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Stop Doing What Doesn't Work

Hey, I am Dr. Tom Miller and I have a big idea to share.

I believe that everything needs to fight for its life to get on your agenda. Here is what I mean.

I remember when I was a principal, just coming back from spring break, spending the last week reflecting and analyzing where we needed to go over the next 90 days to be fully prepared for the next school year.  

I would share these ideas with my team and instead of them showing excitement for a new idea they would think...oh no, that's one more thing! When will we find the time to do that? How will we do that? How will this impact ME?  

Like many school leaders, I struggled from "shiny object" syndrome. I love to learn about what is working in other schools and tinker with strategies. The more I learned, the more I put on my team, without taking anything away.   

My inability to prioritize, isolate, and focus on the most vital, game-changing actions that ensure significant improvement in teaching and...

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Keep Communication Simple

communication Mar 15, 2021

Ever felt left out of a conversation filled with Education Jargon?

Especially all of those acronyms...

How did you handle not knowing?

How did you read the room and help others?

Did you just go with the flow? Or were you courageous enough to ask a questions? 

As the facilitator or speaker, did you even notice that no one understood? 

Be honest...

Personally, I’ve been on both sides. 

When I was a Special Educator I would lead meetings and talk to teachers as though they all had a degree in special education and psychology. Many parents never spoke during the meetings, they just signed and thanked us.

SILENCE is NOT AGREEMENT.

It wasn’t until recently when I was the LEA at an IEP meeting, watching the body language of the parents through the virtual meeting did I realized how we were not going a good job of keeping the communication simple. The parents looked lost and concerned but they were not seeing anything.

I interrupted the teacher to ask if we could...

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The New Normal?

 

Hey everyone,

Communicating the desire for the "new" normal has significant impact on not only your morale, but those you lead can have a significant impact on morale, working conditions. 

I have spent some time this week reflecting on my experiences hearing folks wanting and wishing for the "new" normal. 

Watch or listen to the lesson to get a better understanding of what this person is actually saying and how it is impacting the low morale on your team or in your school. 

I offer multiple strategies that I know will work (I use them) to help you and your team be in a better place emotionally and physically!

 You you prefer to listen to this lesson: 

Once you are finished...

Are you ready to go from:

  • Wanting to change to actually changing?
  • Envisioning your goal to actually achieving it?
  • Being the person you are right now to becoming the person you want to be?
  • Breaking through your 'Immunity to Change'...
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How to Listen So You Can Lead Others Effectively

I believe that those leaders who do not to listen to their people, will eventually be surrounded by no one who speaks. 

Learning how to listen is a vital step in becoming an effective leader. According to research conducted by Personality Insights, the average executive spends two hours talking each day but eight hours listening.

Here is an example. 

After spending two hours at home with my eight year old son, I estimate that the average stay-at-home parent  spends 12 to 16 hours a day listening!!!

Well... at least one of the five levels of listening (more about this to come). 

Whether we realize it or not, whether we are intentionally engaged or not, we are always listening. Sometimes we are listening to new ideas, listening to a story, to music, to the background noise of a television, or in a true conversation where we are sharing our thoughts and conveying important information. I don’t know about you, but after a day of listening and...

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No Communication is Still Communication

#leadership communication Jan 23, 2021

I believe that no communication is still communication. 

Here is an example of what I mean. 

I was coaching a principal and they were frustrated by their team's ability to identify and solve problems.   

I continued to ask questions to get a better understanding and identify the root cause of the problem. I asked, "Well, how long did it take you, in your journey as a school leader, to identify and figure out those problems? To see those fires before they accelerate?"

They noted, "Four of five years but I do not have that time for them. I need them to be there now!"

"I understand," I replied. "So when you point these issues out, what do they say? What action are they taking?"

"I don't tell them," they noted. "No one told me and I figured it out."

"Correct me if I am wrong but I thought I heard you say you needed their growth to accelerate? How will they know something is wrong or the results are not meeting your expectations if you do not communicate it?"

I...

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How Clear is Your Mission?

charter schools mission Jan 05, 2021

I believe sustained organizational health and success begins with a clear and concise mission statement.

Here is what I mean.

Great organizations continuously follow their mission and rarely stray from it; as even a deviation can result in a flutter of ineffective activity and confusion. 

As marketing expert Donald Miller says, “When you confuse, you lose.” 

The most effective schools I have studied sustained their mission through stable school leadership, clear education plans, effective teachers, and highly engaged parents. 

As a consultant, and strategic thinking partner to hundreds of school leaders, I investigate and analyze schools at all years of existence and achievement levels. There is one thing I know for sure.

The school’s whose faculty understand who they are and why they exist are able to clearly articulate and communicate their education plans and overall programming.

They have learned to prioritize their time and focus their resources...

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Goal Setting Mistake (Requiring to Know HOW)

#goals #leadership Dec 19, 2020

Hello {{first_name}},

Nine years ago today I earned the right to turn the tassel, earning my Doctorate in Education Leadership!

When this picture was taken I was still a middle school director of a very successful rural charter school. 

I did not know that a few weeks after I would get recruited by the NC Department of Public Instruction Office of Charter Schools to assist the growth of public charter schools as the Legislation just eliminated the 100 school cap. 

I did not know HOW to write a charter application let alone lead the process that would evaluate over 250 applications that resulted in the opening over 50 charter schools in the following three years.

I did not know HOW to support and prepare  charter school leaders opening their school from scratch. But I did. 

When I quit that government job to start my own business supporting school leaders in growing themselves and their schools, I did not know HOW to start a business.

I did not know ANYTHING!...

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Communication is the Oxygen for Execution

The one thing any school leader never wants to happen is a failure to communicate clearly.

When it comes to communicating the mission, vision, goals and values, and expectations, a leader must consistently communicate with clarity. 

Here is the rule we start from: Once you’ve talked about your mission, vision, values and goals, a hundred times, the average employee has heard and understood it less than ten.

Shocking, right?

But it’s true.

One of the great failures of school leaders happens when they think everyone else ‘just gets it.’

They don’t.

That is assumptive leadership, and it is the most dangerous leadership style. 

As a school principal, you may be passionate and inspired by your mission and vision. Compelled by your WHY! It's the reason you jump out of bed every day ready to change the world.

Here is a newsflash.

Most of your teachers and employees do not. 

To bring them into the mission and vision you created, it must be...

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Being Grateful Reaps Benefits!

#leadership gratitude Nov 25, 2020
 

Being thankful everyday for what you have is a mind altering experience. 

When I think about where I was personally and professionally five and ten years ago, it blows my mind. 

Everyday I wake up right around 5:00 a.m. excited to learn, serve and build a community of like-minded leaders! 

When any negative thought comes in, too much work, too many people need our help, too many receipts to file...I simply say, Isn't that convenient Tom. To complain about the very things that help you serve your purpose. 

If you are feeling the stress and pressures of work or life I encourage you to try this quick and easy exercise every day. 

Wake up and immediately say what you are grateful for.  It could be as simple as another day on earth.  Your feet touching the ground. The ability to breath… or get more involved – and be grateful for a specific person, condition, thing, whatever it is in your life that you are...

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Choose Recognition Over Resentment

#leadership Nov 25, 2020

When you withhold your recognition of another person's contribution to the team's success, you are not just treating people unfairly, but you are depriving people of the emotional payoff that comes with success. 

And they resent you for it. 

One example of this was when a colleague of mine was excited about a grant he received to build an outdoor garden to help the "at-risk" youth he served to build emotional resilience and life skills. 

He told me that his principal came to him very excited and wanted to know all about the grant and the plans. 

Then, she went to the Superintendent meeting and took all of the credit, receiving accolades in the newspaper. My buddy, not a word was written about him or the students. 

He told me that he would never trust the principal and thought about shutting the project down. 

The principal's actions not only impacted his behavior, but now the students would suffer. 

Recognition is all about closure. 

When you...

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