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What Do Your Customers Say About Your Organization?

As a school leader, you are in the people business. If it is good for the people, it will be good for your business. 

I recently met author and thought leader Jeff Henderson. He wrote the book, Know What You're FOR.

Jeff has an incredible path to success, working with Fortune 500 companies like Chic-Fil-a and some of the largest churches and school districts across the country on their purpose, values, orientation, culture and marketing.

In Jeff's book, he shares that there are two critical questions that every organization needs to ask and work daily to ensure the answers align.

  1. What do we want to be know for? (Your Vision)
  2. What are we know for?  (Current Reality)

The first question you need to ask yourself and your team. You will probably get a handful of different answers.

Here is our What are you FOR statement: 

Leaders Building Leaders, at its core, is about making a difference. Our brand is for principals and school leaders who desire to unlock their...

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From Here to There: A School Leadership Success Story (Piedmont Community Charter)

I believe that when it comes to improvement (personal or school) consistency is more important than intensity. 

One school that exemplifies this principle is Piedmont Community Charter School in Gaston County North Carolina.

In 2015, Piedmont was in the middle of a leadership transition and was underperforming in the areas of academics and student enrollment. It did not have a reputation for being a school or rigorous academics, especially in high school.  

The new Head of School at the time, Jennifer Killen, had an incredible challenge ahead of her. She knew that she would have to work diligently not just on her own leadership capacity, but the skills and the quality of her team. 

Fast forward to this past year and Piedmont Community Charter School was recognized as one of the “Best High Schools” by U.S. News & World Report. They also moved into a state of the art new facility. Piedmont Charter’s new campus...

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Live the Law of the Rubber Band

If I were to ask the question: “Do you want to grow?” How would YOU respond?

I believe it would be a resounding yes, I want to grow! But the truth of the matter is that for most of us, we avoid any form of pressure because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable. You see, we have been taught that comfort is a place to be desired and strived for. 

I would like to introduce a new thought today. 

All living things grow and that growth requires stretching. 

In John Maxwell’s 15 Laws of Growth, the Law of the Rubber Band, he says: “True life begins at the end of our comfort zone and we arrive there by stretching.”

When it comes to tension and stretching, a rubber band is a great example.

Rubber bands are ONLY useful when they are stretched. You would not be where you are professionally, and who you are personally, without some form of tension or stretching taking place. 


For many, the thought is, when I graduate from college and...

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Know What Your People Value

#leadership core values Jun 07, 2021

Many people in our world feel devalued instead of valued by others, and it harms them deeply. It keeps them from enjoying life and reaching their potential.

Most of you know my story as a recovering gambling addict. It wasn't until I got a round a table, with other like-minded people, that I began to study and discuss words like honesty, humility, trust, accountableloyal just to name a few from this little yellow combo book that fit in your pocket. I was 30 years old and had never been asked a question like, what are your values? What does it mean to be honest, to be trusted, to be trustworthy? It was a powerful experience. 

There is an old saying, a paper bag doesn't stand up straight. Without values a person is empty and weak. 

I had no idea that my lack of values was not just causing me pain internally, it was showing up in ALL of my results. My inability to advance in my career. My failing relationships. My failing finances, personal health and...

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Control the Tongue and Control the Whole Body (Lessons from my Pop Pop)

#leadership communication May 13, 2021

I have read that the two most important days in a person’s life are the day they were born and the day they figure out why.

Today I celebrate my 45th birthday and I have extreme clarity on why I was born, to be the differencemaker in the leadership development of individuals and organizations.

I love waking up each day to serve our School Leadership Community which you are apart of. So even though we have probably never met. basically I wake up thinking about how can I best serve YOU! 

Thank you for letting me live out my purpose.

As I reflect on the last 365 days, the challenges that so many faced, the loss of love ones and hate and anger shared, I cannot stop and be grateful for the extra hours, 100’s of extra hours, I got to spend with my family in quarantine. Great memories.

We did travel out of state once and visited my grandmother who had just turned 90! She was cleaning out her closets and handed me this folder that contained hundreds of sermons written by my...

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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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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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