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: Building Your Winning Team — #ReviewandReflect

Review and Reflect: Building Your Winning Team — #ReviewandReflect

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.

BrandED by Eric Sheninger & Trish Rubin 

The Power of Branding by Sony Sinanis & Joseph Sanfelippo

Building A Winning Team by Joseph Jones, Salome Thomas-EL, & T.J. Vari

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

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.

One Thing Series: Telling Your Story with Joe Sanfelippo — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Telling Your Story with Joe Sanfelippo — #onethingseries

 

 “People won’t change the way they talk about schools until we change the way we talk about schools.

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.   

Joe co-authored The Power of Branding-Telling Your School’s Story, Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age, and Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students and Parents Love. He was selected as 1 of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader in 2016 by the US Department of Education. He attended summits at the White House for both distinctions. Education Dive named Joe 1 of 5 K-12 administrators to watch in 2018 and their National Superintendent of the Year in 2019. He has been a featured speaker in multiple states in the areas of Advancing the Use of Social Media for School Leaders, Telling Your School Story, Creating a Culture of Yes, and Personalized Professional Growth for Staff.  

 

Key Thoughts from the Interview:

  • “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. 

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.

 

Tell Your School’s Story — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Tell Your School’s Story — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

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

3 Books You Need to Read to Build Your Winning Team — #readthisseries

3 Books You Need to Read to Build Your Winning Team — #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 a winning team–branding, recruiting, and selecting top talent. 

BrandED by Eric Sheninger & Trish Rubin 

The Power of Branding by Sony Sinanis & Joseph Sanfelippo

Building A Winning Team by Joseph Jones, Salome Thomas-EL, & T.J. Vari

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. 

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. 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. 

Building Your Winning Team — #SH302

Building Your Winning Team — #SH302

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. 

Branding

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. 

Recruiting 

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. 

Selecting 

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. 

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.