This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on Building A Winning Team
Major Takeaway for this Month:
Creating and sustaining a winning team of talented people is maybe the single most important task of a leader. To do so, requires executing three key elements incredibly well. Only doing one or two without the complement of the other will always limit your efforts. Similar to the mutualistic relationship that we find in nature between bees and flowers, branding, recruiting, and selecting all work together and are beneficial to one another.
Breaking the Model Down
Branding refers to a schools ability to finding multiple avenues, using a variety of mediums, to tell their unique story to inform the community about greatness and achievement.
Recruiting is the active pursuit of finding the most talented staff to become a part of a school’s dynamic team.
Selecting refers to unique and different ways to ensure that the prospective candidate is the best for the organization.
So, what steps can you take today?
This month we offered a 3-Minute Challenge to take the necessary action steps to build your winning team by telling your story.
Excellent schools capitalize on all three areas–branding, recruiting, and selecting–to build their winning team. Did you take the first step in branding by telling your story this month? Our BIG to-do this month was the 10-Day Challenge, which required you to Commit to a 10-day pursuit to telling your school’s story using social media.
It only takes three minutes per day to Tweet, share a pic, or create a quick video. For 10 straight days, we asked that you commit to communicating something special about your school. Whether it’s preparing for the upcoming school year or celebrating recent graduates, you need to get your story told to change the narrative about what happens in great schools.
How well did you do on the challenge this month?
Read to Lead
3 Books You Need to Read to Brand Your School and Recruit Top Talent — #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 building your winning team.
What an expert has to say about telling your unique story to build an amazing school brand:
“In the absence of knowledge, people make it up.” Joe provides incredible insight on the power of branding and why schools need to embrace telling their story. Learn how Joe creates connections and forces engagement in different ways. Listen here.
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.
Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Joe holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from St. Norbert College, a masters in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a masters in Educational Leadership, and a PhD in Leadership, Learning, and Service from Cardinal Stritch University.
“In the absence of knowledge, people make it up.” Joe provides incredible insight on the power of branding and why schools need to embrace telling their story. Learn how Joe creates connections and forces engagement. We’ll forgive him for his comments regarding the Philadelphia Eagles.
A powerhouse of inspiration, Joe mentions that Inky Johnson is a person he can listen to every day. If you don’t know Inky’s story, don’t let another minute go by! Within the world of education, Joe also mentions that he “leans into” Jimmy Casas and Tom Murray and we couldn’t agree more.
Interestingly, Joe discussed the one thing that we should be doing every day is listening more. He powerfully describes how he often gets caught up in the “next thing” and can overlook the moment. You have to hear what he also says about doing something a little scary.
Listen to what he says about reading. It’s awesome and totally about immersion and engagement.
With whom do you surround yourself? Are you around individuals who push you to another level? Joe describes how to grow, find out just how simple it is if you are actually willing.
Joe’s final response on what he used to believe is a great example of doing what makes a difference versus doing things you think make a difference.
Joe’s interview is a practical how-to interview. His suggestions on telling your story are simple yet profound. The story he tells of the young man bagging groceries is what it is all about.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. ~ Michael Jordan
A fun pastime among sports enthusiasts is to debate the best sports teams of all time, regardless of the sport itself. Undoubtedly, this is a challenging, arguably futile, exercise with fierce loyalties and subjective opinions, which inevitably cloud good judgment. Regardless, there are some heavy hitters that always make the list and that can’t be ignored. As Phillies fans, it is hard to admit, but the ‘98 Yankees definitely stand out. From the batter’s box to the pitching mound, they dominated the playing field. We’ve already mentioned the Chicago Bulls in last week’s post, so we’ll give a shout out to our friends from the north and recognize the incredible run that the Edmonton Oilers had in the 80s.
The question that looms when these arguments arise is about the essence of what it means to achieve unmistakable greatness. Granted, great teams win, but putting together a winning team is far more complex than just assembling talent. Players need to not only be the very best in their particular position, but also must complement the team as a whole.
Schools aren’t vying for NBA championships, and certainly won’t get the same accolades, but building a “Hall of Fame” team in your school is not much different from any other sport or big brand. Every teacher and staff member must excel in their roles and be able to contribute to the school as a whole to guarantee that it functions at its highest level. The first step in building a winning team is in your dedication to branding and actively telling the school’s story. This generates attraction and attention, which leads to the second critical step, recruiting. People want to be a part of something great, and if your school is doing incredible things for students, others will want to join you. Lastly, selecting the right candidate is paramount. Vacancies go far beyond the job opening and extend into the culture, the fit, and all of the other aspects of being a strong team player.
Excellent schools capitalize on all three areas–branding, recruiting, and selecting–to build their winning team. Take the first step in branding by telling your story. Use the ThreeMinuteChallenge below, and let us know how it goes.
Reflect: Think about how well you are engaging the greater school community and informing them about all of the things that are going on in your school.
Identify: There are multiple avenues for telling your story and continually building your brand. Identify one or two key social media platforms that you will use to communicate your school’s priorities and achievements. We like Twitter best for this.
Do: Commit to a 10 day challenge of telling your story. It only takes three minutes a day to Tweet, share a pic, or create a quick video. For 10 straight days, commit to communicating something special about your school. Whether it’s preparing for the upcoming school year or celebrating recent graduates, find ways each day to promote the great things that define your success.
Pro Tip: Audit your website to see how well your brand is communicated. In BrandED, Authors Sheninger and Rubin tell readers to assess their website by conducting a website “walkthrough” to determine if the message is clear and consistent as well as to determine if it effectively communicates the school’s story.
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.
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 building a winning team–branding, recruiting, and selecting top talent.
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.
Our #ReadThisSeries 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.TheThree 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.
Creating and sustaining a winning team of talented people is maybe the single most important task of a leader. But a winning team is not just about putting together a group of high performers. In fact, the problem is twofold: 1. Assembling a team of driven players doesn’t automatically create the chemistry that it takes to “win.” And, 2. Building a team is more about the current culture of your school or business than it is about pulling new people onto your staff.
Consider the first problem. Having all the best players on one squad doesn’t mean that output will go through the roof. In fact, capacity is always more important than competence. You need people who can pivot–agility, adaptability, and the art of learning a new skill far exceed a narrow expertise. Dennis Rodman is considered one of the best rebounders that basketball has ever seen. But he was a leading scorer in college. On a team with shooters like Pippen and Jordan, Rodman found his niche.
Let’s also consider the second problem. If your brand, your culture, and your casting net are weak, your team is not set up to win. To drive the point clearly, we bring forward the Google-culture that attracts talent from around the world. It’s their branding and the fact that their internal working benefits are as well known to the public as they are to their employees.
That leads us to the three most important ways that you can build your winning team–the boosting and branding of your culture, the recruitment techniques that you use, and your selection process when you’re hiring. Let’s dive a bit deeper into each.
The branding equation is simple: Story + Priorities = Attraction. In The Power of Branding, Sinanis and Sanfelippo address the importance for schools, or any organization, to tell their story. Too often, even the local community, and sometimes parents, don’t know all the great things that happen within a school. Even worse, when something unfortunate happens, that does get advertised. Schools with the best reputation earn that stature by systematically telling the story of every great moment, program, initiative, and circumstance. It’s why “priorities” is the second component of the equation. Telling a story about how priorities came to fruition builds the belief that the team is winning. In fact, it provides proof of the “scoreboard.” That is precisely what attracts outsiders to a brand so that the team gets stronger from the inside-out as well as from the outside-in.
Too often, recruitment strategies are passive. A vacancy pops open, the job is posted, and we wait to see what the application pool presents. But with tools as easy to use as Twitter or LinkedIn, it’s almost irresponsible to be less than actively recruiting for top talent, even targeting individuals with a proven track record. Especially if your brand is clear through the stories you tell about the priorities you’ve set and goals you’ve met, it should be fun to glamorize an opening on your team to attract the leading players in your field.
Finally, organizations can’t leave the selection process to an interview alone. Interviews aren’t good measures of anything more than interviewing skills. That said, the key to a quality selection process, even an interview, is through the creation of what we call the archetype of the position. When you have a vacancy, you don’t just need a qualified person to join the team. You need specific traits, skills, experiences, and mindsets to fill your gap. Creating the archetype of the position means intentionally listing (and posting) what it is you’re looking to gain. Yes, you may need a certified social studies teacher, but what other gaps in experience and culture might this person fill? Don’t just consider the primary functions of the role, examine the other aspects of the team that the person is joining to ensure diversity and fit.
Want to Know More? Check out Building a Winning Team. We dive deeper into branding, recruiting, selecting, and a ton of other content to help you create and sustain an awesome team of people. If you want the most successful team possible, you’ll enjoy the technical tips, strategies, and practitioner spotlights that are included in the book. Let us know what you think. We love to hear from you.
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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.TheThree 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.