Leading Change — #SH302

Leading Change — #SH302

When we think of the most effective leaders of all time, we typically remember the people who had the greatest impact on culture. These are the people who have created or endured the most intense changes to life as we know it, whether that be in our organizations, school systems, country, or world. The definition of leadership is influence; the challenge of leadership is conflict; the result of leadership is change. Great leaders influence change by overcoming conflict. 

But overcoming conflict is not just a price we must pay if we want to make change. It’s actually far more strategic than that. You can barrel through the resistance, but that rarely works in the long run. When we don’t follow a strict process for making change, we typically only see very incremental modifications to what we’re already doing rather than a full-scale innovation. We offer a 6-step model for leading change that works in any scenario where you plan to translate your idea from new to normal. 

6-Step Leading Change Model

Clear Vision — This is a statement about what the future should look and feel like if our goals are met. Of course, every great organization has a vision statement; this is the same thing but it’s the vision for the change initiative, programmatic shift, or new cultural norm that we want to see in place. Vision statements should always answer three questions: what do we desire to accomplish; who do we want the work to benefit; and why does it matter? 

Sample: We want all teachers to use collaborative structures so that our students learn to cooperate and communicate effectively as a college and career skill that they will need for their future success. 

Core Values — These are our 3-5 guiding principles that ground the work. They should be inspirational, recitable, and action-oriented. Core values represent the behaviors associated with bringing the vision into reality. 

Sample: 

We value active participation in the classroom. 

We value speaking & listening as a skill. 

We value student voice as an agent of empowerment.

Enumerated Goals — These are the points of measurement, used to assess whether or not we are making gains toward the goal. Three important concepts should be noted: 1. They should not be endpoints but rather waypoints, 2. They should act as milemarks with the ability to measure progress not perfection, and 3. Even though SMART goals are touted as comprehensive, your goals only need to address what by when

Sample: 

  1. All teachers will use collaborative structures at least once per daily lesson. 
  2. Our scheduled professional development time at faculty meetings will always include a demonstration of a new collaborative structure or a twist on one that we’re seeing in action (both in-person and remote). 
  3. A sampling of lessons will demonstrate that 40-60% of the time is allocated for student-talk-time. 

Research-based Methods — These are the critical practices that have demonstrated effectiveness through evidence and research in the field. As an instructional example, John Hattie, Robert Marzano, and others have published lists of effective instructional practices, including their corresponding effect size on learning outcomes. For any change initiative, the methods should be listed as success practices to be used in place of old norms and conditions. 

Sample: 

In the case of collaborative structures, we’re going to use Kagan as the basis for the practices that should be put in place. 

Defined Focus — Once you develop a list of methods you want put in place, that list has to be narrowed to a defined focus. If you have a list of 10-15 practices, you might select anywhere between one and three to focus on for anywhere between one month and a year. As you monitor the focus, you’ll know when it has been mastered by everyone and a new focus can be put in its place. As you shift culture, the one-at-a-time approach works far better than expecting everything and everyone to just make the change. 

Sample: RallyRobin and RallyCoach in September and October

Solid Models — This can be a visual representation of the focus items in a graphic format or even a list of checkpoints or steps for putting the focus into practice. We’re huge fans of visual models, like the one at the top of this post. That said, checklists and documented steps help people to see the process and take action versus the ambiguity in naming a practice that not everyone understands through practical application. 

Sample: 

Steps to implement a successful RallyRobin. 

Changing culture is difficult. We always say that the number one thing that people don’t like is change. But, the number two thing that people don’t like is the way things are. Leading a change, whether it’s thrust upon you or initiated by you, is never easy but it doesn’t have to be complicated. When you couple the above change leadership model with a communication plan, you’ll find that change can happen faster and stick better than without it. 

Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, technical tips, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our alerts, blogs, podcasts, and more.

Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

This blog post is sponsored by Principals’ Seminar. Many schools struggle as a new principal works through the learning curve, and our hearts break for new principals who are overwhelmed with information and noise, frustrated by not having the time to build relationships with staff and walking around in a constant state of fear that they are missing something. The Three in Three Principals’ Seminar is designed for new, existing, and aspiring principals and assistant principals who would like to gain 3 years of experience in 3 weeks, without the pain, risks, and time it would take otherwise. Follow the content at your own pace as you learn with others who are just like you. Click here for details. Register today to save. 

Review and Reflect: Living and Leading with H.O.P.E. — #reviewandreflect

Review and Reflect: Living and Leading with H.O.P.E. — #reviewandreflect

Model for Living and Leading with H.O.P.E.

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on leading with H.O.P.E. 

Major Takeaway for this Month:

Hope is not a passive act of wishful thinking. There are tips, tools, and tactics that leaders use when people need hope. Let’s be clear, humans always need hope. Following the H.O.P.E. model below will help you to lead better with hope at the forefront.

Breaking the Model Down

Humor

Humor is medicinal. Laughing actually “reverses hormonal changes brought on by cortisol and other stress-related chemicals.” Your body can boost your mental state through increased endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine simply by listening to a fun story or telling a joke. Remember, this type of humor is for people to have an outlet to lighten the burden they feel, not to minimize or reduce the seriousness of the situation.

Optimism 

Optimism is a way of thinking. It doesn’t mean that you see everything through rose-colored glasses. It just means that you believe that taking action to make improvements is better than self-pity. An optimistic outlook actually helps with sleep, resilience, and even life expectancy. All things that people need in times of trouble. 

Positivity 

Needless to say, a positive mindset is a trait that great leaders possess. But imagine the immense benefits that come with this type of outlook–lower rates of depression, coping skills during hardships, cardiovascular health, and better psychological well-being. Wow. 

Energy 

Sometimes the worst part of a stressful situation is that it zaps all of our energy. The time in which you need to be at your best, you find yourself overly fatigued, unable to rest, and incredibly anxious. Worse yet, in order to be an effective leader who is able to find proper ways to instill a bit of humor, to remain genuinely positive, and to offer optimism for those you lead, you need to be in a resourceful state-of-mind, which requires an immense amount of energy. 

Humor, optimism, positivity, and energy are four aspects of hope that we all need these days. As leaders, especially in schools, we can serve people using a dose of each, remembering that it starts with remaining hopeful ourselves. 

So, what steps can you take today? 

Throughout the month we offered 3-Minute Challenges to take the necessary action steps to lead with hope. 

How well did you do on the challenges this month?

Humor

You don’t have to be a comedian or even a great joke teller to take the following three steps in using humor as a tool to create hope on your team. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the weight of the situation that you’re trying to lighten so that hope is in sight for your team. Allowing the heaviness to sink in provides the needed recognition regarding the weight that you want to lift. The burden of the pandemic is an example for educators who are working to plan what school will be in the fall. 
  2. Identify: Identify something humorous that you came across recently–this can be something that happened to you or that you did (even a silly mistake you made). Think about, for example, something funny that one of your kids said. “This 5th grade car parade is better than my graduation. All I got to do was sit on a stage in an itchy shirt and sing a song that I didn’t even like.” 
  3. Do: Tell the story at the start of a meeting or when the time seems right. Have others share a funny story as well. Be sensitive about the context of your humor, but note that humor heals and laughter lightens. 

How well do you infuse appropriate humor into your work culture?

Optimism

Optimism is something that conditioning so that we can better pivot from uncertainty and doubt to assuredness and hope. The following challenge is meant to help you become more optimistic in the midst of clouds and obstacles, even when they won’t go away. 

  1. Reflect: Think of a situation in which you were recently involved where you felt a lack of control or simply overwhelmed. We often experience these moments quickly, and they have the potential to hijack our entire emotional state. 
  2. Identify: What were the specific aspects of the situation that caused you the stress or anxiety? Take a step back and identify the bigger purpose behind why you engaged in those aspects in the first place. 
  3. Do: Next time you start to feel stressed, remember the overarching purpose or goal that you set as you dig into the weeds of the scenario. The minutiae is what bothers us but our why will always put things into perspective.

How well do you lead with an optimistic viewpoint?

Positivity and Energy

To lead at your best and grow in your role, you can’t just rely on your regular thinking; you must actually think about your thinking, putting metacognition at the forefront of everyday problem-solving scenarios. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the words you use when you talk to yourself during tough times. Are they negative or positive? Do you see opportunities or do you default to road blocks.
  2. Identify: Words are powerful. Make a list of the defeating words that you use when a problematic situation arises. Be mindful that we rarely recognize how often we engage in negative thinking. The slightest daily issue can cause negative self-talk. 
  3. Do: In a great article by Margaret Wehrenberg, she teaches us to use two powerful words: Until Now. For one day, evaluate your self-talk and when you find yourself engaging in defeating thoughts or negative self-talk, simply add, Until Now at the end of the sentence. I wasn’t able to… _______, until now.

How well do you lead with positivity?

How well do you lead with energy?

Read to Lead

3 Books You Need to Read to Provide More Hope for Yourself and Others — #readthisseries 

Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must reads on the topic of hope–providing hope for both yourself and the people you serve. 

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

Passionate Leadership by Salmoe Thomas-EL, Joseph Jones, & T.J. Vari 

Solid Ground by T.W. Lewis 

What an expert has to say about leading with hope:

We truly enjoyed having Tom on our onethingseries podcast. He provides incredible insight on how effective leaders don’t sidestep reality. His views on vision, trustworthiness, and compassion are powerful and can be used effectively through his simple steps. Tom also introduced us to a new concept he called “esteemable.” It’s a powerful way to view ourselves, others, and situations. Listen here for more.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube. 

Joe & T.J.

Positivity and Energy: The Final Two Ingredients for the H.O.P.E. Formula — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Positivity and Energy: The Final Two Ingredients for the H.O.P.E. Formula — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Our final two ingredients for leading with H.O.P.E. are positivity and energy. You’ll often find that these two magical components are linked together as positive energy, but we keep them separate to emphasize a clear distinction between them so that you can harness the power of both through an understanding of your relationship with each.  

Needless to say, a positive mindset is a characteristic that we must possess if we want to be effective as leaders. But, don’t mistake positivity for an unrealistic outlook on the world. Worse yet, don’t paint reality to be more dismal than it truly is. Falling into either is too easy. The latter created by fear–our minds revert to the worst case scenario. And in an odd way, these misjudgements make us feel safe, providing an odd sense that impossibility equals less responsibility. 

However, that’s the exact opposite of leading with positivity. Circumstances and situations are to be managed so that we can still reach our ultimate goal no matter what happens. We need to “trim our sail” to prevent the ship from capsizing in the storm. Gaining clarity about the situation and identifying clear next steps to move forward in a productive way are how we harness positivity within ourselves and others. 

The connection that positivity has to energy lives within our self-talk. At its simplest form, a positive mindset begins with the way we address ourselves, which either produces an abundance of energy or takes it away in an instant. 

The worst part of a stressful situation is that it zaps our energy. Stress creates a blockage in the brain. Our primal fight or flight response to a problem produces a surge in our cortisol levels that can put us in an unhealthy and unproductive state-of-mind. As difficult as it may be, this is the exact moment to look for an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s during these unwanted times that we need to be at our best, not fatigued, unable to rest, or anxious. When discomfort meets paralysis, we need to push past the negative thoughts that distract us from the sources of energy that we need to lead well. 

Take the following challenge to evaluate your self-talk and maximize your ability to create positive thoughts and unprecedented levels of energy as a leader. 

We can never underestimate how our view of the world impacts our daily performance. Our own self-talk regarding ourselves, others, and situations must be closely monitored so that we are in a resourceful and productive space. To lead at your best and grow in your role, you can’t just rely on your regular thinking; you must actually think about your thinking, putting metacognition at the forefront of everyday problem-solving scenarios. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the words you use when you talk to yourself during tough times. Are they negative or positive? Do you see opportunities or do you default to road blocks.
  2. Identify: Words are powerful. Make a list of the defeating words that you use when a problematic situation arises. Be mindful that we rarely recognize how often we engage in negative thinking. The slightest daily issue can cause negative self-talk. 
  3. Do: In a great article by Margaret Wehrenberg, she teaches us to use two powerful words: Until Now. For one day, evaluate your self-talk and when you find yourself engaging in defeating thoughts or negative self-talk, simply add, Until Now at the end of the sentence. I wasn’t able to… _______, until now.

Pro Tip:  Create a Power Talk List to counter the negative things that you might say to yourself. Consider your daily work out as an example. Almost everyone we know has a desire to feel healthy and look good. Yet, often, when we’ve had a long day, especially mentally, we find yourself saying something like, “I’m too tired to exercise, I’ll do it tomorrow.” But, immediately replace that with another phrase to help you maintain the standards that you set for yourself. “I’ve worked hard today and I’m tired. Awesome. I am going to reinvigorate myself with a long run.” Or, “I thought I felt too tired to go for a run, until now!”  Don’t allow yourself to think negatively by identifying something, like exercise, as a chore. The things that cost us the most energy are likely the ones that produce the highest levels of it as a result of doing them. Thinking positively about them produces energy when we need it most. Put exercise at the top of your Power Talk List and write down several other instances where you might need a boost of positive self-talk when you’re feeling low. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.
Joe & T.J.

3 Books You Need to Read to Provide More Hope for Yourself and Others — #readthisseries

3 Books You Need to Read to Provide More Hope for Yourself and Others — #readthisseries

Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must reads on the topic of hope–providing hope for both yourself and the people you serve. 

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

Passionate Leadership by Salome Thomas-EL, Joseph Jones, & T.J. Vari 

Solid Ground by T.W. Lewis 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

PS — If you have a topic you want us to cover or need recommendations on books to read in a particular area of leadership, just send us a tweet or email. 

Optimism: The Second Key Ingredient of H.O.P.E. — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Optimism: The Second Key Ingredient of H.O.P.E. — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

In 1972, Johnny Nash, an American reggae singer-songwriter, brought to the world the incredible song, “I Can See Clearly Now.” The moving lyrics speak of hope and optimism. Amid our dark times, we must have the confidence that better days will prevail. As the lyrics state, sunshiny days are ahead:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Remaining optimistic during difficult times is no easy feat. It requires us to take a step back to see the big picture so that we can gain perspective on the areas of our life that we can control. Once we have a better grasp of the situation, and our role within it, we can begin to push forward and persevere. The power in Nash’s lyrics is that the obstacles are still present. They haven’t gone away; it’s only the fact that he knows what they are (he can see them) that allows him to overcome his obstacles. The dark clouds are blinding. 

Haven’t we all been in that situation? Where we lacked clarity, waned in our faith, and dipped in our optimism about the future. And then something changed, we saw the sun through the clouds, and we felt a hint of reassurance. 

Optimism is something that conditioning so that we can better pivot from uncertainty and doubt to assuredness and hope. The following challenge is meant to help you become more optimistic in the midst of clouds and obstacles, even when they won’t go away. 

  1. Reflect: Think of a situation in which you were recently involved where you felt a lack of control or simply overwhelmed. We often experience these moments quickly, and they have the potential to hijack our entire emotional state. 
  2. Identify: What were the specific aspects of the situation that caused you the stress or anxiety? Take a step back and identify the bigger purpose behind why you engaged in those aspects in the first place. 
  3. Do: Next time you start to feel stressed, remember the overarching purpose or goal that you set as you dig into the weeds of the scenario. The minutiae is what bothers us but our why will always put things into perspective. 

Pro Tip: Turn up the music. We are not all moved by the same songs or music genre; find the type that calms and relaxes you to discover the benefits of mood enhancing tunes. Studies show that music can have a powerful positive impact on us, including our hope and optimism. Just the right sound coming from your stereo, and you’ll be able to see the big picture in no time. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

One Thing Series: Leading with Hope w/ Tom Lewis — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Leading with Hope w/ Tom Lewis — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Leading with Hope w/ Tom Lewis — #onethingseries

Discipline is the Differentiator  

Tom Lewis is the founder of T.W. Company, an award-winning Scottsdale, Arizona based real estate and investment company known for its quality and outstanding customer service in the homebuilding industry. 

Lewis received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Professional Builder Magazine and was the first inductee into the National Housing Quality Hall of Fame. In 2002, Lewis and his wife Jan formed TomLewis Foundation to support higher education, children and families in need, youth character education and a variety of local and national non-profits that strengthen Americas’ civil society. In 2015, they created the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky.

In his new book, SOLID GROUND, Lewis asserts that, when it comes to success, nothing is more critical than a solid foundation. Taking the time, now, for reflection and analysis will yield enormous dividends in the future, he attests. 

 

 

Key Thoughts from the Interview:

  • Tom provides incredible insight on how effective leaders don’t sidestep reality. His views on vision, trustworthiness, and compassion are powerful and can be used effectively through his simple steps.
  • His philanthropic work with college-bound students is impressive.  
  • He discussed the wisdom of Dennis Prager and referred to him as a modern day philosopher.
  • Tom introduced us to a new concept he called “esteemable.” You have to listen to how he describes the fact that the work we do, especially for others, leads to greater fulfillment.
  • He genuinely talked about his desire to reach more millennials and offer them the wisdom he has gained throughout his life. 
  • He encouraged everyone to find their talent, not just their passion.
  • Lastly, Tom eloquently describes the difference between strategy and execution. 

Tom’s interview is a practical how-to interview, including ways to infuse hope into everything we do for greater fulfillment in life and work. 

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow theschoolhouse302.com

Joe & T.J.