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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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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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To Win in Business, You Need Great Partners like Acadia NorthStar!

#leadership partnership Oct 08, 2020

Acadia NorthStar has been assisting public charter schools with accounting, budget management and compliance since 2001. For over a decade, Acadia's experienced staff has been exceeding their clients' expectations.

Most of you have heard of Acadia.

Many of you have a contract with Acadia. 

But what you might not know is that 365 days a year, the team at Acadia works with their clients to ensure long term, fiscal vitality. 

Here is how I know: Five years ago I was the Executive Director to a charter school board overseeing two charter schools. One of the schools was in financial hardship. It's expenditures far exceeded it's revenue (over one million a year). The school could not pay rent. The school was losing enrollment.

One day I just happened to find a folder that was labeled "unpaid invoices"on the desk of the former principal. In the folder was over $500,000 in unpaid invoices tracking back to the previous fiscal year. 

This was not a problem I, or any...

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The Sweetest and Most Important Sound

#leadership connecting Oct 04, 2020

Unfortunately, this week when I sent out a message highlighting two of our teacher leaders who were special guests on our Empowered Educators webinar; I incorrectly typed the name of one of our teacher leaders, Sarah Douglas. 

Sarah is one of the most valued teacher leaders at East Wake Academy.

My deepest apologies Sarah.

When Sarah let me know about my mistake I remembered what Dale Carnegie most famously wrote in his best selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. 

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”

When I first heard this phrase, I felt it was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I was given. Being an educator for over 20 years and currently a consultant, I have been fortunate enough to meet tens of thousands of people. It is critical that I work to make people feel safe and appreciated. 

With my personality type, according to DISC...

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Good Leaders Ask Great Questions

Hey, I am Dr. Tom Miller and I have a really big idea and an important book that I wanted to share with you today. 

I believe that good leaders ask great questions. 

Roddy Galbraith, the world's best speaker trainer and coach (who also happens to be my mentor) wrote a great personal growth book titled Go Out and Make a Mess that helps anyone who is feeling stuck or suffers from procrastination due to a desire to be perfect.

 During these times of unchartered territory, we are all being stretched personally and professionally and might be questioning what their future may look like.

Roddy's questions forced me to take a deeper look personally and professionally. They raised my awareness and brought key answers to questions at one time I wasn't comfortable asking or answering. 

You see, your success will be determined by the questions you are willing to ask and willing to answer.

Questions can connect people. Enhance collaboration with team members, build...

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Habits of Highly Effective Charter School Leaders

When I was a public charter school principal my team will tell you I had some horrific habits and a 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 of 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. 

One might say, I had shiny object syndrome!

Over time, I got on activity auto-pilot. We were a good school, but not great. It was not until my third year and the second trip to the emergency room that I realized I was the problem and I was doing it ALL wrong. I had an incredible work ethic, but too many faulty assumptions and a lack of discipline in keeping the main thing the main thing. 

Everything started to change when I...

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Fall In Love With Your 2020 Goal

#goals #leadership Dec 31, 2019

This is one of those topics that I could write about all day every day.  Goal setting, goal achieving, goals goals goals!

We all have goals.  Each and every one of us.

Some of us think we gave up a long time ago and don’t have any but we do.  Every day we wake up with the goal to live another day.  Ok, maybe that is a stretch but don’t we all have goals to some extent?  And why is it so important to have goals? 

The most successful people on this planet didn’t wake up one day with an idea and a few minutes later after they got dressed became successful… No way.  They had an idea and they developed a plan.  Within that plan there were goals – some big, some little – some attainable, some way out there. 

And each day, they worked at it – chipping away, having triumphs and failures along the way but tweaking and re-evaluating and working toward goals. Goals!

We have had goals from the day we were...

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