John Wooden shared, “When the opportunity comes it’s too late to prepare.” Preparation is more than just a discipline. Preparation is an attitude. Preparation will make the difference between winning and losing. Success and failure. Connecting and feeling lost.
Preparation can happen in many ways. It could be about thinking ahead of a potential problem to making sure your dinner guests do not have any food allergies or special diets.
Preparation could be practicing your elevator speech to new families, teachers or strategic partners not until you get it right, but until you never get it wrong.
Preparation could be when you get those five key minutes with your boss to pitch an idea you have all of her potential questions (i.e. budget impact, key resources, first steps) already mapped out in an easy to read one page report.
Preparation is all about getting better results. Better results in this order:
As a governance coach and consultant the question I get most often is, how do we keep our board meetings on track? The answer is the pretty simple.
I have learned the hard way, as a consultant and a board chair, that if you do not prepare on the front end you will be repairing on the back end.
One of the keys to facilitating an effective and purposeful board meeting begins with the setting of the monthly agenda.
Who Sets the agenda?
The agenda is a collaborative process set by the head of the school and the board chair.
When is the agenda set?
The development of the next months agenda begins at the end of the previous board meeting. At At the close of the meeting the board chair should:
Rarely do we get an opportunity to say thank you to the people who help us, especially in a public setting. When you do, you should make the most of it. If you have accomplished anything significant in life, you know that it was not a solo effort.
When you take the time to acknowledge those that helped you achieve any goal or initiative, or bring success to the organization you currently lead, it makes two people feel better. The recipient, and yourself.
I have found that the number one reason people do not pass along credit to others is they somehow think it will hurt them or lessen their value. This is a sure sign of insecurity. You cannot practice this winning with people principle if you cannot set your ego aside.
Don’t Wait - Pass the Credit ASAP: When asked about giving credit to teammates legendary college basketball coach John Wooden shared that he would teach his players to look and give a smile or nod to the player who passed them the ball before...
You only get answers to the questions you ask. Otherwise, doors remain locked forever.
If you are in any leadership position, and breathing, odds are you will be solving a problem today. Take the opportunity to not tell people what to do, instead, ask them questions.
Three things will happen.
1. They will feel more part of the team.
2. You'll get better long term results.
3. You will learn how your team approaches problems so you can identify the gaps in your leadership and communication.
Here are a few questions you can ask:
Questions are the most effective way...
This quote by Education Leadership expert Michael Schmoker from the September Education Leadership (ASCD) caught my eye and I needed to share with you, Poor instructional practices amount to "hundreds of hours of wasted class time" every year in the great majority of schools.
Schmoker points out three key competencies teachers must master in order to ensure school performance is moving in a positive direction for all students:
1. Clear, Coherent, Curriculum: I recall one time asking a leadership team what was the school's curriculum. Of the five leaders in the room, I received four different answers. "If you all are not clear, how would the 30 teachers in charge of disseminating know?" The first question know that I ask school leaders when we conduct a walkthrough is, "How will we know what will students be learning today?" On a scale of 1-10, how well can you answer this question?
2. Sound Instruction: Schmoker shares that every...
Have you ever told anyone your dreams? Recently my six-year old son Matthew asked me, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” “A professional baseball player,” I said with great certainty. Then my memories went right to someone in my family telling me when I was 12, “You have no shot of making it.” That was 31 years ago but it still stings. I actually did play all the way to college and played one year in an adult wooden bat league. Just good enough to not embarrass myself most days.
As a coach, mentor and trainer I am privileged to hear the goals and dreams of many. A privilege I never take lightly as it shows a great deal of courage and trust. I am very conscious of the power of my response. The wrong word, tone or body language can crush a person’s dream; the right word can inspire him or her to pursue it. If someone thinks enough of you to tell you about his or her dreams, take care. And keep these things in mind to encourage...
Do you remember what it felt like when a teacher really "got” you? What I mean by that is do you remember a teacher who knew your strengths and your weaknesses and encouraged you to aim higher in both?
I sure do. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Bragg, was one. My 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Vandevelder, was one, and my graduate school professor, Chris Thaiss, was one. They “got” me, and the "me" that they “got” was someone they liked. I liked that version of me too, and because of the way they saw me and responded to me, I thrived in their classrooms.
In grade school, I always pictured one of my teachers who didn’t “get” me talking to one of my teachers who did “get” me. As a kid, I believed that everyone I knew had nothing better to do than to talk about me. Perhaps that is a common thought among children.
Back to my picture. I’d picture my math teacher talking to Mrs. Bragg, and this is how the...
My son is six years' old and recently we removed his training wheels from his bike. We live very close to multiple parks but every time I suggest we take the bike to get there, he immediately gives excuses about not being able to climb the hill leading to the park, "My legs are too small, I don't have the energy, walking is healthier, my scooter is safer." I shared with him that everything worthwhile is uphill and if you want to enjoy the park, you have to pay the price.
Price is the number one obstacle between you and your potential and many leaders lack the willingness to pay the price. They treat their pursuit of leadership like a New Years resolution. They give up based on distraction, or pursuit of something shinier.
Being a highly effective leaders is cool to want, neat to say, something great to pursue, it is just hard to stay with it. That is price you must pay to be an effective leader.
What separates the greats from the others is their tenacity,...
Can you think of a time where someone said the right thing to you, at exactly the right time? I remember in my first month as a teacher at Charter Day School I was pulled into a room by a group of students because their teacher was unresponsive. I grabbed a teammate and we immediately started CPR but we were not able to resuscitate her. She had died instantly from an aneurysm. I didn’t know her at all, but for the next month I couldn’t get that feeling, that image, out of my head. Our Superintendent wanted to ensure that every employee on campus had CPR training just in case this situation occurred again. When the trainer came that day I spoke to him about how I wasn’t able to save her. He looked at me and said in a short, almost crass tone, “She was already dead.” I gave him a confused look. He continued, “The only reason you started CPR is because she was dead. Be proud of the fact that you tried. Most people don’t.” Those...
Did you know that even the way an email is responded to needs a system? The same is true for the way you assign and hold your team accountable to results. Whether you know it or not, systems are everywhere in your organization. You, as the leader of the organization, are a systems engineer, whether you’re aware of it or not. Ignoring this truth will create an organization that’s out of control. I like to call it, organized chaos.
The key to having an organization that simply works is creating your systems with intention. What this means is many organization leaders inadvertently create ‘systems’ that completely depend on themselves, or specific employees, without even realizing it. That is a great deal of intellectual property that leaves the organization every day. One day, they might not come back.
For example, if your Student Admissions Director Mary is the only one in your organization who knows how the lottery runs and enrollment forms are...