Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Success comes from the inside out. In order to change what is on the outside, you must first change what is on the inside (Idowu Koyenikan)

Transformational leadership has been on my mind of late.

When I was engaged to provide Professional Development in Qatar and the UAE a few years back, I used a lot of material relating to Transformational Leadership.

I don't hear much about it now that I am an active practitioner again, working for OneSchool Global.

I think I know why.

First though, a brief reminder on what transformational leadership requires courtesy of Kristen Lisanti.
  • An awareness of the shifts underway in your world
  • A purposeful vision for what could be
  • A commitment to bring your vision into being
  • The creativity to leverage the shifts at play
  • The willingness to start with yourself
I suspect the reason I'm not overtly called upon to be a transformational leader in my organisation is that those first three bullet points are not really mine to control.

The vision comes to us from a global perspective. It is - to create a global education ecosystem that develops life-ready students who learn how to learn and achieve.

I believe in the vision and I am happy to promulgate it, but, unlike Principal's in a public school - I didn't create it. 

As a Campus Principal, I am aware of shifts underway in my campus, and, to a lesser degree, the shifts in NZ. But I am not that aware of global currents and trends to any great degree.

However, I am very willing to start with me. I am certainly aware of my shortcomings and very willing to learn better ways of doing things.

So, it's more about transforming myself, than it is about transforming my campus. I think. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Well I got nothin' to prove (Sufjan Stevens)

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Our inner voice (or if you are really unlucky - voices) was a topic on Seven Sharp last night.

I love my inner voice. It provides me with a great on-going commentary, a perpetual songtrack, and among other things - acts as a wonderful filter.

You can probably tell when that's the case, I smile.

Yesterday during a zoom a colleague in a senior position used the term 'air hostess' twice.

After the first one I smiled. After the second one my finger almost made it to the unmute button before my inner voice again kicked in and I decided (like everyone else on the call) to let it go.

My inner voice had skipped ahead three moves and decided it just wasn't worth it.

What's that? Oh yes, I love you, inner voice.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The water is always deeper than what it reflects (Marty Rubin)

Confucius once said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

This blog deliberately contains my reflections. Gaining wisdom is a cumulative thing.

Recently I had to complete a PechaKucha (Japanese for 'chit-chat', it's a storytelling format where a presenter shows, in this case, 10 PowerPoint slides for 10 seconds of commentary each). 

Mine and a dozen others' attempts were used to launch a recent meeting of our organisation's Senior Educational Leadership Team meeting.

It was interesting seeing what people focused on. There were pictures of past haircut travesties that got laughs, images of pets and possessions, symbolic images from our past and interests, family shots of grand children, children and spouses, and there were pictures of employment histories.

What I noticed over and over was how much the 10 slides and 10 second commentary, the form and content, revealed about the personality of each participant.

That was, of course, the overt aim of the exercise - to introduce ourselves in this brief but revealing way. But it also worked on other, unintended, levels.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Everywhere I turn seems like everything I see reflects the love that used to be (The Supremes)

Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash

Having just returned from a two day visit to Auckland for a series of meetings with my colleagues (we are called SELT - the Senior Educational Leadership Team), I'd have to say it was one of the most productive and enjoyable two SELT days I've spent for a long long time!

Not informational in format - more consultative, collaborative, and reflective with a solutions focused focus. Jolly hockey sticks!!

One activity was centred on some writing on Emotional Intelligence and subsequent self-reflection.

Here are my reflections on the emotional intelligence task we were asked to complete:

Like Gretchen Peters' work, Thomas Erikson has written a text on emotional intelligence called, very appropriately - Surrounded By Idiots.

When I did my self assessment of his four types - Analytical; Dominant; Stable; Inspiring, I was mainly in the Stable category.

That means I see myself as friendly, a team player, and, erm...stable.

I'm also partly analytical - so cautious, methodical and reflective. That fits with my Libran personality.

My boss did his survey of each of us and shared with me that he had me down for those two categories as well.

There are many of these types of personality tests around that aim to divide us up into bits (you'll find my responses to the Gretchen Peters' quiz if you search this blog).

They are all well and good, but I guess it's what we do with that self-knowledge (and knowledge of others) that really counts though right.

More reflections to follow...

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Let's not be bashful, don't be oblique - the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak (Arab Strap)

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

I teach via zoom and have daily meetings via zoom and spend a lot of time discussing zoom calls with my colleagues. Zoom Zoom Zoom!!! This article* explains what all of that zoom activity is potentially doing to our brains.

*Spoiler alert: it's not good news, but check out the link for a fascinating reading list of how video conferencing has contributed to burnout, fatigue, fight-or-flight responses, and an odd breed of self-loathing (told you it wasn't good news), plus, how to counter the negative effects.

As for me, there are pluses and minuses. 

On the plus side - student behaviours are better on zoom - just the annoying other voices and faces of students not in my class to contend with but they can be muted. 

But on the negative side there are very little opportunities for individual student relationships, break out rooms are hideous, silences are painful, there is little chance of quiet meaningful conferencing outside of the breakout room (while the rest of the class do diddley), quiet students can (literally) hide, differentiation is tough (well, it is for me), and feedback via student body language is zero. Nuance and zoom are not friends.

I could probably go on but I'll stop there.

On balance - give me a face to face experience over a virtual one please.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

To look for the place where everything goes, everyone’s looking and nobody knows. Is there a way, a map or a sign or is it just dreaming, all in the mind (Peggy Seeger)

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash


I've done this a few times in my career. 

While making a 10 slide introduction of me and my career for an upcoming meeting, I could appreciate anew the leaps I've taken at various times.

Sometimes they haven't been well timed leaps and they affected my family for the better or for the worse. At the time I had no crystal ball.

A few times (okay, once) I've regretted NOT taking the leap, a few times (okay, once) I've regretted TAKING the leap.

As James Clear says:
"There will never be a perfect time to do something that stretches you.

That’s true whether you are starting a business, having a child, changing careers, or wrestling with any number of challenges. That’s not a license to be reckless and never think things through, but at some point you have to embrace the uncertainty because it is the only path forward.

If you were ready for it, it wouldn't be growth." 
I wonder what the next stretch will bring.