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Everything Worthwhile is Uphill

fears leadership success Oct 10, 2019

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,...

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Building Systems is Your Key to Success

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...

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Winning With People Lesson #6: Give Others A Reputation to Uphold

Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be. -Goethe

 Just this past weekend I was looking for something to be on in the background as I worked on our new web page sharing our new Youth Leadership Programs and the classic Lean on Me (Morgan Freeman as principal “Crazy” Joe Clark) was available on Netflix. I love this movie not just for the transformation Clark brought to Eastside High, but the transformation Clark goes through himself through the movie. Clark’s tactics are highly criticized even 30 years later, but there is one thing he did extraordinary well is see the possibility in the 2,700 students and hold them to that standard at all times. He communicated a vision of success through discipline and hard work, while painting a picture of possibilities for each adult and student in the classroom regarding their future. He said,...

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Winning With People Lesson #5: Compliment Other People in Front of Others

For over 30 years John Maxwell has written and recorded leadership lessons which have been used to mentor tens of thousands of people every single month. One of the most memorable lessons I remember listening to is as a leader, it is your responsibility to find people with great potential and how to create an environment for them to flourish and emerge as “full fledged” leaders. The lesson was called “Searching for Eagles.”

Here are the ten marks of an eagle from that lesson:

  1. Eagles make things happen.
  2. Eagles see and seize opportunities.
  3. Eagles influence the opinions and actions of others.
  4. Eagles add value to you. 
  5. Eagles draw winners to them. 
  6. Eagles equip others to lead. 
  7. Eagles provide ideas that help any organization. 
  8. Eagles possess ideas that help the organization.
  9. Eagles live up to their commitments and responsibilities. 
  10. Eagles show fierce loyalty to the organization and the leader. 

It’s an inspiring and...

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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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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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