Tag: #WednesdayWisdom

We are inspired!

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did someone inspire you to be where you are today in your career or life? I reflect over mine and can identify several points of time where individuals inspired me, encouraged me, and pushed me—so blessed by each one.

“Mark Cole began his career working for John Maxwell 21 years ago. It was an inauspicious start for the man who would go on to be Chief Executive Officer of The John Maxwell Company and his nine organizations.” Mark started in the mailroom.

Bill Dodd shared a great post that follows along with my philosophy of solution-focused leadership. You can read the post about Mark Cole by clicking on his picture below. I pulled from the article the Four Questions all leaders must ask and How to view Leadership Problems. I added my idea of How to be Solution-Focused.

4 Questions All Leaders Must Ask

  1. When is the last time I learned something for the first time?
  2. When is the last time I did something for the first time?
  3. When is the last time I found something better for the first time?
  4. When is the last time I saw something bigger for the first time?

How To View Leadership Problems

  • P – Predictors are a picture of what type of person you are.
  • R – Reminders that life is tough. Leadership is demonstrated under challenging times.
  • O – Opportunity will make you and other people better.
  • B – Blessings. Problems sometimes point you in a more beneficial direction.
  • L – Lesson. What did I learn from this problem?
  • E – Everywhere. Even before COVID, problems were everywhere.
  • M – Message. In every problem, there is a takeaway.
  • S – Solvable. Every problem has a solution.

How to be Solution-Focused

  • Seeking first to answer “why.”
  • Observations of what has been done before, what is happening now, and what is working
  • Listen to all possible solutions
  • Use the best solution selected by the team
  • Try the solution selected, track, assess, and evaluate
  • Implement a different solution if the first one did not have the desired outcome
  • Open-mindedness brings many ideas to the solution
  • Never believe a problem is without a solution

People who have a leadership mindset love solving problems. Every problem is an opportunity to learn and grow. Real leaders know there’s always an answer. Most of the time, there are multiple answers. When you focus first on solutions, we will get more solutions. After spending time on generating ideas for solutions, save them for your next brainstorming session?

COVID taught us to take problems and solve them. If we keep looking at problems, we will keep getting more. COVID does not seem to be going away and continues to be one of those topics that will generate a great deal of debate. Our debate should only be on ideas for solutions.

Wednesday Wisdom

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?

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

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.

It is a no-good, horrible nothing going right kind of day!

Have you ever had a day where nothing seems to go right? How does it make you feel? What do you do to get yourself back on the right track?

When I was little, my mom would tell me it was because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. “But yesterday was fine, and I got up the same way.” It just happens some days. You need to lay back down, take a deep breath, and get up on the other side, thinking positively.

I enjoyed reading the post from Jane Perdue. The link to her post from Lead Change is below on her “everything turns to crud.”

When Everything Turns to Crud

What to do:

When things are not going well…

  • Stop, think about your actions.
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Reflecting
  • Listening to music
  • Painting
  • Do something that helps you relax and refocus
  • Talk to someone you trust

What to do? According to data?

In every organization, data-driven decision-making was and is a phrase repeated often. Sitting around a big conference table, I can recall talking about the stacks and stacks of data collected by an individual for us to utilize. However, we all looked at each other with a huh what. Data-rich and information poor, why are we collecting all of this data, and what is it being used for?

Understand where you are, where you want to go, and then how you will get there. One of the biggest things we noticed was the duplication of data. We were assessing to answer the same questions.

What do you need to know and find solutions for to achieve the goals you established? Looking at your situation, what is the most critical issue facing your organization?

Mental health is an issue that is revealing itself as a priority since the pandemic. It has always been important, but recent data reveals it is steadily increasing with our children.

“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a 31% increase in the proportion of mental health-related emergency rooms visits in youth ages 12 to 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More youth are also reporting increases in depression, anxiety, and stress, according to a YouthTruth survey.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pledged $85 million in funding to address the mental health needs of our children and teens. To learn more about funding and data, please read this short article:

https://www.k12dive.com/news/biden-administration-pledges-85m-to-support-student-mental-health/605750/

A clear focus on what improvements are needed will help to target these areas with direct assessments and instruction. Providing the strategies to support the desired outcomes will keep a transparent approach to achieve positive results.

Decisions-How do they look?

When we make decisions, do you think about how they impact your health? Depending on your position and the level of decisions you make, it is not just the impact on yourself at risk.

Leaders have to lead. Decisions have to be made. What are the ways, strategies, and thoughts in decision-making? It is easy to evaluate after a decision has been made and speak up, saying, I would have…..

Thoughts? When I die, I think I will look like me.

Obligations, we all have them

Nobody needs to tell you about having obligations; we learn this as a child. We have responsibilities to ourselves, family, community, country, and let’s not leave God out. But when it comes to meeting these obligations, what takes priority?

In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people.”-Colossians 3:23

Whatever your plans are with life, prioritize! Life brings many opportunities, disappointments, celebrations, and achievements. It is in taking the directions, turns, and roads before us that lead us to the spot we are right now. However, as we all know, we keep moving. It is all of the choices and reactions we make to help us as we move.

Jon Gordon and P.J. Fleck have released a new book, Row the Boat. It is an incredible story for you to read! You will learn how this coach turned a tragedy into a choice of not being defined by life journeys, events, and circumstances beyond his control—turning to a strategy. He choose to place into practice in life the “row the boat” to guide with enthusiasm and optimism. P.J. takes you through the process to discover how to put the “row the boat” components into practice. So pull up the anchor and set sail on the best book you will read this year.

Our obligation to ourselves is to invest in learning as much as we can to help ourselves and others. “Do all you can to give more than you take because serving and giving is key to life.”-RTB.

Think about the obligations you have today. What is your priority? The direction you are headed is decided by the compass you carry. “Live with a compass of faith.”-RTB. When you fulfill your obligations based on your priorities, you will count blessings not troubles.

Many times my staff and students would hear me repeat things over. I believe repeating consistently helps to cement it into our thinking. So I would say:

  • Watch your thoughts; they become your words
  • Watch your words; they become your actions
  • Watch your actions; they become your habits
  • Watch your habits; they become your character
  • Watch your character; it becomes your destiny

“Trained behavior creates boring habits, boring habits create elite instincts.”-RTB It is training of the mind and our mindsets that help us focus. Set your priorities to meet your obligations. Your destination is ahead!

Thank you for being the solution daily. Model for others as you are the standard of what we need to be. Let your light shine to brighten the darkness in the world.

Lead by Example

When you see leadership quotes and inspirational sayings, do they make you pause for a moment to think, or do you pass on by? Do you think about who is making these statements and if there are any truths to back them up?

Lead by example is something I think we have all heard for decades. I know I was told this over and over, it seems. I believe I have even said these words many times in many different places.

“The phrase lead by example was derived from the famous quote by Albert Schweitzer. His original quote was -“The three most important ways to lead people are: by example… by example… by example… ” A leader always inspires the world to move in the right direction.” Many others have attached different words, phrases, and expressions to get this point across.

What leadership quote or inspirational saying is one of your favorites? Maybe you have one of your own you want to share? One of my former bosses had two favorite letters he liked to hear. O and K, he would ask you to do something, and your response should include his favorite letters. Thank you, Mr. Denman, for your humor!

Embracing Messy Leadership in Schools and Beyond

The Case of Embracing Messy Leadership in Schools By Sean Slade and Alyssa Gallagher Jul 7, 2021 @https://www.edsurge.com

A great piece to read! They list the benefits of messy leadership as follows:

Messy Leadership has many benefits: 

  • Multiplying Perspective – in short taking the broader view of an issue and of the potential outcomes. It is moving away from a short term or myopic view of an individual problem.
  • Emotional Connection – bringing emotion and empathy back into leadership and into decision making.
  • Seizing Momentum – being prepared to adjust or alter course and be not stuck in a predetermined path or process. This requires flexibility in thinking and a willingness to admit mistakes.
  • Sensing the Future – being open to new ideas, solutions, and processes, and testing them quickly. Leaders create quick learning loops with rapid iterations where ideas are prototyped and tested without going through full committee cycles.
  • Your Ego – being comfortable with “I don’t know” and putting your ego and your role as the traditional leader aside.

My thoughts:

During the global pandemic, and even as we share ideas today, it is messy. There are many points of view, guidelines being shared, professional opinions that contradict each other making clear decisions difficult.

At this time, we can recognize no matter what workforce you belong in; the world is changing at a rapid pace. We can only expect some “messy” points. Maintaining a solution-focused mindset to your leadership keeps the focus on the pathway to results.

When you can focus on solutions, you will see possibilities. Possibilities drive positivity for opportunities. When you focus on problems, you only see more problems. Problems cause negativity and blame. To be the solution daily, you can see the choice you and your team need to make. Will it be “messy?” The answer is yes! The recommended acronym is excellent! I love doing acronyms. They are fun to remember and to do. However, we tend to have too many of them in education.

Enjoy looking at your messy approach and see what works. It is easy finding problems, but solutions take creativity, thought, and collaboration.