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Seven Steps to Clearly Communicated Expectations

Recently while consulting for a charter school having challenges with their school culture, a group of teachers were complaining about their board not understanding their school, not attending school events or touring the school. I asked one teacher, “Is that what you expect them to do? Do they know that? I have been a board member for over four years now and I’d be really surprised to hear that is what is expected of me.”

An expectation is defined as believing that something is going to happen or believing that something should be a certain way. However, any expectation not communicated is merely a thought.

I know I struggle with communicating clear expectations. It is something I have to work on daily. I will allow my faulty assumptions to close that expectation gap. Which has never led to great results.

As a consultant and coach for school leaders across the country, the lack of clearly understood and communicate expectations is the number one issue I see in...

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Winning With People Tip #4: Create a Memory and Visit it Often

As a kid my grandparents took me across the country multiple times camping. I got to experience and see some of the Nation’s historic (Mt. Rushmore) and God’s (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone) creations before I was 12 years old. I still remember those long days by car and my grandfather telling me stories about his childhood. Those experiences have meant so much to me, I have always wanted to create that experience for my family. Except their mother isn’t really the camping type. She is a “glamper” at best. 

Now, I love baseball. I have almost 40 years of playing and coaching baseball memories that are ready to be shared at the drop of a hat. My wife has been with me for more than half of those years and loves the game as well. So we decided as a travel goal we would visit every Major League Baseball stadium. This past week we traveled to Toronto to see the Blue Jays versus the New York Yankees. I’ve been a Yankee fan since I was a kid and my son,...

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There's Just Something About This Mary

Dr. Mary Majors, principal of Anderson Creek Academy, has had a storied career in education leadership impacting thousands of children and families. Over the last four years she has transformed an underperforming charter school, then in its second year, to today being the highest performing public school in Harnett County. 

Anderson Creek Academy (ACA) opened in 2014 and was designed to be a part of a housing community designed by partners David Levinson and Steven Shotz. Their vision aimed to bring homeowners a one-of-a-kind experience that promotes the core values of health, education, sustainability, fellowship and camaraderie called Anderson Creek Community. Levinson and Shotz, knowing that education is a critical element to community success desired to create a school with a family atmosphere where students’ academic success comes first. 

The ACA board hired Dr. Mary Majors, a veteran principal from the schools in the Department of Defense District to take to...

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Winning With People: Let People Know You Need Them

As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team I have had the privilege of being taught and mentored by John over the past five years. John will take the time for us to ask him direct questions based on where we are in our leadership journey. One question that seems to dominate the Q and A sessions is, “What is the secret to getting people to buy in and be committed to the team?” 

At some point in your life, maybe even as you read this, you have asked yourself this same question. How do I get my team fully on board? 

John’s answer is very simple sentence. “I cannot do it without you.” He shared, “Leaders can become great, only when they realize that they are the ones that need people.” 

To truly achieve something great you have to shift your mindset from ME to WE. John will remind us, “Any dream that you have that doesn’t involve other people, is simple too small.” 

To be honest, this is an area I...

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Eight School Leader Habits That Create Results

When I was a public charter school principal my team will tell you I had some horrific habits and very little discipline. Whatever article I happened to read the week before, that's what the faculty meeting focused on. I would arrive at school each day prepared to observe, coach, lead and implement strategic initiatives. Then, the school day started and I got out the firehose. The next thing you know cars are lining up for afternoon dismissal and my beautiful list of things to do has not accumulated one check off. I was active, but not productive. 

And it seems the unconscious mind is running us on its automatic pilot mode, 95% of the time! According to best selling author and subconscious mind expert Dr. Bruce Lipton, "The conscious mind provides 5% or less of our cognitive (conscious) activity during the day – and 5% they say is for the more aware people, many people operate at just 1% consciousness. 

No wonder over time I simply got on auto-pilot.

We were a good...

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Winning With People: 30 Second Rule

Since everything we accomplish is with or through people, every Monday I'll be sharing a lesson from John Maxwell's book, Winning with People. If you want to accomplish more and enhance the relations at your school or organization, begin implementing these practices and share with your team. 

When people first meet or greet someone, they are typically worried about how they will look or sound, searching for ways to make themselves look or feel good. In John Maxwell's book, Winning With People, he shares a lesson he learned from watching his father connect and lead people for almost 70 yeas now. It's called the 30-Second Rule.

"The key to the 30-second rule is reversing this practice. When you make contact with people, instead of focusing on yourself, search for ways to make others fee good," John notes. 

This might look like:

  • Looking at your calendar in the morning, if you know who you are going to see, maybe at a meeting, take a few moments to pause and think about...
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The Most Dangerous Leadership Style

The most dangerous leadership style is assumptive leadership. An assumption is something you accept as true or certain. For example, when I was a principal and my teachers were not at their doors at 7:30 greeting students my assumption was they were either late to work or chose not to follow our agreed upon expectations. 

The problem was, rather than walk to the classroom to understand what the reality was and check on the teacher and seek to understand, I would  hold onto it, allowing the feeling of resentment become more entrenched. 

I know how wrong my assumptions usually are. The key is that it’s just a story I’m making up. Often, the other person isn’t even aware I’m holding on to an assumption.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you led by assumptions in the past? 

I have learned that in the absence of information, we assume the worst. As a result, create a fictional divide between people that can dismantle working...

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Winning With People Weekly Tip: It Starts With You

Some of you may know the story of Chuck Wepner, the “Bayonne Bleeder’ he was referred to. Wepner, was the struggling boxer who famously almost took Muhammad Ali (The Champ) the distance on March 24, 1975. Wepner is also is the motivation behind the Rocky stories written by struggling writer at the time, Sylvester Stallone. The story goes Stallone was offered over $400,000 for the rights to the screenplay, a great deal of money in the mid 70’s. He turned the money down for $20,000 and agreement that he would play the role of Rocky at actors minimum wages ($340 a week). For the rights to the story, Wepner was offered $70,000 or 1% of the overall movie’s gross profits. Wanting a guarantee payday, he took the $70,000 costing him over $8 million dollars. Stallone, as you know, became one of the most recognized actors in the world and over 40 years later Rocky films have grossed over $1.6 billion dollars world wide. 

It’s easy to second guess Wepner now,...

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Four Secrets Teachers Hate About Their Principals

Over the summer 30 teachers across the state participated in our Teacher Leadership Consortium, an eight week program focused on teachers learning how to become a greater influence in their school. The teachers learned how to best lead their peers through communication and connecting with people, the foundations of coaching, lead effective meetings, listening, and how to deal with difficult people. During one of the sessions I asked them about what are some of the challenges they face in regards to their school culture and their principal. I pulled out these four common complaints the teachers had. Be sure you don’t break these!

1. Cancel key meetings: Let’s be clear here, not all teachers hate when meetings are cancelled. However, when a key meeting is scheduled (i.e. school improvement meetings, critical professional development sessions and 1:1 conferences) and cancelled, they gradually lose interest in being part of these critical teams moving forward. Especially if...

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Four Tips to Creating More Success in Your Life and Career

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Now, what success looks like to you, I cannot answer that. Only you should define what success looks and feels like. If you don't have this vision in mind, stop reading and take at least five minutes to think about it. Write down whatever you see mentally and put it somewhere in your daily view. Then come back to this blog and read four tips I have learned as a coach, mentor and consultant to hundreds of leaders across the globe. 

Tip #1: Act on the Right Choices: Dr. Jim Rohn taught us that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with but my mentor made me realize recently that our success is the sum of the daily choices we take action on. Think about it. Every day as a principal, CEO, business owner, or parent, you make hundreds of decisions based on thousands of choices. You act on those decisions which lead to other choices, decisions and actions. Choosing not to act is still action. Every...

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