Category: Coaching

Fast Forward-Leadership Skills Needed

As we have witnessed in the past three years, leaders have shifted to rapidly respond, react and realign approaches to meet the needs of change. Change is not something new to leaders, but a change at this level of magnitude left leaders scrambling. We have not seen this level of change happen at his rapid domino pace.

What do we need from leaders based on the experiences from the past three years to prepare for our future? How can we be readily prepared for rapid changes? Can we give this some thought and reflect on what we have learned as we move forward?

Looking at, listening, and reading about companies, schools, and government issues, a great deal of work is needed to develop systems, procedures, and protocols. Many of the links in our chains did not seem to connect to meet the needs of those they served. Gaps were noticed, service was interrupted, and a clear need for improvements.

What skills do leaders need?

  • Emotional and social intelligence: As we have learned, we have to navigate through and out of disruption and change at a rapid pace. Leaders need to be self-aware and be “team” aware regarding building emotional and social intelligence. “Social skills drive human innovation and knowledge.”-Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0, (Greaves, Watkins)
  • Technology savvy: A leader does not need to know all aspects of technology, but they need to be able to utilize technology. Technology is critical in a world growing faster today than yesterday. Being digitally fluent and present in the technological world will be the key to unlocking the doors to communication, innovation, and creativity.
  • Communication: This skill is changing the most as we move forward. Leaders need to be exceptional communicators to cut through the noise of the world to be heard, but at the same time listen to what is not being said. As we work with others, we need to listen more to what is not said, what is said and do more than hear. Communication is an action step to take.
  • Solution-Focused: It is easy to point out problems but not as easy to point out solutions. Having a Solution-Focused mindset allows leaders to look at all possibilities in decision-making. Keeping up with trends, looking at the future, exploring options, and always seeking to find better ways keeps everyone moving forward.
  • Coaching abilities: Leaders need to have the skills to help build up those they work with and to help them continue to grow. We need leaders who know how to appreciate, support, encourage, engage and develop others. One glove does not fit all and we need to approach our leadership with getting to know our staff. What are the needs each individual has, and what are their strengths? Praise them for their efforts and help them with what they want to improve.
  • Authenticity: As we deal with change, we cannot change. What is meant by my statement? As a leader you must have a solid foundation you stand on with core values and beliefs. When the world is yelling louder, you cannot yell too! You have to be the calm in the sea of waves. If you are not consistent in what you are saying, stand for your beliefs and values, then those who follow you will begin to question you. When high waves come crashing in, they want you to be the calm to quiet the sea. Being true to who you are, demonstrates integrity, trust, and consistency.

Turning Gears into Action

One of my first posts was about gears. I made this reference as it was part of the original writing in my book. I did not know everything I needed to know about publishing a book. So even though my gears were turning, I did not have all of the ones I needed to move forward successfully. A rewrite was done, and it will be coming out soon I hope.

The goal I have is to help other leaders in their journeys of success. I will share all of my information, ideas, practices, actions, and everything I have with those who want to continue to be the solution daily for those they serve. Today I want to revisit the thought of gears as you begin to develop an action plan to address your planned improvements.

I utilized my conversations with my husband to talk about the motors he worked on for companies and local farmers, as they compare to the work in education. The importance of these motors for the work being done is critical to the whole process. If one gear is not working, damage can happen, and work is stopped. A farmers’ work depends on the weather conditions; it is critical to get back to work when the weather is good. In education, we weather all of the storms that come our way.

In our educational system, we have gears as well that are critical to the work we do. I divided the gears into the following:

  • Leadership
  • Instruction
  • Curriculum
  • Assessments
  • Professional Learning/Collaboration
  • Culture/Climate
  • Communication
  • Community/Partnerships
  • Systems/Program Evaluation

Gears are connected to a shaft. This cylinder shaped piece of rotating machine element, is used to transmit power from one part to another, or from a machine which produces power to a machine which absorbs power. Compare this to your organization.

Gears are the identified areas of focus. Our focused areas are those in need of attention to produce the successful energy we need. Often my husband has spent time completing a rewind of motors because they have burnt up and need an overhaul. Sometimes they are beyond repair and are scrapped out. New motors are purchased if it is cheaper to do this than to fix the motor.

In education, it seems at times we have situations or things that are beyond repair. However, we cannot scrap them out and purchase new things. We have to make adjustments to try to make it work. I can think of textbooks, programs and curriculum. We spend a great deal of money, time, and energy in the selection of these materials. Our budgets do not allow us to throw things out. However, when new shiny things are the buzz, we through out and turn our attention to the new. Examples could be: Whole Language, Touch Math, Cursive Writing, Phonics, Sight Words and more.

We intend that we will produce enough energy our students will absorb the learning. However, it is not the energy from the materials and tools but those teaching our students producing the energy. It is when our students are engaged and have ownership in their learning the energy sparks.

The shaft is our mission as a foundation. It is what we are doing defined by our vision. Our vision is inspirational and connects emotionally with what we do. A well-oiled, lubricated, or greased machine keeps it turning. This is our values and beliefs. Working together and turning in the right direction is fueled by families, communities, and stakeholders. We have focused leaders, collaborating staff, engaged families, supportive community, and stakeholders, producing achieving students as outcomes are the results.

As you begin your work, identify your focus areas. Which gears do you have in your plan? What do you think at first glance needs your attention first? Be careful not to burn out all of your bags and destroy your shaft. Some things are not repairable, and we do not have enough time to repair them all. We cannot afford to throw anything out.

Counting on you to be the solution for those you serve today as they will serve tomorrow!

Decision Making takes skills

Driving can be so peaceful in the country—so many beautiful things to look at. What is that in the road? A rabbit! It better move. It is in the way. A decision, a choice must be made before it is too late.

The rabbit has made it more than halfway across the road to the other side. Just keep going. My car is almost there. Then a quick turn and my foot on the brake, the rabbit went back from where he left. Who saw that coming? What kind of decision was that?

Making decisions takes a great deal of skill. Leaders are faced with high pressure, deadlines, complex situations, unexpected circumstances, and the unbelievable at times. To make decisions, a strategy supported by skills is a need and quality for every leader.

Tips for making decisions

  • Take a breath of fresh air, and don’t let the stress get to you! Emotions should not be part of decision-making.
  • Time! If you do not have to respond immediately, wait!
  • Focus on solutions. Weigh the pros and cons.
  • Review goals and values. Compare solutions to these.
  • Consider all possibilities.
  • Talk, discuss, and question.
  • Rethink your options.
  • Make your decision.

The more you practice quality strategies in making decisions, the better you become at decision making. It doesn’t always work out that you have the time to go through all of the tips, but if you are solid in your beliefs, goals, and values, the more straightforward it becomes.

Strategies for Decison Making

  • What is your decision?
  • What information have you gathered to support it?
  • What are alternatives that could be utilized?
  • What evidence do you have to support your decision?
  • How does the decision you propose compare to alternatives?
  • Now apply your decision with action steps
  • Finally, analyze the decision

Decisions are best made when you can take the time with your team to present several different ideas to look at all views. There are times when as the leader, you have to make snap decisions. In the case of the rabbit, making a snap decision was based on the actions of others. The rabbit was in control of the situation. The decision was made, steps were taken, and the rabbit made it to the other side of the road.

How do you make decisions? Do you provide opportunities for others to be involved? Do you find it easy or difficult when making decisions?

Looking forward to more discussions on decision-making as we move forward in our leadership. Thank you for being part of the solution daily.

How do you prepare for the day?

You will not find alarm clocks at our house. We naturally wake up early every morning before it is time to be up. I believe there are days we beat the birds! They still get the worms, though!

The first thing is to make the coffee! This is the essential first step to the day! I complete my daily devotions that come from several different books. This is always the best way to start my day.

When you have the chance to center yourself, start fresh, and have a positive mindset, you know you are on the right path for success. I feel great as the day begins, and then sometimes, challenges come I did not expect. It can be a struggle! Then I read my newfound friend’s blog post and thought, Wow!

Dan Rockwell was one of the individuals I met through Weaving Influence. My friend Becky told me to follow him for great advice and ideas. He is the “Leadershipfreak.” I have included his fantastic blog post! He has started a new way to help prepare for any challenge he may face, but I will not try. Let me know if you do.

Preparing for your day is great advice! Make sure you are also preparing those around you just in case you are not there! Enjoy the wisdom from “leadership freak!” He has great stuff to help you! Dive in to face things that challenge you, but show them how tough you are!

https://leadershipfreak.blog/2021/07/12/confidence-proof-you-can-face-any-challenge/

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

Building Core Values

Organizations are made up of individuals. Individuals within every organization and workplace come with a set of values. However, as we join together to accomplish a mission, core values must become the foundation of the practices we use every day to perform our work and conduct ourselves.

We have lists of values and beliefs in our ever-changing world. There are a few core values that are constant and always remain. I believe this to be what keeps a democracy going and a society functioning. Looking around at the world in which we live, core values and beliefs have to remain.

Often when we think of core values for individuals, it is reflected in the character traits they display. We describe individuals using character trait descriptions like; loving, friendly, patient, and fair.

The importance of knowing what your core values are is essential. What is important to you? When an organization looks at its core values, it is critical to examine what core values describe your organization. As I began, you can list hundreds, but focusing on a few core values maintains a focus to ensure quality.

Creating core values for the organization should be unique, non-negotiable, and created together. One resource as an example is included in this link:

https://builtin.com/company-culture/company-core-values-examples

One issue I have seen in our community is a news station reporting on a traumatic event in the community. The news station reported in a biased way, according to the outcry in the community. Then advertisers with the news station responded with public statements and withdrawing their advertising. Understanding the role you play in your community is a crucial factor when making decisions that will directly impact them. I did not see the news segment or know much about the details of the incident, so I can only comment on reactions that have been shared. The news station has apologized for their actions, but I believe they continue to feel the pain of one decision.

Our society right now is in a fragile state. Knowing your core values and standing on them as a foundation is essential. If you have none, then you will fall for anything. We need strong advocates for the core values of the foundation built to stand on.

Make a list of the core values you have. Do they match what you are doing? How can you help improve the quality of value in what you do? Does your organization have a set of core values? Do you know them? Why/Why not?

Society works for all when we all work together with the core values we stand on Freedom, Integrity, Respect, Justice, Diversity, and Truth. There are depths to each of these words, and you could add more. As a nation, community, organization, and individuals, we need to look at core values. It is time to be the solution daily! Children depend on us to build a solid foundation to stand on, not one that can fall at any time.

Life is short….but the week seems long

As the sun rises and shines brightly to wake us to a new day or as we reach to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock, it is Monday! A workweek begins as the weekend is behind us now!

Where does the time go? Just like that, Friday turns to Monday. We get 168 hours every week. For most of us, we spend 40 hours of that time at work. So what do we do with the rest of the time? How much is spent watching TV? How much time do you spend on your phone, computer, or any other devices?

Take a look this week at the time you spend on activities. How do you want to improve? Make this Monday a day where you decide to invest your time wisely. You can track your screen time, maintain a calendar to highlight how you are spending time. Do you want to have more personal contact with others? Make a goal and track it.

Time is a gift with no return. Once the minute has passed, we can not get it back. No one can give you more time, but people can share time. Could you make the most of the time we have? It seems we are creating problems with no solutions, fighting about so much, and forgetting about gratitude. We have so much we can do with our time. Being the solution daily with a positive focus of hope, love, and gratitude seems to work the best for me.

Fundamental Friday

In our lives we have fundamental things, activities and principles that are important to us. We can believe strongly in some as an essential part of who we are or part of our purpose of being.

People seeking meaning beyond themselves seem to be happier, healthier, and live longer. I have no data to confirm that statement, only my observations. I like to think of myself in the category of seeking meaning beyond myself and in service to others. I am happy; I have had some health issues, but I am in remission, which has been a big positive. I have also had some near misses to death resulting in living longer. According to my formula, it works!

The fundamental definition is – serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function. Looking at the four pillars of the fundamental parts to our life is : Happiness, Self-Care, Relationships and Health

Take out a calculator and do this quick math calculation. This is “life math.” -Guide to Unlocking the Power of Purpose by Richard Leider

  • Multiply your age x365__________.
  • Then, subtract that number from 30,000, an average life expectancy.
  • Divide that number by 365_______
  • Now you are clear that you have _____more years to live. What will you do?

I know you have heard me say before, but I will repeat it: “Every day is a gift full of opportunities to unwrap.” I repeat phrases and words a great deal. I believe it is important in order to help reinforce the ideas to those you are serving, coaching and modeling for each day. My staff called them “Yohoisims.”

  • “Make it a great day or not the choice is yours to make”
  • “It is what it is, so it will be”
  • “We don’t know what we don’t know, do we”
  • “You have one foot on the outside and mine on your backside if you do not make some positive changes.”
  • “Do you know why you are tired? You bark all day.”
  • Many others to share but enough of the Yoho for today.

Look at your four fundamental areas and decide what improvements you can make. The following years of your life should fundamentally be full of “FUN” “DAily”/ “MENTAL” “Learning”/ “Yourself”-focusing on happiness, self-care, relationships, and health.

Let’s Debate

Do we see debates over issues? A debate is a discussion of opposing sides of a specific topic, subject, or issue. An example would be a discussion of the pros and cons of reopening schools after Covid-19. I think I have seen some…. At least they resemble debates.

We most likely would see debates in our legislative branches of government. Have you witnessed debates? I have listened carefully since engaging in researching this topic. We are looking for specific elements in each person pleading their reasoning for their point.

I believe one of the critical skills and elements needed to help children succeed in the future is being able to have essential conversations to debate their points successfully.

The emphasis on teaching children how to protest is misdirected, in my opinion. A focus on how to convince others of the position they have by making points grounded in evidence of value is where the teaching should be focused. Critical thinking skills, knowledge, and strong communication skills will serve all of us in the future with positive outcomes.

Hugo Mercier, in the following TED-Ed clip, explains how an argument can be more convincing when it contains these elements:

  • A good knowledge of your audience you are speaking to.
  • What are the beliefs of the audience?
  • Who and what the audience trusts?
  • What are the values of the audience?

These elements seem like a simple recipe for success. Understanding the audience’s beliefs, trusted sources, and values of others are not always easy for us. As we face an issue, problem or challenge, we do not go first to what we have learned about our audience; instead, we go to our own.

A recipe for success in facing a problem in need of solutions is always to listen first. We hear with more than our ears. To meet issues with debate, reasoning, and convincing rebuttals, we need to embrace all views. Our minds must be open to debate to appreciate and comprehend points different than our set of facts. We have to accept others’ points made convincingly as right and concede when our points are proven wrong.

Every voice has the right to be heard. Actions speak louder than words is often a statement made in high-tempered issues. These actions in no way have ever meant to cause suffering on others, violence, or prevent others from the freedoms granted in this country. Actions moved by the words of others should be in having positive outcomes in the efforts of change. An example would be:

“Today, the sun begins to rise for a new day. It is a chance for each of us to show a new way. To bring to the surface more issues to praise. The life we live changes with every season. Unexpected issues, diseases, challenges, and problems come with no reason. It is our actions, words, and true messages we send out that conveys-The point we try to make.”~Brenda Yoho

Please watch the TED link shared. It is an excellent segment to view. You can find more features to consider as you lead changes and growth in your field. Today is a great day to learn, reflect and lead. Thank you for being part of the solution daily!