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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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To Be Unclear is to be Unkind: A Note To School Leaders

This is a note to all decision makers in education.

In times of crisis, it is alright to be uncertain, but it is never alright to be unclear. To be unclear is to be unkind. 

Over the past 30 days, schools across the country have been forced to take their education plans virtually and serve all students the best that they can with very little, if any, preparation. 

Parents are scrambling to balance being full time employees, home makers and now home school teachers. Doing their best to keep up with the work. Identifying and filling in the learning gaps they now see in their children. Blaming teachers for not “making it easy” for them to follow the daily lesson and questioning what is my child learning at that school? 

Teachers are creating new ways to educate and engage students remotely, collect and grade work, take attendance, and do what they can to create some sense of a routine. Many have very little information on how to do all of these because they...

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Avoid This E-Communication Killer

communication leadership Apr 14, 2020

This is one of my most valuable lessons, and if you read this entire blog, you will be an expert on how to avoid this problem. 

Stick with me, it’s worth it.

First, let’s assume that you find the perfect article or resource to share with your team or staff.  

Something that, in your eyes, they would be foolish not to want to read or see.

And then you send it… and NO ONE REPLIES. 

Not only does no one reply. You do not see any evidence that anyone read and implemented it. 

 Why? What happened?

Let me show you some examples in hopes to clarify some things.

During our COVID-19 time, or maybe even before, many of you have either received or forwarded email to a friend, colleague or a supervisor that either has no text or a few words like; “Check this out”, “This is great”, “Love this!” or  “Take a look” and a link to an article, program, or resource. 

You, being a great friend or...

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Worrying is Like Bubble Gum for the Mind

habits leadership mentoring Mar 31, 2020

"Hey, I’m Tom Miller and I’ve got a quote I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes from my mentor Paul Martinelli. "Worrying is like bubblegum for the mind." 

Many times, thoughts that consume us are such – ‘Did I do right?’, ‘Could I have done better?’, ‘Am I enough?’, ‘What will be the result of this?’. 

In fact these are such familiar thoughts, that they are often on in our daily habits without our awareness. 

Lots of times, we are in these grey situations where there is nothing obvious that we’ve done wrong, but nothing that we’ve done terribly right either. These thoughts can paralyze you. 

One example is when a client or a potential client emails or calls me. My mind immediately goes to…”What did I do wrong?’ I sometimes delay in opening the email or listening to the voice message. 

Do any of these thoughts ever enter your mind? How do they make...

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Charter School Leader Community COVID-19 Collaboration

 

Hey School Leaders, 

Our team and strategic partners meet every Thursday at 1:00 dozens of public charter school leaders meet virtually to Inform, Connect, Guide, and Unite charter and business leaders during this time. We will continue to do so until we are back in school.

Start by saving these School Leadership Community Created Resources to your DRIVE:

Google Folder Access

Shared COVID-19 Resource Document 

Here is access to the archived recordings (latest to earliest)

June 25th, 2020 (Special Guest Dave Machado from the NC Office of Charter Schools)

June 18, 2020 (Google DOC Notes- Look Under NEW for latest)

 

June 11, 2020 (Google Doc Notes)

 

 

June 4 Call (Clarence Henderson Archive)

May...

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How to Thrive Through COVID-19 As a School Leader

 

Hey, although these might seem tough times it is what we as leaders were trusted to do when we were appointed. 

Your job as a leader is to be microscopic on the present and telescopic towards the future. 

In less than 100 hours we went from organizing a possible break in school to a mandated two week closing. 

We went from canceling a few sporting events to being self-quarantined and no gathering of ten or more people. 

Some states have already canceled their end of year assessments, some are telling schools to start preparing for a full digital platform through the end of the year. 

Looking at our third and fourth quarter Principal Checklist through our Blue Print4Success program there are some critical organizational objectives (enrollment, hiring, strategic planning, budgeting) you need to be thinking on.

We have so many unknowns over the next 30 days every day matters to the future success.  There is one thing I know for sure...

when you confuse...

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When This Comes, It's Too Late to Prepare

leadership Feb 23, 2020

After watching the Carolina Hurricanes game last night with family a great lesson in leadership first spoken by the late great John Wooden came to light...

"When the opportunity comes it’s too late to prepare."

In case you missed it, David Ayres, a 42 year old zamboni driver for a Toronto ice hockey rink was forced to play as the emergency goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs because of injury in front of over 18,000 fans in a must win game for Carolina. 

The Canes won 6-3 and Ayres received star of the game.

Ayres gave up two early goals but settled in to shut out the home team over the last 20 minutes. His teammates mobbed him when the game was over. 

Whether it was during his junior hockey days or maybe driving around on the zamboni in an empty rink; my guess is Ayres has played that scene in his head thousands of times.

And when he finally got his shot, decades after he first imagined, he was ready mentally and...

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