Reimagine? Imagine? What do these words mean?

As a leader, I heard the use of the word “reimage” by our technology department. They used this to describe their summer work. Each computer in our district would be “reimaged” with new software, updates, and clean-up to be ready for the new school year. So is this what people are talking about when they say they want to “reimagine” something?

I do not think we can “reimagine” without first “imagine.” Imagination is the beginning. When we “imagine,” we form a mental image of something or believe the unreal is authentic, like a ghost. My favorite is Casper, but the rest of my family enjoys all of that scary stuff!

Can you imagine? This phrase expresses a surprise or poses a question in a song to stretch your thinking in questioning what you believe. John Lennon is legendary for Imagine!

I can only imagine. What does this mean, besides one of my favorite songs by Mercy Me? It seems to be the lesson I am learning is imagination is the most important in creative thinking and spiritual hope.

Imagination is where creativity lives. Individuals who can imagine can create worlds for others to escape to as they work their wonders. Walt Disney World is my favorite example. Did you know employees are called “Imagineers”? These are the illustrators, architects, engineers, lighting designers, show writers, and graphics designers. These individuals create, work, and others help with construction and more work to make the magic. There is physical work to making imagination come true.

So to “reimagine” something, you have to imagine first. When you imagine, it does not become absolute until someone makes it, does the work, creates it, and it becomes something. None of this tells us if it is good, bad, better, horrible, or excellent. We just imagined it.

All of this talk can be so confusing for everyone trying to follow this jargon. Dressing language up to be something different does not make it different when the foundation is needed to begin.

Today I will imagine all of those who read my posts will help me in being the solution daily as we “reimagine” a world where we live together as one. Let’s work to make it happen!

Solutions

As an individual, a leader, or organization seeking solutions to problems or gaining answers to questions is a daily task. Can you think of how many times daily you seek to find a solution? It is not always the big items, it is often the little things we deal with when we add them together equal big results.

If we fail to handle the little issues they begin to gather together into a major issue. We can look at current events to see this transition. Let’s take a few from the headlines to see the trend.

  • Fires, homelessness and a growing crisis– Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2021
  • The surge in border apprehension in 2021, visualized-Washington Post, June 10, 2021
  • The Heightened Crisis of Childhood Trauma-U.S. News, June 10, 2021

These are just a few of the headlines I pulled, but the media does not always cover all of the issues we are facing accurately. In our local communities, we may have issues we need to address to avoid becoming bigger problems. The importance of open and clear communication with all stakeholders will provide the trust needed moving forward.

I often refer to having a strategic plan, improvement plan and committees focused on areas of need. This is not something I just talk about, I have done this work. It is critical to the success of the individuals you serve to work to address the barriers preventing them from growing with purpose. If we continue to do what we have always done growing will not happen, solving problems will not occur and solutions seldom solved or issues improved.

There are many resources to help guide you through the process. I am here to help as well! I have nothing to sell only to provide solutions daily to you.

  • Step one review your data
  • Determine your three priorities
  • Who needs to be part of your team?
  • Who are your stakeholders?

Once you understand where you are, you then need to determine where you want to go. The work begins with discovering the tools, resources, strategies, and procedures to get you to your destination.

Seek out guidance as you begin the journey to solutions as you develop your plan. Please remember, no matter your position all members of the team are working for the same results. Collaboration, responsibility, sharing, generating ideas, failure, and success are all part of the learning process to reach the success desired.

Focus on Improvement-Friday

When we think about the improvement process a vision of binders appears with bullet points, goals, documents, graphs, data, charts and the list goes on. Stop ⛔ Think about focusing on improving one day at a time. At the end of the day, reflect. Now, what can you do tomorrow to be better than today? Simplicity is the key to not overwhelming yourself or your team.

We do have to make those strategic plans and improvement plans to grow together. However, as leaders we want our teams, students, and colleagues to understand the importance of self-worth in the improvement process.

As we gather as a group the importance of modeling the team approach is critical to the success of your organization. All eyes are on you when you are before a group. The tones of your voice, word choices, body language, and facial expressions all send messages to others. The importance of our communication is not always in written form.

Have you been in a meeting or with a group and an individual says, “that was not my responsibility, I gave the information to everyone and it wasn’t me to do anything else with it?” Is this being part of the solution of part of the problem?

Do we not want our teams working together for the same mission and vision no matter the position they have? When we say this is not me or my responsibility and shift the blame, it sends a clear message to everyone on the team. What message? “I” is never part of a team. “I want to make it clear, I had no responsibility in this.” Wow, so you are not part of the team? Do you accept this from those who report to you? Do they accept that response from those who report to them?

When we are all working for a common purpose, it is the responsibility of all to make sure items, tasks, issues, and solutions are brought forward in a timely fashion. Validation of all who are working to help accomplish the goals established is successful.

If you are a teacher remind your students every day is a new opportunity. Tomorrow I will be better than today! Always find at least one thing to improve, one thing to be grateful for, and one goal. I like to say, “Three things to a better me! One day at a time!”

Thank you for being the solution daily as we humble ourselves to serve others. The needs we meet each day provide the solution for tomorrow.

Thursday Thoughts

I enjoy reading, learning, and always stretching myself to find solutions to share with others. Leadership is essential in supporting growth in every aspect of life. We want to grow in our personal life, faith, family, work, and community. I am sharing information from Bill Dodd and his insights. The resource for his post is below.

One of the important lessons I have gained in my journey is that of coaching. We need coaching! As individuals being open to coaching or “coachable” is critical for your growth. When you are the coach, you are still receiving coaching as you learn by doing. Having an open mind and heart will provide essential pieces to the puzzle of growth.

Chicago White Sox scout Kevin Burrell said, “Look for FAT people. Faithful – Available – Teachable.” He also added, “How one manages their ‘Time & Calendar’ will reflect the condition and priority of their heart.”-Bill Dodd, June 9,2021

When looking for coaches, players, teammates, or new employees with heart, look for SCRAPPY individuals.

SCRAPPY – Skill, Calling, Rejection, Attitude, Perseverance, Purposeful, Yearn to Learn.

  • Skill – The ability to perform with excellence. Even people with heart need to have talent. There was a reason Rudy never started a game for Notre Dame.
  • Calling – This is the thing inside you which proclaims, “This ONE thing I must do!!!” Mike Linch said, “It’s the core of me.” He also noted, “David conquered the giant of a disconnected heart.”
  • Rejection – Remember that time when someone said you weren’t good enough, that you didn’t measure up? Of course you do. This challenged your calling but you moved forward anyway. Rejection provided clarity. It stripped away all non-essentials. You worked even harder. It limited your choices and spurred work hard and creativity to find solutions.
  • Attitude – Attitude determines your altitude. A great attitude separates evenly matched people and closes the gap on those more talented than you. You have a great attitude because you can’t believe you get to do what you do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
  • Perseverance – Because your calling is so clear, you learn perseverance through difficult and trying times. You are willing to pay the price needed for your dream to become reality. You become mentally-strong and resilient.
  • Purposeful – Perseverance and resilience births a focused approach. Your life has meaning and direction. Because you have paid the price for success, there is a single-mindedness to it. As Coach Stroupe said, “Don’t compartmentalize. (Don’t say) I’m coaching now but will put my Christian hat on when I get off the field.”
  • Yearn To Learn – Scrappy people are continual learners. They are humble and seek out all the coaching, people, resources and information needed for success. You can’t stop them. They will always find a way. Continual learning helps ensure future success.

We all want people with “heart.” Here are the 7 things to look for when finding them.

@briankdodd

Wednesday Wonders…

The final school bell for 2021 has rung for most of our students. Students have their final report cards but do we wonder how all of our schools did? What about education?

  • How did all of the students across our nation do in 2021?
  • How did the schools and districts do for our students?

The importance of education is essential for all of our students as we grow. The expertise to help all children is available to us. It is not found in a particular program or a defined environment. The success is found in the expertise in the experience of all of those serving children.

  • It is the data and research collected to utilize in decision making
  • Identifying strategies and procedures that worked to focus on enhancing instruction
  • Having curiosity and willingness to continue learning to enhance the quality of offerings for students
  • A reminder kids are kids no matter where they live, the color of their skin, the challenges they face, or the disabilities. Each one can, will, and wants to learn.

The key to opening the door to expertise is sharing. Opening this door is the hardest thing for educators to do. We chase shiny objects as a quick fix, the grant dollars need us to spend money on programs, there is no time for this and the list continues.

Narratives dictate the focus of what education is focusing on. Society influences what is to be focused on in education instead of what is truly needed. Education needs to remember the priority of what they do. Our children deserve our focus on the foundation of their needs not the political agenda of the day. Education is not something to play around with but a critical piece of a child’s life and everyone’s future.

Be the solution by standing up for education! I wonder if people will begin to understand how important this is today. We have no time to waste! Speaking of time, my granddaughter shared with me how many of her friends cannot tell time. She says, “they really don’t teach time anymore.” Oh, she was just finishing 7th grade. Also, they don’t teach cursive writing, but we teach time and writing at home.

Change the glasses you are looking through for a moment and see the future. If we do not raise the bar on the quality of our education our nation will fall further behind others. Be the solution daily as we support education.

What wonders do you have about education? I have more, but what are yours? There are many other wonders for me in the world and we will continue to look at them.

Tuesday tasks, to-do lists-Goals

During my career, I had many opportunities to learn from others and evaluate my daily efforts. It was the work with the Wallace Foundation that helped to point out to me how you can take control of the day or let the day control you.

It is great to have a to-do list of things you want to accomplish each day. However, if you are going through the day trying to check off the tasks on your list, what are you truly accomplishing?

As I entered the administrative world, I wanted feedback on my efforts. I designed an evaluation to give to staff to perform on me. This evaluation would guide me in my growth as a leader. I conducted the same review every year of my career to keep consistency. I found this to be helpful. When the Wallace Foundation came in to help, we began to track my daily calendar and how my time was utilized each day. This allowed me to identify areas to improve. Very eye-opening in how my days were spent.

In order to accomplish your tasks at the same time you are focused on overall growth for staff and students, you have to have a strong system built to support your goals. If you do not have a system in place, the checking off of a list may be accomplished with no depth to lead to growth.

Question everything!

One of the best tools to add to your system is reflection lined with questions! At the end of each day, take the time to reflect on what was accomplished. Ask these reflection questions so you can use this data to establish your goals for the next day:

  • What worked well today?
  • What is one thing we could focus on to improve?
  • How will I do things differently tomorrow?
  • What is one new thing tried today?
  • What was something I learned today?

These reflective questions will help guide you in preparing others in reflective practices, learning plans, and engaging conversations of enrichment. We will stay in place if we never stretch ourselves to reach the next level. Setting the bar to check off tasks, you will fail not to set goals, but in the system, you did not embrace. I know this is credible by the work of the Wallace Foundation and the SAM’s project. https://www.wallacefoundation.org/principal-story/pages/sam-project.aspx

Good intentions, inspiration, motivation, and to-do lists are great things to have as you move forward. I still do all of those things; it is just who I am. However, it is the focused foundation of a system to provide the gain the growth you need from staff and students to see the success you work so hard to achieve.

Reach out if you need help with this coming school year. There are plenty of resources you can utilize for free or you can purchase from others to help you continue to grow. Thank you for being the solution daily.

Make it work!

Today is Monday so what do you do?

Life is changing and time is speeding up.

If you don’t get going, this day will turn into Tuesday!

Each day is a gift we unwrap each day.

This is a statement I always make.

It is what we do with the minutes that turn to hours, hours to days and days to a new week! Oh my!

All of those add up to help describe and define…..

“Make it work!” what a great line! But what does it mean? If the shoe fits, wear it? Another phrase used. Well, if the shoe does not fit, are you suppose to make it work? Could we say instead, “Make it work better!” Maybe we could change it to, “Make it count!”

I don’t know about you, but wearing shoes that do not fit is horrible, and I do not want to do that at all. I also do not want to, “Make it Work!” I believe we can come up with a better way to greet our Monday!

When I first joined education as a teaching assistant in the 90’s, I would greet everyone with: “Good morning, Welcome to Pine Crest Elementary.” I would get laughs, smiles, and giggles. What a great way to start any day! Monday seems to get the moans, groans, and ugh sounds. It is time to change Mondays into more! What if we started with:

“Let’s work better together as we make it count every day!” The choices we make today impact the lives of tomorrow and build the foundation for the future. Thank you for being the solution daily!

June books, summer reads and themes

Jon Gordon and Coach P.J. Fleck release a new book on June 9th titled Row the Boat. I can’t wait to read this book and design some thoughts to share with others. I have taken the following from Jon’s weekly newsletter to explain what lessons we will gain!

The Oar

  1. The oar is the symbol of strength. It’s the only thing that can take you from where you are to where you want to go. The great thing about the oar is you determine whether you put in the water or whether you take it out.
  2. If you don’t think you can, nobody will get you there. If you think you can, you can get around others who think you can… and then you can.
  3. There’s good things and hard things to get through. There’s no bad things. Only opportunistic situations.

The Boat

  1. The bigger your boat is the farther you can go. The more you give, and the more you serve, and the more you sacrifice the bigger your boat is going to get. Little boats sink in storms. Big boats float. Not only do they float, big boats take people farther.
  2. If you’re not willing to sacrifice for what you want, whoever is going to sacrifice more is going to get there. Someone who wants it more is going to pass you on the way to getting there.
  3. If you want to go far in life, make your life not about you. Make it about other people. Make it about serving and giving.

The Compass

  1. If you want to be extraordinary, you have to get around the extraordinary people. Who better to teach you about being extraordinary than the extraordinary.
  2. You can’t see the future but you row in the present. You can’t control the future but you can control aspects of the present.

Closing Thoughts

  1. The Row The Boat lifestyle is about never giving up and not allowing the circumstance to dictate your behavior.
  2. It’s finding a way to think optimistically about everything.
  3. Trained behavior becomes boring habits. Boring habits become elite instinct. The elite get to the elite instinct. The average stop in the boring habits because they lose interest.

I have my mind spinning with lots of ideas already! Jon is one of my favorite authors! I have utilized his books for themes to start school years and designed professional learning. Order your book now! I will be sharing my stories, and please share yours!