communism, the kids all asked why the near-perfect system didn’t work.

“People,” I said. “People are greedy, they want what they want, and you can’t control them.”

You can have a perfect system of behavior charts, HR manuals, or laws and regulations, but as soon as you mix those with people, you’re on your own. Things will happen that you didn’t account for. Stuff will take place that you never thought a rational person would do.

Because people.

And guess what? People are what make it all happen. People wrote the guidelines and made those behavior charts, too.

Perhaps in vain, perhaps in search of some unreachable vision of utopia, perhaps to set some order to their already chaotic world.

With people, it gets messy, difficult, and, for sure, unpredictable. You never know what will happen from one day to the next.

As a leader of people, every day is a new challenge. You adjust, tweak, try some self-deprecating humor, and give folks a second chance, or a third, or a… when they don’t follow the norm or take a left turn when they shouldn’t have.

And then the people change, and you have to start all over again.

That’s the nature of working with people. Nothing is perfect, nothing is constant, and nothing will cease to amaze me. Or surprise me.

But remember. People make it happen. Without people, we’d be just a collection of HR manuals and theoretical underpinnings in a dusty locker. Why not see what the people can really do?