Sunday, May 21, 2017

Reflecting on the Principal Gala at the Botanical Gardens (2015)

It is important for leaders to retreat to the mountains. This event stands at a cross-section. We need it to determine the road ahead.

Leaders are the meaning-makers. The impact of leadership depends on the STORY that a community tells.

The story that you tell is what your people live. You will not stumble on your story, otherwise it is not your own.

It is up to you - principals, leaders - to author the story of your school. The storyline of great schools, begins with looking for a precious particle - a seed idea.

She spoke to the "rule of seven" which states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action.

For more information on the rule of seven and how it can help us communicate our goals and vision, visit

As educators, we need to make peace with the fact that our story will always be about crazy things coming our way.

However, as we learn from our most beloved characters, it is not what we face, but how we choose to face it that defines us.

An organization can thrive despite chaos. We cannot tap to the tune of new demands. Instead we need to hold close to our heart the words of Jim Collins in his book Great By Choice:

Far more difficult than implementing change is figuring out what works, understanding why it works, grasping when to change, and knowing when not to.

We cannot opt out of the pressure that led to the CCSS. We need to see hope, promise and possibility as we move our schools forward with urgency. Seizing the moment takes great leadership. Most of all, we need to listen.

However, we can't lead alone. We need to "embrace" vulnerable and be willing to lead from that position.

We need to find people from within, who share our vision, and bring them out front and center.

Principals should be finding and tapping - - anointing (nominating; choosing) instructional leaders. Most of all, principals need to go public as learners. 

Come out, come out . . . wherever you are! We need to be the star-makers, and believe those we lead into who we know they can be

We need to find and bring into the light differences in what brilliant people think - we can't be afraid to invite questions, invite inquires. These spark exploration and engagement in search of answers. 

We need to listen, to model/showcase great learning, not just great work. We need to celebrate failed attempts for it is inside these attempts that we celebrate learning, which needs to be central to our mission.

Don't mask opportunities to see conflict, debate -- these places are where most inquiries begin. Don't mask hard conversations.

Think about times we felt vulnerable. It is often times when we tried something new, unpopular, were called on to give/receive feedback, or grant or ask for forgiveness. Being vulnerable sounds a lot like truth and courage. Truth and courage are what we want inside our communities of practice. 

Vulnerability is the cradle from all things that matter come - Brene Brown

Less than one-third (31.5%) of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014. See the following article:

People choose to be disengaged - often due to factors that we (leaders) control - (shame, isolation, loss, threat, blame).

David Rock reminds us that we are mammals - if we encounter threat or pain, it is in our nature to withdraw, to disengage.

We need to approach our mission whole-hearted. We need to be risk-takers. We need to ask those around us for suggestions and ideas.

It is important to hold in the forefront that we are the meaning-makers, that is the central message of one who leads a literate life. 

According to Andrew Solomon, it is how we respond to trouble is that matters most. We cannot take out or ignore the hard parts of teaching. We can take the hard parts and spin our trials into stories of triumph. We can take the hard parts and imagine new horizons and possibilities. 

We always have a choice. We need to link arms, hold tight to each other and cling to our best beliefs. 

Reflecting on the Principal Gala at the Botanical Gardens (2015)

It is important for leaders to retreat to the mountains. This event stands at a cross-section. We need it to determine the road ahead. ...