Monthly Archives: October 2016

PMP:041 What Makes a Productive Team?

When I was boy, my dad bought a long, green Pontiac station wagon.
chicken_eggs
Long before the creation of the mini-van, it was the car of choice for a large family. We spent countless of hours of my childhood driving from the West Coast to the Mississippi River and back during his Navy years.

After we had moved to the farm, Dad retired the old Pontiac in a field beside our first chicken lot. Before long our chickens began to roost and nest around the old car. One day my dad rolled down the windows, and the hens found their way into it. For years to come, the old green station wagon was a makeshift chicken coop.

Yes, we were backwoods folks, but I still have fond memories of spreading corn on the dirt and grass each morning—the red, brown, and spotted black hens gently clucking and jostling around my feet.

Hens are interesting creatures: they feed together, warn one another of impending danger, and huddle close for warmth. They are instinctively team players unless they identify another chicken they perceive as a threat. Then they can become vicious in isolating or attacking the culprit.

Heffernan: Lessons on Laying Hens

Last week I was reminded of chickens when I watched a great TedTalk presentation by Margaret Heffernan, businesswoman and consultant, who uses the research by William Muer to inform others about what truly makes some groups more productive than others. Continue reading

PMP:040 How Do You Positively Respond to Apathy?

Last week when I was hosting a webinar for school leaders, an overwhelming number of responses were made about the challenges of overcoming apathy.
pmpodcast
How does a leader initiate positive changes when others resist, don’t seem to care, or only comply half-heartedly?

There’s so much to unpack in that question. In this podcast, I try to hit on a few important points.

Listen in for the complete discussion. Here’s a summary of the show-notes:

7 Tips for Responding to Apathy

Continue reading

Brunch & Learn Webinars

As a practicing principal, I need to be practicing.
brunchandlearn
And as much as I enjoy writing, speaking or presenting about school leadership, my primary responsibility as a school leader is serving my school.

So this past summer, I was thrilled when Vickie Williams, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals asked me to partner with OASSP to offer a monthly webinar series on school leadership topics.

Webinars offer the best of both worlds: the ability to connect, share, learn and grow with others while doing so from the convenience of your office computer.

Beginning in September 2016, we launched our first episode on Organizational Leadership, and yesterday we presented on Purpose-Driven Leadership and Goal Setting. Over the course of one school year, we will be covering an array of leadership topics: Continue reading

Becoming Better: How You Influence Growth

Last weekend I traveled with my son, Jack, and his Cub Scout pack to a joint campout with an older Boy Scout troop.
batfish
It was a perfect October weekend: 70’s with sun and breeze; evening temperatures in the 50’s—cold enough that a sleeping bag was the perfect cocoon for tent sleeping.

Although Jack and I have camped a lot, this was my first experience watching a Boy Scout troop at a campout. Throughout the whole experience, the boys were in charge. During mealtime, the senior patrol leader, a ninth grader, separated the group of 23 boys into three groups. Each had their own food preparation area, menus they had created, food they had procured, and tasks assigned.

Whenever the entire group needed to be addressed, the senior patrol leader would call them together, hold up a Scout sign (three fingers), and everyone would go silent as they held up their fingers in response.

That night the boys had a special treat: they were given a tour of the U.S.S. Batfish, a retired World War II submersible boat that once toured the Pacific and survived. Its maiden crew of 80 was confined to tiny spaces where each man played essential tasks: repairing engines, launching torpedoes, radioing signals, navigating with gauges and periscope, or preparing pastries for hungry crew members.

After the tour, the boys were allowed to bunk in the berthing room for the night. Two adult leaders stayed on the boat, but I made way back to my tent. Continue reading