Tag: #culture

Do you know me?

How much do you know the students you teach? The families you serve? Your co-workers you see each day? How about your neighbors, community, or the agencies providing service to others?

I share with you my one word for the year commitment. I hope you have selected one or at least thinking about one you can focus on for 2022. In addition to the one word, I always like to select an action step to complete to help me enrich my life.

This is the one I did for my daughter. She has chickens, rooster, ducks, geese and so much more!

I started painting in 2021 and completed four paintings I gifted to others. I gave my first one to my husband and it hangs in our home. The second one I gave to my daughter and she has it displayed in her home. I am not sure about the other two I gave to my sister-in-law and friend. They all seemed to be so happy with the paintings and this made me feel good. So I am going to plan to paint one painting every month starting in January. It is a lofty goal but I am just going to make an effort to paint monthly. I have purchased the materials and I am ready to go.

So, what are ways you can get to know others and get to know your self at a deeper level? If you are working in an Educational setting I have the Artifact Bag activity I have done I am placing in the resource page of my website. This is a fun way to get to know each other. I am guessing it would work in other settings as well!

Getting to know you

  • Artifact Bag activity-Resource Page of Website
  • Pop Back from Break-Resource Page of Website
  • One on One Conversations
  • Inviting to share lunch
  • Sending a card to their home
  • Sending out a question of the day- “What do you like to_____” When you are able to gather some data you can begin to drop off some favorite things on a “Favorite Thing Day.”
  • Take a tour of the community to get to know all of the agencies
  • Knock on doors to introduce yourself to those in the community
  • Family, Friends and Food brings fun! (Hold special events)
  • Have places for people to always drop in information you can gain information to learn more about them.

Cultural Shock today

“Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture and way of life. It can be caused by a range of things, both big and small, such as unfamiliar greetings and hand gestures, strange food, and difficult language barriers.

This unfamiliarity can lead to symptoms such as confusion, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and homesickness. It can even lead to physical symptoms such as insomnia as a result of time zone changes, or colds and stomach bugs due to unfamiliar foods and bacteria.” https://www.now-health.com/en/blog/culture-shock-stages/

Can we find connections of culture shock with students returning to school with the global pandemic continuing? Don’t forget our educators too! Culture counts! More than any other factor or influence, the culture of your school or organization is the essential piece for success. However, if the culture is toxic or holds adverse effects, the overall performance declines.

In every school-virtual setting-organization, how staff communicates, relate, interact, react, and problem solve reflects how much they trust each other. When we add in questions of how they talk to each other, talk at each other, or talk about each other. Understanding this as a signal for action to help improve this area as a priority before tackling “culture shock.” Everyone has to know how to communicate to problem-solve and trust.

Think about the changes that have happened. The past two years have placed all of us in positions of complete transformation. Our cultures have changed, and now we have to adjust to the changes until the culture is settled. Let’s look at what has changed.

  • Blowing out candles on Birthday cake-not now
  • Shaking hands- not now
  • Sharing a seat-not now
  • Seeing a smile-not now
  • Gathering in a big crowd to celebrate-not now
  • Giving a hug-not now
  • What else is on your list?

Nothing has slowed down for us as we have tried to return. We still face many challenges as we face “culture shock” and look for ways our voice is part of the culture reset. Culture changes, as we have seen over the years of history. People make the culture; culture does not make the people. My final questions will be today are: Are you Alive, or do you Live? That answer will help you with this question: Can you deliver ideas or give thoughts to guide our culture?

Does Leadership help shape the culture?

Do you think leadership helps to shape the work culture?

Lead with authenticity! Stay true to your values, beliefs, and your philosophy. If you try to change to fit with those you are around, it will not work.

I believe education is something we do with children, not to them. To grow, we need to focus on solutions and shift how we think. Students are the leaders and will be leading the efforts of learning by knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and how to set goals. It is in the environment of the two rule schools; they establish their skills of self-regulation and problem-solving.

Leading through Culture

We hear many terms floating around and being fired at us from cancel culture, toxic culture to positive culture. There are social cultures and many more cultures to explore. As leaders, we mainly look at our organizational culture and how everyone involved with it feels, the beliefs they hold, values, and assumptions that provide the identity and set the standards of behavior.

Going along with the culture is the climate of the organization. The environment describes the shared perceptions of those individuals involved with the organization. How can we lead through an established culture?

Culture changes. “Cultures are of the people, by the people and for the people.”-Abraham Lincoln. As you step into a leadership role, you may have the opportunity to hire new positions. If you do, it is always important to remember to build on the kind of team you need to succeed.

Diversity is the strength of establishing a culture of acceptance of differences. If the team you build has everyone thinking alike and the same, the culture can become insipid. In a school culture, the essential ingredient is the passion for children, then a passion for teaching. If your culture does not have a passion, it is lifeless and has no direction.

Keys to Building

  • Ask those in leadership positions (holding titles) to provide you with the three top people in the building who have the influence and power to control the culture.
  • Use the three names you were provided to ask the same question to these individuals. Who do they believe are the most influential in the building?
  • After reviewing the results, do you have individuals who appeared several times? These top vote-getters are probably your true leaders regarding setting the tone for your culture.
  • Begin by removing the limited vision that may exist by establishing the belief the school can achieve higher and become the best.
  • Provide a commitment to staff of dedication
  • Establish open communication and active listening
  • Keep those identified as your leaders informed and establish relationships with these individuals
  • Be firm, consistent, and fair in how you maintain discipline

Working on culture is an approach for everyone to be an active participant. “ You add value to people when you value them.”-John C. Maxwell. “Treat them greatly, and they will show themselves to be great.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Set the example by rolling up your sleeves and pitching in to do the heavy lifting. There is nothing wrong with helping out with the duties to help the efforts of others to make your school rise to the level you expect it to be—a model for staff, students, and families. Step into classrooms to see if a teacher needs a break, copies, or any support. Help out in the lunchroom. Pick up chairs from the concert. Make your copies.

As you build the foundation of your culture, the glue to keep all of it together is trust. Without the trust in and from your staff, your leadership will not work. You earn trust. It takes time to be trusted. Once it is gained, maintain it and do everything to keep it. A loss of trust crumbles all that is built.

Work on building a culture daily. What do you want to be known as for a school? Can visitors feel the passion everyone has for teaching and learning when they walk in your doors? Do they see what you believe, value and mission? Just like the question asked in Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”-said Alice. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cheshire Cat. “I don’t much care where—” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cheshire Cat

Know the direction you want to go, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and always remember it is the team working together that reaches the best results.

It takes Wisdom, Wit and Essential Skills to Lead

Leaders are essential to organizations now more than at any other time. The skills needed for leaders to help staff and students grow include: Organizing Cultivating Motivating Empowerment Encouragement Vision Commitment Dedication Balance Trust Collaborative Influence Inspiration Courage There are several more you could add … Continue reading It takes Wisdom, Wit and Essential Skills to Lead

Measuring Meaningfulness

I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.

One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health

Maybe you don’t want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?

Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.

Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.


Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher

Cultivating Healthy Ambition

Ambition is an essential element to an organization and individual. Ambition begins with understanding the desires, aspirations, and goals you have for yourself and your team. What exactly are your desired outcomes for yourself and those of your team?

Knowing and understanding how far to reach is key to harnessing healthy ambition. Setting goals that require just the right level of difficulty push and struggle helps ensure to reach beyond your current abilities. Suppose the challenge is too great; a risk of giving up or becoming discouraged when target goals fall short happens. If the challenge isn’t significant enough, a risk of disconnecting, not being engaged, and never reaching the levels of total performance is accomplished.

I worked with a young ambitious leader who was very talented. His desire to accomplish was greater than the skill levels of himself and his team. They pushed full steam ahead, but lacked the ability to sustain all of the components of their plans. Piles of data was collected, but being able to utilize it wisely with a targeted purpose was missing. They could accomplish some small wins, but the frustration levels grew with trying to maintain the action plans. Creating the action plans was difficult to establish because the data seemed to become outdated by the time they reviewed it together. It became overwhelming with the stacks of data collected.

There is more to accomplish than performance with ambition. We need to think about growth, achievement, sustainable and solution-focused ambitions. Each of these requires more in-depth conversations we can continue in future blog posts. We need a balance for ambition to find the formula for success. In the meantime, ponder these questions with your purpose of performance:

Questions for Focus

  • What are our current performance goals?
  • What goals can you reach with your efforts?
  • What goals can you help guide your team in accomplishing?
  • How can the efforts of “all” work together to accomplish the goals?
  • Do the goals need to be prioritized?
  • Have you assigned timelines, responsibilities, tasks, or other ways to accomplish them?
  • What do I wish was different today?
  • What frustrates me the most?
  • Have I asked the team any of these questions?
  • Do I listen to the team, data and information?

When we work only on performance ambition, our teams may look to us in different ways. If our goals seem unattainable, they will look at us as being “unrealistic.” Maybe you have set too many or too high of goals. The team believes you are setting them up for failure.

What if you do not take any risks and have too few of goals? The team thinks you do not believe in them, you are not a risk-taker and you have low expectations.

We do not want to lose our sense of purpose. Our team must believe in the goals, values, and beliefs we establish. It is essential to keep a check on the level of ambition we have and to maintain high sustainable energy to develop the accomplishments we want to achieve.

Hook, line and sinker

Do not spread false reports. Exodus 23:1

The coach spots a little boy in the stands with a glove waiting to catch a baseball. The coach decides he will toss a ball to the little boy. Then suddenly, a man swoops in and catches the ball. Cameras snap the picture; video cameras record the moment, and the story goes viral.

Everyone could not believe what this man did to get this ball. He took a baseball meant for a little ball for himself. The pictures and video were shared with comments about this man. How could he take this ball away from this little boy?

As these video clips were shared, no one ever thought to ensure all the information was factual. Everyone could see he jumped in front of the boy and caught the ball. Case closed!

Except viewers watching the clip and the live scene didn’t know the whole story. Earlier in the game, the man had helped the young boy snag a foul ball. They agreed to share any additional balls that would come their way. Unfortunately for the man, it took twenty-four hours before the actual story emerged. The media mob and citizens had already done their damage, demonizing an innocent man.

The world we live in today deals with fragments of information and twists it to meet the narrative they try to push. Facts seem to be few and far between as you try to listen to any media source. The baseball story is factual from 2018 a Chicago Cubs game. This is one example of thousands; I am sure of people who have been judged with fragments of information.

Hook, line, and sinker, we take fragments of information as the whole truth. The evidence is clear before us daily. We must do everything possible to confirm the truth before leveling accusations and going along with the beliefs. We need complete facts making sure not to participate in lies. We should be cautious whenever passions ignite and waves of judgment swell. We want to safeguard ourselves from “following the crowd in doing wrong” In this “gotcha” “cancel culture” time, we see more and more divisions than unity.

Please take the time to look at the bait on the “hook.” Is it fragments or complete? Use the “line” to trace the sources of the story and research the evidence. Is this a “sinker” to bring down someone or everyone? Don’t just swallow it hook, line and sinker! We have ways to help us rise above together, to overcome any hardships, and to float to the top! Be the solution daily in an ocean full of sinkers! Rise up!

Critical piece

"The miracle is not that we do the work, but that we are happy to do it.”-Mother Teresa

Leaders provide lots of information, data, strategies, and models for success. As a leader, you have attended workshops, webinars, read books, and researched all of the knowledge of “what works” to achieve success. Still, after all of this, you scratch your head when you see the data come in with results you think should reflect better outcomes.

Why? All of these efforts and the same results. How can we explain this? “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.”-Craig Groeschel. Training, strategies, looking at data, and utilizing models proven to be successful should help us see growth and positive outcomes.

“You cannot solve a problem at the same level it was created.”-Albert Einstein. It is finding solutions to problems or issues we face that are complex at times. It isn’t that all of the things I listed are not necessary, but what is missing that is critical to ensure positive results?

It is a culture with a clearly defined mission, vision, and values. Leaders can explain the purpose of the organization in one sentence. Meetings, conversations, and communications refer to the mission, vision, and values frequently. Decisions are based on these as well. However, is it talking points and papers in a binder?

Ask these questions to reveal the answers to help guide in the understanding of the culture you have, what you should have and cannot have to thrive.

Culture Questions

  • Does your team enjoy being together?
  • How do staff interact together?
  • Do you have a process for the continuous development of staff?
  • How do staff feel about their job?
  • Do leaders model and encourage self-awareness and intentional personal development?
  • Are you able to have open discussions about the work environment?
  • Do you handle conflict?
  • How do you monitor or know about the culture?
  • Do you trust one another?

“When we have to protect ourselves from each other, the whole organization suffers. But when trust and cooperation thrive internally, we pull together, and the organization grows stronger as a result.”

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek pg. 16

If you have ever tried to work in a toxic culture, you know first hand it is exhausting, and nothing can be accomplished. When individuals feel safe, comfortable with their team, and valued by everyone, they are inspired. We want to have these kinds of cultures as individuals love what they do, where they do it, and most importantly, “why” they do it.