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Weaving Policy

My wife weaves. She weaves scarves and placemats and napkins and table runners and rugs. And while she weaves, I watch, looking for the metaphors.

One of the most obvious comes from looking at both sides of her work. In its simplest form, one side of the woven project is the result of careful planning and preparation; the other side just sort of happens. In weaving, except for the "plain weave" where the bottom of the item mirrors the top, the underside of a weaving project is usually unimportant. 

In leadership, however, that's rarely the case. Leaders have to be concerned with two or more sides to most issues. They have to consider in advance both the seen and unseen aspects of the project.

So when people advocate for expansion or contraction of cooperative programs or football playoffs, or for tougher or more liberal transfer rules, or for more or different tournament classifications, or for seeding of tournaments, leaders of the Michigan High School Athletic Association need to look at both sides of any plan and the multiple angles of the issues raised.

This leadership will try to explain to proponents what opponents see in a proposal, and vice versa. This leadership will try to speak for and report to those who are underrepresented in the discussion.

This leadership is entitled to its own opinion but responsible for seeing that sincere and studied opinions of others are both well heard and thoroughly vetted.

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.