The One Book that School Leaders Should Read to Attack Persistent Problems in Education – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

by | Jan 23, 2023 | 0 comments

5 min read

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems

We want to share some of our favorite aspects of our newest book, 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems. Written with our co-author, Connie Hamilton, this book calls into question some of the problems with our Educational Industrial Complex, problems that have persisted for too long, and the mind shifts that it will take to truly challenge the status quo. It’s for any school leader who wants better outcomes for all students. If you’re fine with the way things are, it’s not for you. 

Consider a problem, which is frankly too common: poor attendance. Lots of students miss days here and there rather than stringing them together with an obvious and long absence. The problem is that a student who misses a couple of days in September is likely to miss a whole month of school by the end of the year. Think of the type of impact that this kind of poor attendance has on student performance, socialization, reading proficiency, and a host of other things. We might otherwise not even catch the problem, and when we do, we often don’t have models for examining and fixing the problem. 

A nuance here is that attendance is not always on the radar screen. Picture a school that is uber-focused on elevating reading proficiency. This could be a costly mistake, spending money and time on reading resources when the problem isn’t the reading program but rather student attendance rates. Maybe if students were in school for a great percentage of the days that school is in session they would have better reading proficiency scores. That’s why this book is so powerful. We introduce 7 models that can be used with your teams to help examine problems in a new light.  

In this episode of Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe and T.J., we feature two of our favorite models from the book. Joe describes the Octopus Approach and how it can be used to help make sure that the many variables associated with an issue are brought to the table before a decision is made. This model is designed for implementing systems thinking in your school.   

T.J. covers a second model called, Disciplined Tunnel Vision. Having tunnel vision can be seen as a negative response, but there is a need at times for an all-out, complete-and-utter, focus on an issue for it to be solved. T.J. discusses our six-part practical change model that schools can use from developing a vision for a change all the way to the creation of a specific model for what that change looks like in practice. The first three steps are common, but that’s only 50% of what will get you to the implementation of something new in your school.  

Enjoy this book to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. And, if you like this new book, please rate it on Amazon. It helps. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.


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