Conference Countdown
Atlanta, Ga.
April 2-4, 2016
  • membership
  • my account
  • help

    We are here to help!

    1703 North Beauregard Street
    Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
    Tel: 1-800-933-ASCD (2723)
    Fax: 703-575-5400

    8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday

    Local to the D.C. area: 1-703-578-9600, press 2

    Toll-free from U.S. and Canada: 1-800-933-ASCD (2723), press 2

    All other countries: (International Access Code) + 1-703-578-9600, press 2


  • Log In
  • Forgot Password?


ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

2016 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

Learn. Teach. Lead.
Get the tools to put it all together at this can't-miss education conference—with more than 200 sessions and five inspirational keynote speakers.

Learn more and register.



ASCD respects intellectual property rights and adheres to the laws governing them. Learn more about our permissions policy and submit your request online.

Policies and Requests

Translations Rights

Books in Translation

Premium, Select, and Institutional Plus Member Book (Apr 2010)
Log in to read this chapter.


Transforming Professional Development into Student Results

by Douglas B. Reeves

Table of Contents

Chapter 3. The Law of Initiative Fatigue

Education leaders have three essential resources: time, money, and emotional energy. Time is fixed. Financial resources are typically fixed and, in the present economy, diminishing. Emotional energy is variable but has limits that are exhausted quickly by school leaders who ignore the reality that even the most dedicated employee can be resilient but will refuse to be an eternal Bobo doll, rising from each punch to endure another blow. The Law of Initiative Fatigue states that when the number of initiatives increases while time, resources, and emotional energy are constant, then each new initiative—no matter how well conceived or well intentioned—will receive fewer minutes, dollars, and ounces of emotional energy than its predecessors. This chapter considers the adverse effect of the Law of Initiative Fatigue on high-impact professional learning.

Marie Antoinette and School Reform

"Execution"—for some readers it brings to mind the best-selling book by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (2002), a chatty memoir of the joys of corporate leadership before economic reality established that celebrity CEOs and consultants have feet of clay. For other readers, the same term is redolent of earlier centuries in which the guillotine, the auto-da-fé, or the battle axe were all mercifully more brief than management books on the subject of execution. Perhaps the most offensive part of the latest genre in which former business leaders presume to inform the rest of us about effective leadership is their enthusiasm for the "initiative." Even the most infectious enthusiasm for new initiatives is an insufficient condition to create more than 24 hours in a day. Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI lost their heads; those who persist in ignoring the Law of Initiative Fatigue have lost their minds.

The Priority Paradox


You must be an ASCD Select or Premium member to view this content.

Log in.


Log in to submit a comment.

To post a comment, please log in above. (You must be an ASCD EDge community member.) Free registration