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Focus Your Energy for What Matters

leadership priorities Jun 27, 2020

My family and I recently had the opportunity to embark on a Gulf Stream fishing trip. We caught over 300 lbs of Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Barracuda, Bonito and a few other species.

It is certainly a day I will never forget that was filled with many leadership lessons. 

Our fishing spot was three hours one way, sixty miles offshore. We left the dock at 5:00 am, fished for seven hours in 90 degree heat and returned home with over 300 lbs of fish.

On the way back to shore, I climbed to the bridge of the 50 foot boat and I happened to notice both the captain and the first mate were sleeping.

After I had a small tantrum regarding our safety I realized great leaders understand when they need to be at their best - expending the most energy in order to meet their mission. 

Our captain put the boat on autopilot, allowing the captain to conserve his energy and be at his best for the key tasks of the day: 

  1. Analyzing the weather conditions 
  2. Plotting the correct coordinates
  3. ...
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To Be First, You Have to Swing the Bat!!!

leadership risk Jun 07, 2020

Thirty-two years ago today, June 7, 1988, I was the first!

The first player in Newtown’s Little League’s history to hit a home run and the newly built Chandler Field off Trevor Tuminsky. I was twelve years old. It landed way out in the trees over the left field fence. I am grateful to my coach, Tom Davis, for tracking it down and giving it to me in this case. I am not sure if it is the actual ball, but it is mine.

Many other players hit multiple home runs that season after mine. Some probably much further. Many I am sure hundreds of players have since put one over the fence in thirty two years. But to me, the only one that matters, was the first one. The one that paved the way for the rest. 

Being first is a leadership model I have utilized my entire career, especially after I heard Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. In it, Pausch describes an award he gave, “The First Penguin”, to his graduate students for stepping out of their comfort zone and trying...

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Civil Rights Leader Clarence Henderson Speaks to Our School Leadership Community

leadership relationships Jun 05, 2020
 

Mr. Clarence Henderson, civil rights leader who was a member of the Greensboro Four who were arrested at Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro joined our Charter School Leader Community to discuss the current racial unrest, peaceful protest, and how school choice and charter schools, and educators in general can contribute to a better society. 

Mr. Henderson's bio

Here were some of Mr. Henderson's teaching point quotes:

“The new protest is the ballot box.”

“It’s not what’s behind you or in front of you that matters. It’s what’s IN you that matters.”

'We the people, not they the government."

"And so no matter what way a person other person sees me, that doesn't bother me, because I don't allow anybody to occupy the space in my mind because they have not paid in rent to be there."

"It doesn't matter your political party you can advocate for equality."

“Silence is consent.”

And so many more. 

We will be...

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I Did Not Know This Was My Responsibility

empathy growth leadership Jun 02, 2020

Hey everyone, I am Tom Miller and I wanted to share this quote with you. 

John Maxwell shared, "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” 

If you knew me 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago, you would more than likely remember a person of lesser character, limited personal accountability, empathy, and awareness of how my actions impacted others. I have worked hard over the last 5 to make significant changes to be the father, spouse, and community leader. 

However, over the last week, watching the turmoil unfold, I have come to realize that I am not even close to the leader that I need to be. 

John Maxwell shares, “If you want to change and grow, then you must know yourself and accept who you are before you can start building.”

Last week, when George Floyd died I said, “Wow, this is terrible.” But it was just “another” incident. 

When the protesting began, I said, “I just hope it doesn’t get violent.” ...

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Why Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Crisis?

 

During this COVID-19 interruption to the school calendar as most us have experienced it, our team at Leaders Building Leaders, in partnership with Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schoolscreated a community and predictable platform to INFORM, CONNECT, GUIDE and UNITE school leaders from across the globe in hopes of creating the best educational learning experience for all stakeholders. We meet every Thursday at 1:00. 

This past Thursday Ed Reed, Social and Emotional Learning expert, school administrator and counselor in a Maryland school system, was our guest speaker and shared with us the "WHY" behind building an effective Social and Emotional Learning program and "HOW" to begin laying an effective foundation before students return to school this fall.

Ed has served in various leadership roles in private industry and secondary schools recognized among the top 100 schools in America. After spending over 20...

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How to Be an Effective Exceptional Children's Director (Expert Speaker, Breauna Wall)

 

Exceptional Children Teams's are not strong just because they have strong members. Exceptional Children's Team's are strong because they learn to to navigate through challenging times together.

During this COVID-19 interruption to the school calendar as most us have experienced it, our team at Leaders Building Leaders, in partnership with Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools has created a community and platform to INFORM, CONNECT, GUIDE and UNITE school leaders from across the globe in hopes of creating the best educational learning experience for all stakeholders. We meet every Wednesday at 3:00. 

This past week our special guest speaker today was Breauna Wall, Director of 13 virtual schools across the state of CaliforniaAs the Director of the Exceptional Children program, Breauna and her team oversee more than 2,000 students through a remote learning platform. Building effective...

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Make Big Things Out of Little Things

finances leadership vendors May 26, 2020

Third party vendors can be pebbles in your shoe or building blocks for your school. 

This is the time of the year when you should be taking significant inventory of WHO is on your team. This doesn’t just include employees; this includes Third Party Providers. Typically you hire a third party provider for one of two reasons:

  1. You don’t want to do it.
  2. You cannot do it (time, skill, etc).  

Having strong third party support to do the things you cannot or don’t want to do is critical to your success. It can also be the pebble in your shoe that takes you down. 

Six  years ago, I started my business, and there have been two particular areas in which these pebbles have nearly destroyed my shoes, my toes, almost everything. (If you know college basketball and Zion Williamson from Duke--that’s the kind of shoe blow out in the 2019 tournament I’m talking about.)

These pebbles are:

  • Website support
  • Bookkeeping/Accounting

I was so naive...

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What Should You REALLY Be Doing Today?

I believe that leaders never advance to a point where they no longer need to prioritize.

Great leaders know that activity is not necessarily accomplishment. That is why they follow the 80/20 rule, or as many call it, the Pareto Principle. 

The 80/20 rule sounds like a mathematical formula and in some ways it is but don’t fret, this isn’t a lesson on statistics.  The rule came from an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who stated that 80% of the Italian income was earned by 20% of the Italian population. 

What this means is that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs.  

Here are some relevant examples: 

  • Productivity (20% of your time per day brings 80% of your results)
  • Habits (20% of the cups that I own are used on a regular basis)
  • Happiness (20% of your activities create 80% of your happiness) 
  • Revenue (20% of your product brings 80% of the revenue)
  • Assets (20% of my wardrobe is worn 80% of the days per year)
  • Mileage (20%...
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Leadership Land Mines

leadership Apr 26, 2020

Ever Play the Game Operation?

It was the game where you, the doctor, were responsible for remedying health issues like the charlie horse, spare ribs and butterflies. The most fun was removing the ankle bone from the knee bone. You all remember getting buzzed before you could remove the infection. Wouldn’t it be great if life really gave you a buzzer before you stepped on the landmine?

My last 12 months have been filled with leadership landmines. One of the critical elements in learning how to lead is to avoid those landmines, outline the map through the battlefield, and make it to the final destination with all limbs intact. Having reflected on these last 12 months, I realize that I need to raise my awareness. This will take more than just putting new batteries in my buzzer. I am going to need a better map to guide me through the battlefield.  

Here are some landmines I hit that I must avoid this year.  

Poor Staffing Decisions: If you have read anything I...

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What I Struggle With Most: Listening

Today (April 20) is the anniversary of one of my greatest leadership landmine lessons where I learned...

Those who don't listen to their people will eventually be surrounded with those who have nothing to say.

You know how principals sometimes find themselves working on large projects by themselves that should be a collaborative decision.

Well, ten years ago I developed the second half of the school year calendar over our winter break. I was very proud of myself, feeling “ahead” for once. When the staff returned we went over the key dates and celebrations.

On the calendar I listed April 20th as Earth Day. Leading up to the event I was excited hearing all of the cross-content ideas the team was putting together for Earth Day. The day ended up being a HUGE hit. I could not have been more proud of the way the staff came together as collaboration had been one of our areas for growth. 

You could imagine my surprise when two days later I woke up, on April 22nd,...

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