Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Start spreading the news (Frank Sinatra)

Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

Seth Godin in his blog explains how to bridge the gap between early adopters and the larger group who want to get involved with something that’s proven, popular and effective. 

The early adopters ask, “is it new?”

The early majority ask, “did it work?” and perhaps, “what’s everyone else doing?”

Interestingly, my father was an early adopter - whatever was new in the electronic range was of interest to him. In contrast, I'm more inclined to be one of those who follows the early adopters. 

For instance, when CDs came out in the 1990s I was a hold out. Records were/are my big love but I eventually had to give in when vinyl became hard to get, as they'd been virtually replaced by CDs.  

Interesting to note, that I was not someone who got rid of my vinyl, or my CDs when the next thing - non tactile music files/ streaming services began busily replacing CDs.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I do my work for early adopters. OneSchool Global, as an organisation. loves change and loves to keep innovating. That makes work an exciting place to be.

If you're not willing to go along with that, you may feel some tension/a chasm between the 'is it new?' and 'did it work?' questions.

Whatever your preference, Seth says that if you delight the early adopters within an organisation, they spread the word. 

That is how the chasm is crossed–not with fancy ads or clever hype, but because the people who are engaged do the generous work of telling the others.

As always, it will be interesting to observe this process in action for the next set of organisational changes in 2021. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Imagination is more important than knowledge (Einstein)

Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

We're knee deep in election coverage in New Zealand; everywhere I go there are billboards advertising political parties and leaders; all the noise is about the changes that need to happen! So buy our brand!

An aspect that is sometimes forgotten when change is mooted in any forum is the one that articulates a dynamic vision for the future.

It's always advantageous to provide a vision story, one that explains where we're going. It grabs people's imagination and let's them board the train to a worthwhile destination.

According to Paul Smith, “A vision is a picture of the future so compelling, people want to go there with you.” 

All it takes is a story that captures the emotion of the vision and connects people to what life will be like when you get there.

As Einstein knew in 1924, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution".

Pretty simple really, but it's a story that is not often told I find.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Listen, do you want to know a secret? (The Beatles)

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

It really bothers me when I'm talking to someone and they are scanning the room looking for the next person to talk to.

Whenever I attended parties back in the day (okay, yes, it was a long time ago, I admit) it was often a girl or guy distracted by the pretty face entering the room.

I like to feel valued. Who doesn't?

Here's some useful advice if you're easily distracted or not a good listener:

Pretend that every single person you encounter has a sign around their neck that says, ‘make me feel important.’

Here's some more (mostly good advice) courtesy of Dan Rockwell's blog:
  • Put away your cell phone.
  • Notice something good about everyone.
  • Stop looking around. Eye contact signals interest and respect.
  • Ask, “How did you learn to do that?”
  • Speak hard truths with forward-facing kindness. [Yeah, I don't know what that means either]
  • Seek input/advice. “What do you think?”
  • Provide useful feedback.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Through a glass eye your throne Is the one danger zone, take me to the pilot for control (Elton John)

Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash

Being a mentor and/or having a mentor is a fundamental part of teaching, leading a school..actually - leading a fulfilling life!

I've had this article from 'TED ideas' in my bookmarks for a while: looking at the five types of mentors you need in your life, Time to trot it out.

Mentor #1: The master of craft

If you want to be the best teacher, Principal, Head of Department...ask yourself, 'Who are the most iconic figures in that area that you have access to? This person can function as your personal Jedi master, someone who’s accumulated their wisdom through years of experience and who can provide insight and fine-tune your skills. As a Principal I often reach out to fellow Principals for advice. In my current position I'm part of a network of ten other Campus Principals. Three of them are my sounding boards for advice when I've needed it.

Mentor #2:
The champion of your cause

This mentor is someone who has your back, who will talk you up to others, and it’s important to have one of these in your current workplace. Of those ten colleagues, Jim Seumanu would be my go to guy here.

Mentor #3: The co-pilot

Another name for this type: Your best work bud. The co-pilot is the colleague who can listen to you vent over coffee. This kind of mentoring relationship is best when it’s close to equally reciprocal. Sadly, the role of Principal doesn't lend itself to this one easily. Actually my wife is both my co-pilot and my anchor (as outlined below). 

Mentor #4:
The anchor

This person doesn’t have to work in education — in fact, it could be a friend or family member (Jacky is both). While your champion supports you to achieve specific career goals, your anchor is a confidante and a sounding board. Because the anchor is keeping your overall best interests in mind, they can be particularly insightful when it comes to setting priorities, achieving work-life balance, and not losing sight of your values.

Mentor #5:
The reverse mentor

Pay attention to learning from the people you’re mentoring, even though they may have fewer years in the workplace than you. I've definitely learnt a lot from my colleagues over the years.

Well, that was fun. Have a go yourself, if you think you are clever enough. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

It keeps changing fast and it don't last for long (John Denver)

In 2020, nothing is off the table.

Colorado just went from a massive heatwave to a snowstorm in 48 hours.

This, plus Donald Trump has been nominated (luckily, along with over 200 other people) for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He was nominated by a right-wing Norwegian. 

Who says right-wing Norwegians don't have a sense of humour?

Sunday, September 6, 2020

I've seen this place before, a thousand times or more (Joe Molland)

Photo by Lubo Minar on Unsplash

An interesting week
 has just passed at school with a couple of almost noteworthy thoughts entering my consciousness that, for some reason, I feel inclined to share with y'all.

  1. First thought is around exam invigilation. Yes, it's that time again - mock exams/ practice exams/ benchmark exams/ mid-year exams - whatever you want to call them it still adds up to braindead invigilation for teachers. It struck me again how things haven't changed since the days I was doing these things. In fact, the only difference I can see is the appearance of water bottles. All students have these now, lined up on their desks with their pens and test papers, but back in the seventies I would have been laughed out of MAGS if I'd fronted up with one. Funny old world innit!
  2. On Tuesday, I had to attend a three hour zoom on risk management for my Hastings campus, then, a day later, I had to attend another three hour zoom on risk management for my Gisborne campus. I hadn't been looking forward to it especially - nor was I dreading it. It was just something I had to do. Then the unexpected happened: I actually really enjoyed each one. Why was that? Well, during and afterwards, it struck me as a vitally important thing to be concerned about, and as my name is attached to each action I was an especially eager participant. I was also included in all the discussions, as, sensibly, the presenter didn't lecture us for three hours. For me the time went quickly and now I'm heavily invested in getting the risk management side of things nailed down for both campuses. Extraordinary.