Helping to find solutions daily for those in leadership, education and seeking to serve others. Providing motivation, encouragement and inspiration daily as we all seek to be the solution daily for all.
For many decades I have been involved with implementing a strategic plan, creating a plan, asking if we have a plan, writing a plan, and then watching plans sit on a shelf. My author friend and leader, Dr. Bill Donahue, knows how to conduct and implement a strategic plan. He shares in his recent post in Lead Change Carnival; Beyond Strategic Planning, exactly what questions we should ask when planning.
I am reminded of Alice in Wonderland when I think about making plans. Before you make a plan, don’t you need to have an idea of the direction you are going?
It seemed in education when it came time to develop an improvement plan or a district strategic plan, it was more about getting the task completed than digging in more profoundly to solve issues.
Hey, take down that improvement plan from the shelf, blow off the dust and let’s see if we can change the dates and turn it in.
Let’s hope this is not how it works in the school districts or buildings, but maybe in a few. Many levers are not being utilized as we work to make improvements, and now, with this pandemic, we have added additional levers.
Dr. Bill Donahue makes some incredible points to ponder. How are you planning? Step inside his post to discover thoughts.
One of my amazing author friends, speaker, Thought Leader, Julie Winkle Giulioni, shares the importance of two words. The simplicity of two reaches out more than just in rules. When we look at our issues or problems in life, solutions at the surface level may be a quick fix, but an in-depth review and detailed information provide systemic results. Learn more about how you can engage in conversations to spark curiosity, innovation, and….if you pause to ask, ‘say more.’
Being a leader in 2022 is the same, different, or we don’t know? Do the qualities and skills need to be the same? What are your thoughts? Do we need different leadership qualities? What is the most important quality for a leader? Why?
I believe a job title does not define leadership. Leadership is part of our lives at different stages and areas. We provide opportunities for children to explore, experience, and engage in leadership. We have many lists of characteristics and qualities created over many decades to identify excellent leaders. Has leadership changed? Do the qualities change? How can we help children grow to become great leaders?
We need your help! Tell us what qualities do great leaders need.
Do you ever find yourself questioning? How could this happen? I do not understand. What I am seeing, hearing, it can’t be…… There are many things we are experiencing right now we cannot understand, but let’s work on breaking down how we handle situations or information we think it can’t be!
Fear is our most powerful emotion. Fear causes psychological changes, which result in behavioral responses. We have heard of fight or flight responding to situations we want to escape, like threatening conditions or danger. Our fear can produce additional anxiety, and conditional fear as society or the environment influences our feelings towards something. We have seen fear used to control others for decades.
What have you experienced in life, and fear took over your thinking? My example would be receiving a phone call from my doctor to deliver my biopsy results. I have had several biopsies done before, so I had no fear of the phone call. Then he began to deliver the news I was not prepared to hear. I am thankful my husband was with me to listen to what I said; it can’t be.
When we understand the fear we have is something we need to face, we have several choices to make in how to respond to overcome fear. We also must make sure the fear we have is genuine. In a society full of ways to reach out to us 24/7, understanding all facts is our best defense and offense.
Identify reliable sources to gather information
Take time to calm, reflect and regain stability before moving forward
Facing the fears you have is always a great way to overcome
Organize a support system; you need help from others
Talk about it with trusted support members
Get plenty of sleep, nutrition, and exercise
Connect for spiritual guidance
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
I understand how……
I understand how it can’t be, but it is, and the way we can handle all situations we face. It is acceptable to experience temporary fear in situations, and in some cases, our fears are prompted by social pressure. I have heard the coined phrases of “groupthink” and influences from social media. It is in how our mindsets focus on handling the information we see, hear and understand.
My mindset is focused on solutions and always wanting to “fix” everything in life. However, the “fix” everything is not always possible. The solution often lies in how we react, respond and responsibly handle the situations we face. Cancer humbles everyone. Covid-19 seems to bring an array of responses from individuals. Combine both, and you may receive a reaction of panic. However, the response from me was, “It can’t be.” This prompted my thoughts on how we react to situations we do not expect.
Steps to take
Acceptance- One of the first things we need to understand is there will always be things we can control and something we cannot. We need to accept what we can do in our situations.
Educate- Gather all of the information about the situation.
Determine Goals- Set goals to achieve “wins” in the situation. A complete win over the problem may not be possible, but little success can be achieved.
Lessons- Understand in life, we experience different hardships at times. Knowing in each experience, we have opportunities to gain knowledge to share with others.
Positive Growth Mindset- Maintaining a positive mindset and surrounding yourself with positivity will keep growing as part of your life.
Be part of the solution by being a “Thought Leader.” Think your thoughts, be in charge of your destination with the choices you make and the reactions you have to situations beyond your control. Faith, hope, and pray as you practice self-care to keep you ready for all of life’s it can’t be!
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Reasons to join
Finding solutions for issues we face
Connecting with others as we pose questions
Gaining ideas for ways to engage others
Plans for implementation for improvements
Techniques to use in problem-solving sessions
Strategies to utilize to form a positive culture
Communication skills, templates to use, and other tools
Organizing to focus structured time
Qualities of leaders
Questioning strategy and tips
Social-Emotional learning information, skills, and activities
Understanding issues facing education, how to find solutions
Building relationships with families, students, and community
Establishing professional learning and resources
Resources, information to help with Poverty
Providing guides, resources, research, and knowledge on issues facing education and society like Equity, social awareness, bullying, violence, emotions, and more
What is our Why? How do we self-care? Do we reflect, renew and recharge?
How to have Acceptance, forgiveness, and transformation?
This cannot be the last reason because there are so many more opportunities to be part of the solution daily. So with this reason 22, join because “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
In order to lead others, you have to know what kind of leader you are. I have written about this before, but it is essential to review and reflect continually. You also need to know who you are leading!
Do you realize you are leading even when you think you are not? Everyone watches you in your dress, your speech, your body language, and your actions. It is true! You think you can run out to the store to grab some milk to finish making those pancakes when a parent and student spot you. You have old boots, jogging pants, an old sweatshirt, no makeup, and hair in a ponytail because you just got up. It never fails to happen!
As a coach, the first thing I ask you is to tell me what kind of leader you are. This is so we can build from this point. The next step is to talk about how you model the leader you are for others. Our final step will be to ask more reflective questions to dive deeper for more insight.
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”
A leader who leads others to success knows who they are as a leader. Understanding who you are as a leader provides the ability to have authentic tools to develop and inspire those you lead—enhancing the skill levels of others by guiding them with feedback, gentle reminders, and sometimes harsh realities.
We can gain a great deal from the quote I selected. The use of “his leadership” indicates the challenges females have had and, I believe, still do to a degree in the acceptance into leadership positions. If we add in race with gender, we can reveal even more statistics of challenges leaders face.
The uphill climb in leadership continues to separate good leaders from extraordinary leaders. There are many tools to utilize in the journey from “Good to Great” as Jim Collins writes about successful companies with extraordinary leadership.
Strategies for Leading Others
Establish a vision
Define a clear mission
Identify core values and beliefs
Ask questions instead of providing the answers
Engage in dialogue, conversations, debate, and not one-sided threats or coercion
Build on strengths and weaknesses
Informed by data- simplified, targeted, unbiased and cannot be ignored
Disciplined action steps with accountability and responsibility
Expectations are modeled, addressing issues promptly of unacceptable behaviors
Shared responsibility to build on momentum and to have individuals in the right places to engage in moving forward
Accepting and admitting when mistakes happen. This is part of the learning process.
Quick fixes and instant results are not a formula you will find for successful sustainable development. Just like diets, it is a change in “how” we live day-to-day. Habits and mindsets are part of the process of change when we look at leading others.
It takes patience, practice, precision, and purpose. Our passion drives our purpose, and the rest comes as we establish our goals. Make sure not to set the bar too high or too low. You want the goals to be attainable, and you want to have some short-term wins.
Leadership is not a title or position; it is an individual guiding others to a destination, to achieve a goal, or to accomplish the understanding of purpose in serving others. Let’s be the positive leaders to light the way to a brighter tomorrow.
Teaching together in a school can be great, or it can be a very challenging situation. Teacher collaboration occurs when members of a learning community work together to increase student learning and achievement. What happens when you have a few who do not want to go along with the team? There could be a few staff members who do not believe the children you serve can learn or improve.
If our ultimate destination as educators is student achievement, think of teacher collaboration as the journey. Collaboration is not a task to complete then move on; it’s an ever-changing and ongoing process. As a positive team member, it is your responsibility to help overcome those barriers in the journey to prevent student achievement from happening. Toxic cultures and climates impact student learning when teachers are not teaching together.
“Students will learn more and be more successful in an environment where all educators believe they can learn at high levels, and those educators work together to convince the students that they can achieve lofty academic goals teachers set for them.”-Transforming School Culture (pg.25) by Anthony Muhammad
Building a collaborative culture and a strong collaboration takes commitment to develop over time. The benefits are clear from these practices and beliefs. Authentic, collaborative communities address common issues, shared goals, school-wide initiatives, deeper teacher learning, and results in student achievement.
Strategies to build teacher collaboration
Create shared vision and goals
Identify group norms
Build a sense of community
Working as a collaborative team with a common purpose supports all in the process. Choose to be the solution daily by designing climates and cultures for all learners.
Which comes first, wisdom or knowledge? Wisdom is built on knowledge. So does that mean you can be both wise and knowledgeable? Then you can’t be wise without being knowledgeable. What do you think? Is it the same as an egg before chicken or the chicken before an egg?
Knowledge is knowing about something. I have knowledge of the food in my garden and what grows on my trees. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge I have. In addition, how to use it in context. Like this old example: knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad. However, some people would say this is common sense.
I believe knowledge is gathered from learning and education. The more knowledge you gain about a subject area you can be identified as an expert in the area. Just because you have knowledge, it does not make you wise. When you have knowledge, you can make decisions with clarity of facts and truths.
In order for individuals to gain wisdom, it must be gathered from day-to-day experiences and is a state of being wise. Wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life from the individual’s knowledge and experience.
Wisdom is a virtue. Is that a true statement? Wisdom can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things, reflecting on the process, analyzing, testing your knowledge and having a growth mindset has the ability to gain wisdom. In this process one should have knowledge first in order to become wise.
How do you compare knowledge and wisdom? Do you know individuals who are wise?
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.
If you are a parent, you may have given the chore of taking out the garbage to one of your children. Maybe it is your partner’s responsibility or yours alone. No matter who is responsible, I think we can all agree it stinks!
Have you ever considered we accumulate garbage in other places? I am not referring to the piles of stuff gathered in the garage, basement, attic, or closet! I am talking about your mind. We collect lots of mental garbage gradually over time, making the most optimistic individual question. Our messy mental collection begins to clutter our minds with negative thoughts, irrational thoughts, unreasonable ideas, and unhelpful solutions. Before we know it, our minds can be compared to the landfill our regular garbage collectively goes.
How can we sort this out? Anything worth recycling? What about renewing and reuse? Our minds need to be added to our chore list before our thinking turns from healthy to sloppy! It’s time to talk to someone you can trust to recycle your thoughts into positives! I always start with God.
“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
My daughter is an excellent special education teacher. I am her mother, so you know I will say that, but many others do as well. The parents, students, and staff she works with share the same thoughts. She, as well as many other educators, are struggling. They are not the only professional groups struggling. The jobs they do are challenging as they pour their hearts into them, but when you add all of this “drama” and divisions, it becomes more difficult. She wonders where all of this hate, division, and power control comes from that is influencing confusion daily.
It is essential to follow the science but not the scientists. Science is a foundation constant with no biases. Opinions, prejudices, and funders influence scientists.
The foundation of values, beliefs, and laws are the truths that formed our country. Many have fought, lost their lives to continue to maintain its foundation and to improve the quality for all. The Constitution of the United States provides our guidance as our foundation.
Daily we have many thoughts provided to us. We can listen to all of the opinions, ideas, and talking points. It is in our control on the action steps we take with what is presented. We do not need to spend hours thinking about them or becoming angry. Just take out the trash! Recycle those negative thoughts into positive ones. This is a healthy choice! Take one step further. Do some positive actions to help react to negative effects. We need more positives! Can we provide those who are doing all the talking with more positives to talk about? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of taking out the trash!