302 Thoughts: Great School Leaders Know How to Turn Crisis Into Opportunity

302 Thoughts: Great School Leaders Know How to Turn Crisis Into Opportunity

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. dig into how school leaders can turn adversity into opportunity. Every leader will face issues and how they perceive those problems often determines how they will approach them, which can be the difference between success and failure. 

Listen to Joe describe the power of It’s Possible. This isn’t just wishful thinking but an earnest belief that regardless of the situation there is a silver lining. Inspired by Les Brown, Joe makes a compelling case for using this same belief and attitude in education. We know that every school and district is facing issues, whether it’s attracting and retaining teachers, student mental health needs, limited resources, unfunded mandates, etc. Take your pick, the list is long. 

T.J. ties this winning mindset to these perennial problems, and if we want to solve the most difficult issues facing education, leaders are going to need the proper mindset. T.J. mentions the crisis mindset definition that we created, which can be found in our upcoming book, 7 Mindshifts for for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems.

Crisis Mindset Definition: An unfiltered 360° view and approach to solving problems with urgency that abandons conventional wisdom and accepted restraints until a meaningful solution is found, implemented, and sustainable.

Lastly, they talk about a critical leadership hack: make it tangible. Too often, issues seem abstract and elusive. One way to combat this is by writing the problem on a sheet of paper and setting it in the center of the table for everyone to see. This strategy seems odd, but it allows the group to focus and deal with what is right in front of them. Try it and let us know how it works out.  

T.J. and Joe always provide the how with the what, enabling school leaders to lead better and grow faster. 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Great School Leaders Find Opportunity in Crisis

Great School Leaders Find Opportunity in Crisis

Leaders are Readers

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple of books on a particular topic each month. These are books we enjoy and believe are worth reading. 

Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on school leaders recognizing the opportunity within a crisis. We know how incredibly challenging this can be because every issue brings with it the fact that it also dominates everyone’s mental energy, which means that looking for opportunity in the very moment that you’re trying to solve a problem can be daunting. However, the crisis itself may be our only chance to think differently to not only solve the problem at hand but also determine what advantages may arise during the situation that can be applied in the future. Because this type of thinking is necessary during a crisis, we chose these two powerful books this month. Common with John Maxwell books, they offer sage advice coupled with practical skills. Great leaders don’t just read books to gather tips and steps for how to lead but also the style of thinking required to lead better and grow faster. Great leaders are heavy readers and deep thinkers. 

Joe’s Pick: Good Leaders Ask Great Questions

Featured Author: John Maxwell

If you’re going to lead effectively, you have to be able to ask great questions. This book presents questions in two different ways. First, it starts with questions that the leader should ask in various situations. Maxwell lists great questions that can get a conversation started even if you don’t know where or how to begin. 

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have canned questions to lean on. Asking great questions to get to the root of a problem is hard, and this book offers several gems. Second, the book details many of the questions that Maxwell has been asked as a leader. The insight into his thinking is powerful and will help any leader consider the various ways to navigate difficult situations. 

T.J.’s Pick: Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

Featured Author: John Maxwell

This book confronts success head-on and why some people achieve it and others don’t. The difference between triumph and failure is a question that many people wonder about and Maxwell offers the answer–response to adversity. He starts the book with a compelling concept from J. Wallace Hamilton who argues that people generally train to be successful while they should be training for failure. And, in typical Maxwell fashion, he illustrates his point through great stories, kicking it off with Mary Kay Ash.

If you are going to lead you are going to have problems. It’s inevitable. Effective leaders not only understand that conflict is necessary but they learn how to thrive amid adversity as they seek to make a change. It means that great leaders are willing to fail forward as they make things better. It’s what Seth Godin says about leadership: leaders are the ones who are willing to do something that might not work. This is a book that won’t disappoint, and every school leader should read it. 

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

We close every Read This Series with a technical tip. This month’s tip is to read the same author’s books in succession. There are very prolific authors with incredible insight into topics and very often there are similar ideas and thoughts presented with just a slight variation on the theme. These subtle differences can offer unique connections from which leaders can benefit in a way that doesn’t happen when you only read one book that the author published. This means that when you commit to one book by an author, you should consider reading two or three in a row. 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Today’s content was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout.

302 Thoughts: 3 Ideas About an Innovative School Culture That Really Work

302 Thoughts: 3 Ideas About an Innovative School Culture That Really Work

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. dig into how leaders can implement, develop, and support innovation in schools by identifying three ideas that actually work for school leaders

Innovation in schools is often a byproduct of other areas of focus. For example, if schools purchase instructional technology, many leaders hope that the byproduct will be innovation. The fallacy in this approach is that the tool is the primary focus and not a culture of innovation beyond what the tool might provide. We know that computers and other devices alone don’t improve instruction or student performance nor will they be used with efficacy and excitement if the culture doesn’t already support innovation. 

However, in the right hands, those tools can completely transform a classroom. This is why innovation is so critical; it’s not a thing, but a value. By maintaining and fostering innovation as a value, we can permeate other areas of schooling and not just the obvious application of new tools, like technology. 

Other school practices demand innovative thinking. From human resources and creating innovative hiring practices to school discipline and bell schedules. Innovation is critical to reach greater heights of performance. This is why school leaders have to be intentional and embrace their role as the chief innovation officer. Remember, our definition of innovation: 

Any new idea, program, project, or initiative that enhances or alters what we used to do, creating something new and different.

This doesn’t mean that school leaders have to be the model innovator, but rather create the culture that nurtures it. To ensure that this happens, we offer a unique 3-part model to help school leaders think about what it means to create a culture of innovation.

Listen to Joe describe how great schools and its leaders don’t put a lid on innovation. The school must maintain innovation as a norm during meetings, professional learning, PLCs, all facets of the organization. 

T.J. explains how the three core areas of focus–diversity, open dialogue, and risk-taking–are essential. 

  • Diversity: Diversify the staff and other teams for new and unique thinking.
  • Open Dialogue: Create norms where new ideas are free-flowing in safe spaces. 
  • Risk-Taking: Encourage staff to take calculated risks and learn from their experiences. 

Lastly, they describe how schools cannot only focus on the WHY, and the reasons for something, but also embrace a “bias for action” and develop a culture of TRY.

T.J. and Joe always provide the how with the what, enabling school leaders to lead better and grow faster. To become a CIO in your school, try the following:

  • Look at your teams through a diversity lens. 
  • Ensure meetings allocate time to discuss innovative ideas and practices.
  • Praise effort and encourage persistence. 

We conclude this month’s 302 Thoughts with this quote from Peter Drucker, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Great School Leaders Find Opportunity in Crisis

Unlocking Innovation: Two Must Reads for School Leaders

Great School Leaders are Avid Readers

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple of books that we benefit from each month. 

Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on school leaders who know that innovation is a key ingredient to successful schools. Innovation in school thrives in a culture that supports diverse and different thinking. Innovation isn’t a thing, it’s not a professional development session; we contend that it’s a value that needs nurturing and support.

For this reason, we chose two books that are must-reads for school leaders who want to build environments, for teachers and other staff members, that are innovative. These may not be the first books that you think of when you reach for a book about innovation, but they’ll support your team’s endeavors to actually be innovative versus just talking about what that means for schools. 

Joe’s Pick: Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive

Featured Author: Richard Montanez

 

When we think of innovation in schools, we often think of technology. Whether blended lessons, cool assessment platforms, or flipping a classroom, we love the tech innovations that are reconstructing the instructional prowess of many teachers. However, innovation doesn’t begin or end with tech. Rather, it’s a mindset that should permeate every decision we make. This is why we appreciate Richard’s story and the lessons taught throughout this book. 

 

Listen to our description about how teachers and leaders can embrace an “owner’s mentality” to break from conventional thinking and unveil new ideas and new developments. 

 

T.J.’s Pick: Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice

Featured Authors: Nathan Maynard & Brad Weinstein

We love the old adage, “doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” There are a lot of things that we do in schools where this applies, especially with school discipline. So often our efforts to correct student misbehavior simply fall short. Don’t get us wrong, this doesn’t mean that people aren’t working hard to help students succeed. But, very often discipline practices are out-of-date and fail to address some of the deeper needs that students have. This is where restorative practices can be very effective, but they require an innovative mindset. 

Listen to our explanation about how this book provides an innovative approach to discipline that works toward correcting student conduct, which is likely obstructing their own and others’ learning. We love that this book addresses equity, empathy, diversity, and inclusiveness–all elements of a truly innovative mindset in schools. 

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

We close every Read This Series with a technical tip. This month’s tip is how to read two books a month. Most people believe that you need to be a fast reader to consistently devour books. Not true. It’s not speed, but consistency. Consider an average reading pace of 200 words per minute. This is a very reasonable pace. If you read 20 minutes a day, that’s 4,000 words per sitting. The average book is about 64,000 words. This means that f you read 4,000 words a day, you will read a book every 16 days. That’s about 2 a month. 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow a comment, or a share.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Today’s content was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout.

302 Thoughts: School Leaders, Become a Personal Growth Influencer in Three Easy Steps

302 Thoughts: School Leaders, Become a Personal Growth Influencer in Three Easy Steps

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. dig into a major responsibility of school leaders that very often poses challenges. Although professional learning is common in schools, not everyone views it as a primary vehicle for getting better. Whether for personal development or improving instructional practices, leveling up one’s skills aren’t always viewed with a positive attitude.

There are a host of reasons for this in schools, but one thing that must be in place to change the culture is that the leader needs to view themselves as a professional growth influencer. School leaders have to be intentional, not only with which trainings they bring to staff, but for casting the vision for how and why everyone in the school must grow.

To improve this aspect of school culture, we believe that three things must occur, which are discussed in this episode.

Listen to Joe describe how great schools build great teachers within healthy systems. The school itself needs to be viewed as a living, breathing organism and its health needs to be monitored routinely. 

T.J. explains how every school has a dynamic staff with a unique set of talents and skills and it is the school leader’s responsibility to tailor learning accordingly. That’s not all though. This is a two-pronged approach, the other prong is that the professional learning needs to be real and relevant–grounded in the nuances of the school or district. 

Lastly, they describe how growth is intentionally developed through leadership opportunities. Effective school leaders create opportunities for teachers to take on a variety of roles from professional learning responsibilities, non-evaluative and non-threatening peer observations, researcher roles, community outreach, assessment team leader, and a host of other possibilities.

T.J. and Joe always provide the how with the what, enabling school leaders to lead better and grow faster. To become a professional growth influencer, school leaders must know and do the following:

  • Conduct interviews and inventories about the unique strength of the teachers. Without this understanding, you’ll likely plan one-size-fits all PD. 
  • Ensure alignment between the learning opportunities and the vision, goals, and initiatives of the school. Misalignment creates strife and frustration.
  • Delegate responsibilities and support teacher leaders. Teacher leaders are the life-blood of great schools, but the making of a great teacher is not the same as the making of a great leader. 

We conclude this month’s 302 Thoughts with this quote from Abraham Maslow: “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” In this type of environment, growth is a core value integrated into the culture. 

Listen to Joe and T.J. take a deep dive into how school and district leaders, at all levels, can rethink growth in schools. 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Great School Leaders Find Opportunity in Crisis

Two Great Books that Every School Leader Must Read to Build a Culture of Growth in Their School

Great School Leaders are Avid Readers

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple of great books each month. 

Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on school leaders who want to build a culture of growth in their schools. Growth in any given area requires intentionality with time specifically dedicated to supporting personal development.  

For this reason, we chose two books that are must reads for school leaders who want to build environments, for teachers and other staff members, that nurture growth. 

Joe’s Pick: The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

Featured Author: Pat Lencioni

In this podcast, Joe quickly identifies why The Advantage is a powerful read for growth-driven leaders. Unlike Lencioni’s other books, this is not fable but rather a guide to develop an organization’s health. 

Listen to why an organization’s health is bigger than culture. 

Joe also identifies quick ways to determine how well an organization is functioning. As Lencioni points out in the book, there should be minimal politics and confusion, high morale and productivity, and low staff turnover, which is the purpose of Retention for a Change as well. 

The book is centered on a model, which Joe points out in the episode; see below for a great graphic from Reading Graphics. Please note that the last three aspects of the model focus on clarity. 

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

T.J.’s Pick: Time, Talent, and Energy

Featured Authors: Michael Mankins and Eric Garton

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

T.J. lands on Time, Talent, Energy this month, knowing that if you desire to grow people, then you need to fully understand the impact of time, talent, and energy on what the author’s call “organizational drag.” Not using the three wisely can lead to disastrous results. 

Listen to T.J. describe how these are the scarcest resources that need to be protected in schools. 

He also reveals how the right culture unearths the unique talents within a school and district. Additionally, companies often focus on the strategic goals, financial capital, but fully understanding how to manage your team’s time, talent, and energy is just as, if not more important. 

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

We close every Read This Series with a technical tip. This month’s tip is to journal specifically on what you are reading about. Leaders gain results from reading when they take 5 to 10 minutes for free-writing on what the book content means to you and your leadership.

As educators we tout the critical importance of having students synthesize information, and this is one way that we do it that will yield great results. Don’t let the knowledge you gain go to waste. Ideas are fleeting; write them down and grow your own leadership ability exponentially. 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Today’s content was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout.