Tag Archives: podcast

PMP:070 How Your Brain Resists Change

When I was in high school, my dad reenlisted in the Navy and we moved to New York where he was stationed while his ship was in dry-dock.

Photo by dierk schaefer – Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/26480501@N06


For a country boy from West Tennessee, New York was a culture shock. I remember being so afraid to speak because I didn’t want others making fun of my southern accent.

One day I was standing in front of grocery store in Brooklyn when a man stopped to ask me what time it was. I realized I was wearing a watch and he wasn’t. So I just held up the watch without saying a word and let him read the time. Continue reading

PMP:069 Entanglement & Why Messaging Matters

Invisibilia is a fascinating podcast about the invisible forces that affect us without us being aware. In a January 29, 2015 episode, the reporters narrating the episode were talking about a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”

Photo by TonZ – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/96947578@N00


They began by describing a physics experiment where scientists have been able to isolate particle atoms in separate locations, change the motion, and cause the two separate atoms to react to the change at the same time in separate locations.

That’s right. In one experiment, an atom contained in a box four feet away from itself in another box was demonstrating simultaneous responses in both boxes. These atoms are not mirror images of one another; this research suggests that they are one another. Separate but one: a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. Charles Q. Choi from Live Science explains that scientists theorize entangled atoms may stay connected even if a universe a part!

Scientists are able to explain how to make this happen, but they are still unable to explain why this is possible. Continue reading

PMP:067 Wrapping Up Your School Year—Planning for Summer Break

Occasionally my wife will remind me when it’s been awhile since I’ve cleaned out my closet.

Photo by cobalt123 – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/66606673@N00

So I’ll take time to sort out what I don’t need anymore. I can easily fill a couple of trash bags with items to donate to the local Goodwill store.

Summer break is a great time to “clean the closets” of our schools. I’m not talking about literal closets (which can also be helpful), but I’m talking about issues, priorities, goals, and conversations that have been neglected as you have been finishing a school year.

We just finished another school year at my high school. We wrapped up curriculum standards, graduated seniors and hired new teachers for next year. Many people ask me what I do with my summer break. The short answer is: I prepare for next school year. I often tell others that leading a school is like landing a cruise ship. When you finish one tour, you spend the break restocking for the next launch. Continue reading

PMP:062 Setting the Record Straight & School Advocacy

A few years ago, I had the privilege to participate in a ten-day tour of four cities in China.

Photo by rmgirardin – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/30559266@N04


On one leg of the trip, I sat by a Mongolian woman who was fluent in English and on her way home after completing graduate studies at Boston University. We enjoyed trading stories about our families, home, schools, and studies. Toward the end of our conversation, she turned to me and asked poignantly, “Why do U.S. schools not measure up to other nations on standardized tests?”

This was a fair question. After all, I’m sure she had seen the statistics commonly discussed in higher education about the comparison of U.S. public school scores to students in other industrialized nations. I also knew she came from a situation and background that allowed her access to higher education, so she had seen first-hand how helpful her own education had been.

As a good teacher tries to do, however, I answered her question with some questions of my own. Continue reading

PMP 048: Looking at 2017–Let’s Stay Connected!

One of my first superintendents had been an elementary teacher.

Photo by Gl00P – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License https://www.flickr.com/photos/60836530@N06


Sometimes she would begin our leadership meetings by bringing a shopping bag full of hands-on materials (paper, scissors, glue, popsicle sticks) as demonstrations for a lesson or an idea she wanted us to understand.

No matter what your age, you never outgrow the need for self-improvement. And I don’t know about you, but I know I would not grow in my own leadership if I wasn’t interacting, questioning, exploring, and sharing with others.

As we wrap up 2016, I wanted to share some ways I have been “keeping my bag full of ideas” by connecting with other leaders this past year as well as some ways we might connect together in 2017. Continue reading

PMP:041 What Makes a Productive Team?

When I was boy, my dad bought a long, green Pontiac station wagon.
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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.
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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

PMP:026 The 8 Hats of a School Leader

This past week I enjoyed speaking to principal organizations in Georgia and Kansas.
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We explored the various hats that school leaders wear in serving their schools.

Today’s podcast is a fourteen-minute version of one of my 90-minute presentations. The keynote is interspersed with examples, resources, and lots of stories, but this summary touches on the 8 hats of school leaders. If you are scheduling events for your school leadership team, check out my speaking page if you’re interested in connecting.

Here are the show notes for Episode 26:

If you are thinking of becoming a principal or have already been serving as one, here are eight hats I believe we should expect to wear: Continue reading

Transformative Principal Interview, Part 1

Sometimes it is both challenging and encouraging to reflect on why you do what you do.
Slide1 Serving others can be both rewarding and disappointing at the same time, but there are lessons we learn along the way that help us grow.

This past week I was a guest on the podcast Transformative Principal, hosted by Principal Jethro Jones. We talked about the release of my book, Principal Matters and shared stories about our own experiences and lessons in school leadership.

The interview was posted in two parts, and this week I wanted share highlights from Part 1 (Episode 75). Click on the image or this link to listen. Continue reading