On Thursday-Friday, June 21-22, 2018, I attended the Growing Leaders Round Table for Principals in Atlanta, Georgia, headlined by speakers Dr. Tim Elmore, author of Marching Off the Map, and Daniel Pink, author of Drive and When. If you would like to read my summary of the conference activities, please read on. . . .
“Round Table for Principals”
Sponsored by Growing Leaders
Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal (All errors in these notes are mine alone.)
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Generation Z may ignore you, but you cannot ignore Generation Z. We are going to introduce you to ideas which will help you serve GenZ. Dr. Elmore seeks to equip young people as leaders for their generation. Educators need to connect with and empower this generation. We need to bridge the leadership gap between prior generations and GenZ. We value students, the strength of our schools, and the desire for excellent leadership. We must take notice of the changes of our times and our students.
“A New Kind of Leader”
By Dr. Tim Elmore
I want to set the stage for the next day and a half. We need to engage a new style of leadership with changing times.
I present the “Leadership Secrets from the Land of Oz.”
In 1997, Reed Hastings sold his pet store. He and his wife wanted to celebrate the event. He went to Blockbuster to rent a video. After viewing the movie, he lost the video. The fine was $40. He thought there must be a better way to rent movies. He thought about his work-out gym. He paid one fee. This man created Netflix. Have you ever seen a new idea, turned it down, and regretted the lack of action? Of course, you have. Good leadership doesn’t change, but how you deliver it may need to change.
Reed Hastings has set up a unique leadership culture.
The more responsibility people take, the more freedom they get.
He pays higher salaries than tech industry norms.
Team members can choose how much salary is paid in cash or in stock. How can K-12 schools be creative, in this regard?
Lead employees who don’t meet expectations are treated uniquely — with generous severance packages.
No vacation or sick days. Employees interact with their supervisors to work those issues out, based on relationship.
Reed meets with each new employee to discuss their roles and responsibilities in the culture.
How are we building these positive cultures in our schools?
Leadership Style Statements:
There is not just one right way to LEAD. Decades ago, there was 1 strong leader in an organization. If there are 100 people in this room, there are 100 ways to lead. I worked 15 years with John Maxwell. He was a “lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way” leader. I tried to imitate him. I should have been me. Be the best version of you to be the most effective leader in your school.
Great leaders will change styles but not PRINCIPLES. Effective leadership principles are timeless. Every great leader must have a vision. You’ve got to be good with people. You can’t just be a screen person. People need to know you love them.
Lasting leaders determine their styles by observing their PEOPLE. Read your people before you lead your people. Read the situation before leading the situation.
The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939. My daughter memorized all of the lines from the movie. This is a leadership movie! Dorothy started in a black-and-white flat land of Kansas. She was taken up in a tornado, landing in a colorful, zany world where anything can happen. We have moved from a black-and-white place to an extremely colorful world.
I have found at least three kinds of leaders in Oz:
The WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST was a manipulator. Have you ever served under a leader like that? They manipulate what they want done. People quit on manipulative leaders.
The WIZARD was not as bad as the Wicked Witch, but he led through intimidation. After he was discovered, people paid no attention to that man behind the curtain. This leader was a good person but not a good leader. This leader pretends. This leader may be misplaced — a teacher who was a great teacher but who is not a great leader.
DOROTHY exhibited the best leadership traits of anyone in the movie. Frank Baum wrote this story 100 years ago. He purposefully made this great leader a woman. “Wrong” time for women with the book. Wrong time for women with the movie. But she was a great leader. She didn’t have all of the answers. But she encouraged her team members to play their unique roles in the leadership journey. This is the kind of leader for whom the world is thirsting.
Habitudes are images which illustrate sound leadership principles. One of my Habitudes is “Dorothy’s Way.” The leader encourages team members. S/he plays point as a leader. We partner with 1,000 organizations in the country. I see this kind of leader in schools, athletic departments, colleges, and churches.
This leader balances. . . .
Toughness and tenderness.
Relationships and results.
An amazing mission, yet adaptable methods.
The professional and personal.
“Right” and relationships.
Have you been led by “Dorothy’s Way” leaders?
[We talked about this question in our table groups.]
Let’s step back into history. I want to give you some data. How did we get to this place that we need a new style of leader?
I have seen 6 common leadership styles in history.
In the 1950s (and before), we saw the Military Commander style. Very top-down. Leaders led; followers followed; and neither the twain would meet. It was almost always men. Education levels of employees were lower. Followers were willing to be told what to do. It was more of a blue collar time. The Key Value was LOYALTY. Leaders assumed loyalty. People stayed in organizations for 50 years. But you can’t tell everyone what to do in this era.
In the 1960s and 70s, the leader was a CEO. It was a tumultuous time. Everything was not fine in Saigon, no matter what President Johnson said. President Nixon resigned after scandal. People demanded someone other than the Military Commander. The Key Value was PRODUCTIVITY. The United States was expanding after World War II. McDonald’s was franchising. Shopping malls were popping up everywhere. People liked the vision, even if they did not like the leader.
In the 1980s, the style was leader as Entrepreneur. Interest rates were high. People sat in lines at gas stations. We wanted creativity. The Key Value was INNOVATION. Innovation has continued, but innovation was the name of the game for leaders in the 80s.
A new leader emerged in the 90s — leader as Coach. Leaders needed to be “touchable.” We liked player-coaches. User-friendly workplaces became the norm. Leaders became more real. The Key Value was TEAMWORK. Leaders needed to be people persons. Relational. The coach still told the players what to do during the game.
In the 21st Century, leaders became Connectors, signaled and paralleled by the Internet. A global economy emerged. Leaders became aware of connections to a much larger picture. The Key Value was PLATFORM. Leaders realized it was important to build an organizational platform. The word needed to be cast beyond the organization.
Further into this Century, we now see the Poet-Gardener as leader. This leadership style is within your reach. Your students long for this style in you as a Principal. People should flock to their Principals. People should want to be around you. The Key Values for the Poet-Gardeners are CONNECTION and GROWTH. These leaders come into a new place as listeners. They do not impose visions immediately. They bring teams together with complementary skills. Poems put into words the feelings we are feeling. Poets listen and wordsmith the vision, and the vision becomes not “theirs” but “everyone’s.” The gardener grows the plants in the soil, and this leader’s primary task is growing the people under his/her care. Your number one job is growing the people under your care. You’re a people developer. You can’t “make” gardens grow. You create a healthy environment where the garden can grow.
Years ago, I met a poet-gardener, a Naval leader, the captain of a ship. The sailors cheered over his predecessor’s departure. They were glad to see him leave. This new leader wanted not to experience this phenomenon when he eventually left. He sat down for 20 minutes each with all 300 of his people. He tapped-into the talents of his people, because he knew his people. Different ranks worked together. Teams came up with solutions. They implemented the ideas. They celebrated the victories with everyone getting a steak dinner. He took over the worst performing ship in the nation; in 7 months, it was the best performing ship, because the leadership had changed. One day, he had his entire crew painting the entire side of the ship. He asked how it was going. One sailor asked if the Navy had ever heard of stainless steel bolts. They went into the Home Depot, purchased 40,000 bolts, and implemented the idea. Everybody got a steak dinner! He wrote a book about his experiences in It’s Your Ship. Even in the military there is a new kind of leader, the Poet-Gardener.
Characteristics of Poet-Gardners:
They are HIGHLY RELATIONAL. You can still be introverted. You’ve got to value relationships.
They INTERPRET CULTURE well. These leaders keep their ears to the ground. What do kids need? What do teachers need? They are students of culture.
They are EMOTIONALLY SECURE. You’re taking risks. The culture is demanding. You’re receiving negative feedback. You’re cringing on the inside. But you’ve got to be emotionally secure. It’s too easy to get insecure and defensive.
They share OWNERSHIP FREELY. Not recklessly. Freely.
They EMPOWER OTHERS. This is a bit of 90s word, but they share their power.
They are COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY.
They LISTEN AND FOSTER SELF-DISCOVERY.
They EMBRACE THE ROLE OF A MENTOR. You don’t self-declare as other people’s “Socrates.” But you must be seeking to develop others in the organization. This generation thirsts for mentors.
They are LESS FORMAL IN STRUCTURE. The culture has become more casual. Followers want “real.”
They are DRIVEN BY SERVICE MORE THAN EGO. Leadership is about serving a greater cause. I have been greatly impacted by Chick-fil-A leaders. In a motel room for a conference, the CEO once ironed every one of his employee’s shirts when he had complained about his wrinkled shirts the night before.
We live in a day that is LESS FORMAL and MORE AUTHENTIC.
We live in a day where people LONG FOR THE RARE COMMODITY of relationships.
We live in a day where good LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT EMPOWERMENT, not POWER.
IN our day, people WANT TO IMPROVE THE WORLD, not just GENERATE REVENUE.
Insights About Leadership Styles:
OUR STYLE OFTEN COMES FROM THE ERA WHEN WE LEARNED TO LEAD.
OUR WILLINGNESS TO ADAPT WILL IMPACT OUR RELEVANCE.
OUR SITUATION DETERMINES WHAT STYLE WE MUST EMPLOY. Read your situation before you lead this situation. In emergencies, a Military Commander style must be employed.
OUR STYLE DETERMINES WHO WE ATTRACT.
OUR STYLE MUST REFLECT THE MATURITY OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS. This makes sense, doesn’t it? Millennials bring stuff to the workplace. You get them ready for Poet-Gardener by employing a CEO or coaching style.
THIS NEW KIND OF LEADER COMMUNICATES WITH IMAGES AND RELATIONSHIPS. Habitudes are all about images. The images lubricate the friction.
TODAY’S EMERGING GENERATION IS ASKING FOR POET-GARDENERS. Six teenagers ran for Governor in Kansas this year. They want to be involved.
Talk at your tables. What shifts do you see in leadership styles? What leadership styles have you experienced?
There’s not enough time in the day. Peer pressure. Academics. How can we help students to take ownership of their lives? Habitudes help students to have social-emotional-spiritual conversations they might not otherwise have.
“How School Leaders Can Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students, and Reach Communities”
By Will Parker, K-12 Education for 25 Years, Currently Working with Oklahoma Department of Education
I served as an English teacher before becoming an assistant principal and principal. I’m in a room full of heroes. You are the people who make the difference with teams who want to follow together.
I want to begin with a story. I lived in rural Tennessee. My father would set up a telescope and looking into the skies at night. Of course, you know that you can only see one side of the moon. The only way to see the backside is with a spaceship, satellite, or space telescope.
You have the privilege of seeing the backside of the moon. You are privy to parts of the people’s stories which you can’t share with others. That’s a privilege and responsibility of leadership. You need courage. We sometimes miss out on the opportunities to talk about things you can talk about. You’ve got to share the amazing feats of those in your organization, or you’re robbing people in your community. They are not seeing the backside of the moon. There is a lot that you can share. Your messaging matters.
Addressing Media Assumptions About K-12 Education:
Myth #1: U.S. test scores rank below international counterparts. However, demographic subsets place the U.S. above our counterparts. Typical comparisons from international schools include only the best and brightest.
Myth #2: In polling, parents give schools Ds and Fs. Model and break-through schools illustrate high rigor, relevance, and relationships in the U.S.
Myth #3: Schools are broken models. Gallup polls indicate A and B grades for their local schools.
Perception is not always reality. Yes, some schools are failing, but we cannot assume that all of our schools are failing. How do we respond? Messaging.
What Is Messaging?
Messaging is a mindset. The way you think affects how you see and communicate about your school.
Messaging is a platform for promoting what is happening in your school.
Message is the lens by which you display the overwhelming positives for students, teachers, parents, and community members. Overwhelm the negatives with the positives. Yes, we manage crises and negative situations, but you’ve got to change any negative tone with positive messaging. Drown-out the negatives with positives.
What are the obstacles to positive communication?
Challenges to consistency
A lack of intentionality
Not knowing about positives
How do you inspire your teachers?
I recently rowed with my boss on the Potomac in D.C. We were struggling. He said, “Why don’t we row together?” If you’re not rowing together with the people you’re leading, you will not reach your goals. You need strong, positive culture and strong communication. Students must want to be in your school. They will communicate with their parents when they feel otherwise (and, conversely, when the culture is strong). Do what’s best for students. You cannot have an us versus them mentality with students or parents.
You’ve got to collaborate. We cannot lead independently. We must lead through inter-dependence. You cannot lead in isolation. Messaging connects constituencies.
Communication is key. Or people will be isolated. You must express what is happening in your community.
People want a sense of community.
Let me get practical with you.
Kudos E-Mails. You step into classrooms every day. Pause in your day, and intentionally send e-mail messages to the community. The teachers who were not visited will want you to recognize the great things that are happening in their classrooms as well.
Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are your friends. Capture still shots and videos of students in exciting learning situations. Students and parents use these applications. Harness these tools to get the word out about your schools. Cover your FERPA bases by having documentation from parents who do not want to have images or names of their students shared on social media. Hootsuite is an easy way to place social media feeds from one source. Build momentum by doing this every day.
What’s one strategy to try?
How do you motivate students? This generation has not known a world without the Internet, life before 9/11, constant news coverage of negative world events, employment mobility, and social media movements. You school must be welcoming, safe, and preparing them for their futures.
What makes a great classroom? What makes a great school? Welcoming. Visually attractive and stimulating. Ordered. Positive. Clear signage. Updated content in communication. Regular communication.
Jenny is a high school junior being raised by her grandmother. Jenny works a lot. She showed up on Day 1 of school. There was not much help through signage or people. She didn’t have a schedule. She shuffled into a line. She got a schedule. She walked late into a room. She was in the wrong classroom.
Billy stepped into a school. He had been oriented. He had met his teachers. Signs pointed him to the right place in the building. Student council kids were there welcoming him. A seating chart was on the smart board. He felt welcomed. He saw the name of the teacher and the name of the class in each classroom. There was structure. Engagement. Communication.
From Harry and Rosemary Wong’s First Day of Schools:
Students are asking questions:
Am I in the right room?
Where am I supposed to sit?
Who is this teacher as a person?
Will the teacher treat me as a human being?
What are the rules?
What will we be doing this year?
How will I be held accountable?
How about the teachers in the building?
Am I in the right area or place?
Where am I supposed to begin my day?
Who is my principal as a person?
Will the entire staff treat me as a human being?
What are the rules of the school?
What will we be doing this year?
How will I be held accountable?
Digital Tools to Connect with Students:
Promotionals: Powtoons or Biteable
A video featured inspirational wording with “This Is Your Life” as a backdrop.
MP3’s — Garage Band
What is a theme or motto your school can rally around?
What routines and rituals can motivate student enthusiasm?
What is one step fro providing a stronger platform for celebrating students?
How can students help drive celebrations?
Reach all of your communities, including coaches, food service personnel, bus drivers — EVERYONE in the community.
Here is my family. [He projected a photograph of his family on the screen.]. My son got a dangerous disease. We rushed him to the hospital. He could have died. He was given a powerful anti-biotic. He went into shock. He finally got the treatment. His health report is great now. But you can imagine, being a school leader, how difficult that was for 10 days. I saw the health care professionals do three things that I could apply to my school community.
A common goal united a group of diverse people. They had a common goal of saving my son’s life.
Team members knew their roles and executed them well.
Caring for people and reaching goals went hand-in-hand. They loved my son. He told me he missed the hospital when he got home. This was such a testament of the power of the people who cared for him. We went back to visit, with warm memories.
There are so many ways you can connect with your communities.
Mailchimp subscription to newsletters
Remind application for phones
Wall of Kindness: notes of positivity on Post-It notes. A bathroom wall became a wall of kindness. We celebrated the other side of the moon when the media wanted to cover this spontaneous event.
Be committed to positive messaging every day.
Growing Leaders has created a plan for social-emotional learning. We have resources for purchase.
“A New Kind of Student”
By Andrew McPeak
One of my passions is to learn about and talk about the next generation. I have a job which allows me the time I need to read about students and how we can be effective in connecting with a new kind of student.
I have read so much, conducted 11 focus group meetings, and interacted with a great number of school people.
How much do you already know about Generation Z?
Do you know these images?
[He projected a number of icons for apps.]
Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Periscope, Netflix, Twitter, House Party, Reddit, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Plus, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Flickr
Social media has not been around all that long. It exists today! And it consumes so much of our time!
I want to talk about three trends we are seeing, which will form the basis for a new book which Tim and I are going to write.
Today’s students have technology-fueled expectations. When they think about the world, everything comes through the lens of technology and social media.
I want to explore a different song — a really weird song — by Super Organism — “Everybody Wants to Be Famous.” Too much is happening. It’s multi-sensory. We can’t take it. She is the center of the visuals. She is obsessed with being famous. How are they going to do that? Through social media. They are looking for viral reactions.
“Gen Z isn’t tech-dependent; they’re tech-independent. To them, technology is invisible, but omnipresent.”
Ninety-six percent of high school students in the U.S. own a smart phone. And they use it differently than Millennials. Young people are using every social media site.
CNN did a documentary, “Being 13.” Some 13-year-olds daily check their media accounts 100 times a day for a total of 9 hours.
GenZ has a love-hate relationship with social media. “41% say social media makes them feel sad, anxious, or depressed,” but they’re not going to leave it.
Is this generation open to this conversation? Help them see the harms of social media and technology.
There is great pressure “being a certain way.” On social media, young people present themselves differently than their authentic selves.
Diversity and equality are key factors. Generation Z cares about these two issues.
I want to show you a music video which is the most watched video in 2018. “This Is America.” Glover paints a reality in the foreground and background. The video has a lot of violence in it. We’ll watch about 30 seconds of it. In the foreground, dancers are smiling and partying. In the background, utter chaos is occurring. “This Is America.” This is the America which GenZ is thinking about. People are having fun, and there is chaos everywhere.
This is the most diverse generation in American history. This is the first generation in which the majority is not white. We have to make space for discussions about diversity. There is a 400% increase in multi-racial marriages since the 1980s. We have to understand their perspective is diverse.
Their top social justice issue is equality. They’re thinking about racial and sexual issues. They are learning from people all over the nation (through social media).
This generation’s primary attitude is one of caution. They’re worried. There are physiological reactions to their worry in stress, anxiety, and depression. A song came out last week from Kanye West — “Reborn.” West and his other artist talk about their depression and suicidal thoughts. How do they deal with stress? “Moving forward.”
Poverty. 15% of this generation has grown up in poverty.
College. 46% of Gen Z say their biggest financial concern is college debt. They’re not even in college yet! The cost of college has increased 1,120% in the past 35 years! The students see those numbers, and they know they’re going to have to pay big dollars for their post-secondary educations. Those are real dollars and cents to them. Your high school students are going to be interested in how to save money.
Violence. School shootings have dominated the newscapes. As soon as these shootings happen, they know about it. This is sobering to me.
Stress. Anxiety. Depression. 72% say their peers are distracted by social meeting, and 58% are seeking relief from social media. We ask so much of them academically. Horrible things are happening all over the world. Their lives are so scheduled; they have no margin, and they “feel guilty” when they do something they enjoy. This shouldn’t be.
We have two choices. Tim and I have talked about this. There are two narratives, as we lead the next generation.
We can choose fear. “GenZ is in trouble.”
Or we can choose belief. “GenZ is our hope for the future.”
We see encouraging stuff from Gen Z — leadership promise when handed opportunity and responsibility. 77% of this generation want leadership opportunities in America. (The figure is 55% in Europe.).
I want to share an encouraging story on the heels of Hurricane Harvey this year. It was chaos. In the midst of that chaos, a young man named Virgil Smith, 13, who was living in an impoverished area of Houston. One of his friends was trapped in his house. Virgil was trapped in his house. Virgil found an air mattress. He swam to his friend’s apartment. He helped a lady in a wheelchair, rescuing her. She rescued the lady’s dog. At 2:00 a.m., he saved 17 people. He didn’t go around bragging to people. He continued to be the person he is. The school organized a surprise standing ovation for him at the beginning of his football practice. He had no idea. He had chosen kindness. He was heroic. The producers of Wonder donated money to his school and to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. It doesn’t matter where you come from. You can do great things! That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
Will we choose “all hope is lost,” or will we believe in them and find the Virgils in our school? These students have courage and desire to lead.
How do we connect with the next generation?
Talk about current issues. Help lead those conversations. At the end of their focus groups, they expressed appreciation that they had been asked about issues which are important to them. Care. Show you care. Provide wisdom and context for them.
Give them experiences that include a little risk in their lives. Call greatness out of them. Help them live-out the greatness which is inside of them.
Acknowledge their hurts. Give them hope. One in 10 college students have contemplated suicide. Acknowledge the hurt, but call them to hope.
Talk about this at your tables. Swap stories. Swap ideas.
How can you better connect with Generation Z?
Scott Harrison, Charity Water, is an incredible story.
Challenge them to be leaders now, not later.
Focus groups and town hall meetings
Create systems and contexts for students to curate their learning.
Challenge them to do hard things. They want to be challenged.
Flip the narrative. It’s not, “I’m working to the right point.” It’s “I start at the point and imagine the countless possibilities in the world.”
Earn trust every year. People don’t automatically trust you or remain loyal to you. Relationship, relationship, relationship.
[Andrew is sending a pdf of his slides to all roundtable participants.]
[Growing Leaders has a team of student speakers, Andrew, and Tim, if we’re interested in bringing one or more to our campus.]
My Table Mates from Greater Atlanta Christian School:
Rhonda Helms, Elementary Principal
Shane Woodward, High School Principal
Charles Edwards, Middle School Principal
Relevant educators use what is cultural to say what is timeless. Change the bottle to get the water to the students. The water is timeless. The methodology must change to meet the needs of students.
By Julie Diaz, 2018 Winner of the Growing Leaders Award, Principal, Travis High School
By Dr. Gary Davison, Principal, Lambert High School, North Atlanta
By Dorothy Parker-Jarrett, Principal, Summeraur Middle School
Gary, you have prioritized a healthy leadership culture. How did you start that?
I started a new school in the economic downturn of 2008. There was pride among neighborhoods. I went to the neighborhood clubhouses and churches. Could they bring their pride together into this single new school community? I formed student leadership teams. I asked students as young as second graders to be a part of the development team. We developed for student outcomes. Everyone got to weigh-in.
Julie, I love your story. You had built a great culture in a previous school. The superintendent plucked you up and brought you to another school. This is the Houston, Texas area. I didn’t want to go. It wasn’t a place you wanted to go. It was a “hug-a-thug” school. Discipline was a major issue. Disrespect was a huge problem. The superintendent said, “Just lead.” I started modeling good relationships. We listened to students. I had conversations with all of the teachers. What do we do well? What should we focus upon? What do you need from me? I did a 3-minute Habitudes talk on every Wednesday. The culture has been transformed.
Dorothy, talk about your school situation relative to social-emotional learning. There is a lot of diversity. The poverty is generational. I had aspired to be a high school principal. I had never had any middle school experience. But I knew what students needed to be able to do to be successful in ninth grade. We sought to change the culture of the school. We worked hard to hire teachers who looked like the students. I hired bi-lingual front office people. Forty-five languages are spoken at our school.
Gary, kick us off. Talk about the creative things you did which were transferrable to the audience. We wanted to with our core belief that kids will try over and over and over again, if they’re in a culture which is characterized by relationship and trust. We had a variety of staff members “handed to” our school. We sought a unifying theme: “We’re All in This Together.” We started that way. The staff who didn’t buy-in were asked to have “believe-in.” I told them I didn’t care about it they “taught” anything; I cared that the students “learned.” I asked them to come repeatedly at student achievement. Thirty-four staff members are still there. We just hired our 12th student to come back and work with us. It’s very elementary and simple. Love the kids. Tell them you love them. Do whatever it takes to learn. We learn better when we’re loved.
Julie, talk about outcomes. We started an advisory program (15 minutes of the school day). Every student is named, and every student is. claimed. We teach Habitudes. We have Habituesday. We use Josten’s materials. The year I got there we had 3,000+ discipline referrals. Last year, we were down to 900. We’re a very diverse school (25-25-25-25). We listen to the kids. We asked what we did well, what we could do better, what they can do, and what they needed from me. We started an AMBUSH program, with students teaching Habitudes lessons to the ninth graders. Think Ohio State colors. Our school was ugly. They cared about their environment. The students wanted to paint the school. It was going to be $180,000. Such was either a “roadblock” or “toll booth” (a Habitude). The students went to Sherwin-Williams. They got all of the paint donated and did all of the work! We put no ceiling on the kids. I was speechless. They organized and painted the entire downstairs of the school in 10 hours! The students solved the problem! Student leaders rose-up. The kids now take care of the building. Now, they want to do the bathrooms.
Dorothy, talk about outcomes you have enjoyed. We had done a Habitude lesson on “being the change you want to see.” Three girls made an appointment with me. They said, “Our lunchroom food is 100% healthy but 100% flavor-less.” They advocated change in a very professional presentation. They did such a great job. Now, ethnic Mexican Fruit Cups are in our lunch program. It was student-led and -driven.
Let’s talk about student leadership development.
Gary: We’re a high school of 3,000 students. There is anxiety and depression. The pressure is high. It’s a high-achieving school. But what do we do with students who struggle? In the high school schedule, there’s no time. Teachers each have 180 students on their rosters. How could we do something differently to serve the RTI (Response to Intervention) and special needs students? I asked the team to design a program. They looked at how we used our time. We were a traditional 7-period day school. We wanted to make a change. Two things couldn’t change — when students arrive and when they left. The proposal came back with an 8-period day and 1-hour lunch for “lunch and learn.” It seemed crazy. Fifteen hundred kids would be unsupervised for an hour! Our new hybrid schedule included two block days. Teachers now meet with struggling learners during lunch; the students know can get help in any subject. We had less than a 1% failure rate, which has dropped 900%.
Julie: AMBUSH is on its own now. (A group of tigers who come together are known as an “ambush” or streak.) I let my baby go. We did the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. We did a huge Impact Project. Our students collected books for the children who had lost everything. We went out into our neighborhoods to help people whose homes were ravaged by the hurricane.
Dorothy: Will Parker’s 4 C’s resonated with me this morning. We need our communities. Rising sixth graders join with 7th and 8th graders to learn the campus, get previews on math and language arts, and work in our gardens. It’s students leading students, helping students transition to their new school. Community partners fund the program.
One last question: Comment on anything you haven’t had the opportunity to say.
Gary: The key of leadership development is establishing the culture. We, as leaders, need to be reflective, open, and honest. One of our best leaders was our head custodian. He asked his custodians every day, “What are we going to do today to make the learning better for teachers?” I learned from him. My job is to grow leaders. That is my primary responsibility. Such has led to innovation in our school. Fifteen of my assistant principals have gone on to become principals and superintendents.
Julie: People thought I would fail at Travis. I got to hire the head football coach. I needed him on my side. A number of teachers left. I hired people who wanted to learn (white belts, not black belts). I started with the kids. I modeled what I wanted. I went to the heart of the schools with the kids. The student advisory period was integral to cultural change. Kids pressured the reluctant teachers. You’ve got thoroughbreds and donkeys. Stroke your thoroughbreds. They are the people who are going to get the work done. We started small and then grew. We did beta testing — Wednesday’s words of wisdom — which went from audio to video and Habitudes. The kids started talking about the Habitudes. I had the kids. Advisory brought the teachers along.
Dorothy: Today, Andrew was talking about the two narratives. I choose communicating belief and hope to the students. With “over-aged” students at risk of dropping out of high school, we take students through an innovative program which accelerates their learning, so they’re back on-track.
Gary: I take an hour walk every day to do “feedback walks,” after which I offer feedback to others. I’m paid to have fierce conversations with people; you’ve got to be willing to have them; if you don’t, the kids will suffer.
“Creating a Compelling Organizational Culture: The Secret Sauce”
By Dee Ann Turner, Vice-President, Talent Development, Chick-fil-A
[Dee Ann has recently authored It’s My Pleasure.]
It was 10:45 on a Saturday night. Jimmy Collins, President of Chick-fil-A, picked up the phone. Scott, the new franchisee, said he had good news and bad news. Sales were fantastic! But the store was out of chicken! We were out of chicken as a chicken restaurant?! The store leader had quit. The franchisee of a new store was chicken-less and leaderless. Jimmy said, “I’m so glad you’re there to handle it!” And he hung up the phone.
I tried to think of the equivalent in your world. Scott knew what to do. What were the principles he employed to deal with this challenge?
Purpose. Start with the why. Creating an extraordinary culture requires starting with INTENTIONALITY and VISION. We started in 1946 in Georgia. Truett had that 1 restaurant for several years. He incorporated in 1964. The next restaurant started in 1967. Chick-fil-A had its first slump in sales in 1982. He had built the new headquarters. He was heavily in debt. What do companies do in such situations? Cut costs. Reduction-in-force. Truett had to figure out what to do. He took all of his leaders off on a retreat. Truett’s son, Dan, 22, asked why they were in business at all. We came up with “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” That’s the why. The purpose was carved in metal and affixed to a slab of granite. No slumps have ever again occurred. The retention rate of franchisees is 95%. Decide what your why is for you personally — for your entire team.
Mission. What are we here to do? Extraordinary cultures thrive on mission. Be remarkable. Be remarkable with the food, service, and dining experiences. This applies to what you should be doing in schools. The taste should be good. The food is safe. You get your order fast. People are friendly. The experiences should be remarkable, too. Think about Legos. Lego is now more than blocks; there are Lego experiences. Create remarkable experiences in your schools. Because of our successes, our competitors upped their game. So we had to come up with new experiences — i.e., Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Chick-fil-A. Little girls get dressed up for a five-star experience. They can ride in a limousine or horse-drawn carriage in the parking lot. Each girl could get a flower. There may be a strolling violinist or saxophonist. There are conversation starters for Dads. That’s our mission — to be remarkable. Do you think those girls ever forget those nights?! What if you were offering remarkable experiences?! How do you measure when you’re accomplishing it?
Core Values. Determine your core values in advance. These are compelling and fundamental beliefs and behaviors of the organization. The Core Values of Chick-fil-A are excellence, integrity, loyalty, and generosity. You shouldn’t have too many core values. They need to be memorable. And they need to be demonstrated by everyone, especially the leader. We want excellence in all that we do. The exit ramp coming off the highway to our headquarters was littered with garbage from traffic; Jimmy, our President, would stop his vehicle and clean everything up for the municipality. Then, our maintenance staff, did it. There are still guys cleaning that exit ramp. It’s a Core Value. The stories need to be told. Also — integrity — doing what’s right, even when it’s hard. We close on Sunday. When he ran his first restaurant, Truett was tired after 6 days of work. He took Sunday off. And none of the restaurants have opened on Sunday ever since. But we opened in a lot of shopping malls, which challenged Truett, and Sunday was the busiest days for some shopping malls. Truett stuck to this Core Value. It was a conviction of Truett. Chick-fil-A did as much business in 6 days as the other mall restaurants did in 7. It became a non-issue. Truett knew he would have lost his integrity if he had opened 7 days a week. People are as loyal to you as you are loyal to them. Our store leaders and employees know the names, stories, and orders of their customers. When Truett got even more successful, he never forgot the names and stories. He was loyal to them because they were loyal to him. At Chick-fil-A, you can make a mistake, because we developed a long and rigorous selection process of our store leaders. If an employee isn’t performing, it’s important for headquarters to help. What had we done to help? Truett would say, “Try again.” Generosity. The operator agreement itself illustrates the point of generosity beautifully. The fee to join Chick-fil-A is nominal.
Extraordinary guiding principles. Closed on Sunday. Make second mile service second nature. Be privately held and family owned. Treat everyone with honor, dignity, and respect. That’s where “My pleasure” comes from.
Seek far-reaching impact.
That’s the “secret sauce.”
What happened to Scott?
We don’t know what happened. Jimmy didn’t ask. Scott knew what to do. That store is still open today. He found the chicken. He found a leader. He solved the problem. Hire and develop people so you can sleep at night. Say, “I’m glad you’re there to handle it.”
How do you make emotional connections with customers? It’s not just transactional. Don’t be prescriptive. We no longer prescribe the use of large pepper grinders. Know the stories of your customers. We said, “Figure it out.” It’s not just about pepper grinders. In the midst of the crisis of Hurricane Harvey, one of our store leaders in Houston got into a boat with breakfast burritos, because that’s what his regular customer had ordered, and that’s emotional connection.
[Chick-fil-A gifted each roundtable participant with a gift card and copy of her book.]
The Greatest Showman. “Come Alive.” Light your light. Let it burn so right. Dream with your eyes wide open. Don’t hide your face. Get out of the shadows. Reach up to the sky. Come one! Come all! You hear the call! Break free!
“Habitudes for Life-Giving Leaders”
By Dr. Tim Elmore
P.T. Barnam was a showman. He breathed life into people others dismissed.
I want to talk to you about “life-giving leaders.” Some of you might use the term, servant leadership. Life-giving leadership connotes breathing life into others. People become energized.
I’m going to introduce new Habitudes today. We anchor big ideas in pictures.
I am a small town kid from Danville, Indiana. These are some of the greatest places to visit. The food is always good. Everyone knows everybody. And you can find some of the most interesting road signs. We’ve taken pictures of some over the course of decades:
Slow down, or die.
Caution. Water on Road During Rain.
Detour to College. (Spelled detuor)
Beware the balcony is not at the ground level.
Secret Nuclear Bunker
AmIGone Funeral Home
Eat Here. Get gas.
Don’t let worries kill you. Let the church help.
Why did I show those signs to you?
I started teaching high school and college students, but I had not been taught about leadership. I was in the dark, groping. It was a long, dark, winding road with lots of potholes — with zero road signs. There is a great need for road signs on the leadership journeys of students.
As an art major, I came up with pictures to illustrate learning principles. I used these images to teach students, and they remembered the principles. Our next set of Habitudes will pertain to life-giving leadership. I review these ideas, and I need these ideas.
QUARTERBACKS AND REFEREES
Two obvious leaders emerge on the field at football games. The referees are keeping control of the game. The other obvious leader is the quarterback. Every Super Bowl team has an incredible quarterback. We love watching the quarterback. Referees are needed. As I get older, I start throwing flags and making corrections. Quarterbacks provide leadership. Life-giving leaders equip quarterbacks to lead. Be careful that you don’t drift toward the spirit of a referee.
Referees call penalties. Quarterbacks make progress.
Referees are about information. Quarterbacks are about inspiration.
Referees count players on the field. Quarterbacks empower players on the field.
Referees are all about downs and rules. Quarterbacks are all about delegation and results.
Referees keep the ball in bounds. Quarterbacks move the ball forward.
Referees’ aim is to control the players. The quarterback’s aim is to connect with players.
The referees’ goal is maintenance. The quarterback’s goals is the mission.
I went to a soccer game. The coach had all of the right principles. She explained the purposes. She never lost her quarterback mindset.
One of last year’s 21-year-old Growing Leader interns made the comment that she had turned into a referee as editor of her college newspaper. She had gotten to a point of addressing only the errors in proof copies. I hope this haunts you. Are you a quarterback or referee? Your faculty needs a quarterback saying, “We’re moving the ball down the field.”
Sadly, leadership can become about refereeing, not empowerment.
Be transparent and candid with each other.
I want to show you a quarterback. Chris Hogan works at a small Christian school in Texas. He teaches. He coaches. He’s chief cook and bottle washer. One year, his football team played the local juvenile detention center’s team. Hogan had a game plan in mind, and it had nothing to do with football. He sent an e-mail requesting that his fans cheer for these inmates. These young men’s parents would not be at the game. This community “gave.” They made a spirit line for the players to run through. The fans booed bad calls against the visiting team! The home team “won.” But the “losers” celebrated! It gave these young men hope. That’s a quarterback mindset. That was not in a playbook.
In what area of your life have you migrated to a referee mindset? How about your leadership at school — quarterback or referee?
Another Habitude: THREE BUCKETS
As a leader, I am. . .
. . .IN CONTROL. I’ve got to take responsibility. It’s your move. Make a move. You are liberated when you take action.
. . .OUT OF MY CONTROL. I’ve got to trust the process.
. . .WITHIN MY INFLUENCE. I need to respond wisely. I can do something, but I can’t do everything.
Trouble comes when I place people in the wrong buckets.
Life-giving leaders place each experience in the right bucket.
When you get it right, there is peace.
The truth is. . .
Leadership angst often stems from placing experiences in the wrong bucket.
This principle causes trust issues and control issues to surface. Don’t seize control of things that are outside your control.
The most common leadership sin is placing people in the wrong buckets.
I love what John Maxwell said to me once: “The more concerned you become with things that you can’t control, the less you will do to improve the things you can control.”
Do you remember the 2009 Atlanta Public School Scandal? A “marvelous” group of people had been cheating, erasing answers on standardized tests to improve scores. They failed to own the problem and initiate removal of faculty and principals quickly. The leaders did not take control of the situation. They tried to hide the problem, deflecting attention away from 44 of the 56 schools. They tried to spin the story on social media, instead of trusting that truth would prevail. The number one victim was the students. We adults mess things up when we mess up the buckets.
Where is it most difficult to get this bucket thing right?
Another Habitude: SURGEONS AND VAMPIRES
Have you noticed that shows about surgeons and vampires have picked up?! Vampires started with silent black-and-white films. Vampires are perpetrators. Think about surgeons. They take blood. They take blood differently than vampires. Surgeons plan to take the blood and bring healing to the person.
This Habitude relates to giving feedback. We can be vampires when we give feedback. If we don’t have stuff right in our own lives, we’ll vent with others and take blood away from others. There’s a right way and a wrong way to draw bloods. We’ve got to learn how to confront. Criticism must be redemptive.
Do some self-evaluation. Have you ever been criticized by a vampire?
Have you ever been offered hard feedback from a surgeon?
When I am a vampire, I am thinking about me, I may use sarcasm and hyperbole, I look backward, I am consumed with what I get, I attack a person’s character, and it’s short-term gain for long-term pain.
When I am a surgeon, I am thinking about you, I will be careful and accurate, I look forward to healing in the future, I am consumed by what I give, I only remove the cancerous problem, and I hopefully achieve short-term pain for the sake of long-term gain.
What’s behind my comments? Do I offer feedback out of relief or belief? Are you relieving your anger? Or are you having the conversation out of belief in a better way?
Ivy League research was done with middle school students. Helpful feedback increases performance by at least 40% in students. “I’m giving you these comments because I have high expectations of you, and I know you can do them.” We too often browbeat students.
Jim Sportinger was the Principal of an alternative high school in Walla Walla, Washington. The school had a reputation for high-risk kids, disciplinary actions, and suspensions. He took all of the disciplinary problems. He was a surgeon, not a vampire. His life-giving style dropped suspensions by 85%. How’d he do it? He motioned for students to have a seat. The room was calm and quiet. He brought no emotion to the situation. He gave them time to calm themselves. He would say, “Wow. What happened in there doesn’t sound like you — at least not the you I’ve come to I know. Are you okay? What can I do?” Then, 90% of the time, he heard the issues which led to the misbehavior. Deal with root issues. Get the cancer out. Jim had redemptive conversations with each student. Students would return and express remorse to those they had offended.
What have you noticed that surgeons do when they give tough feedback? Actions, tones, words? What’s one change you could make to be more like a surgeon?
A Final Habitude: The Golden Gate Paradox
This bridge was finished in 1937. Construction started in 1934. The unskilled workers were afraid of being on the scaffolding. They believed they were playing Russian Roulette. They asked if a net could be placed beneath them. The foreman was concerned about his timeline. He decided to use a net for the first time in history. They spent a lot of money to build this very large net. The bridge actually got built faster and under budget. The net beneath the workers helped them focus on their work. Are there safety nets you can place beneath your people? We live in a very unique time. Our stress levels are high. We leaders need to place safety nets around the school. Communicate to your students, parents, and staff that these safety nets are in place.
How can we help students work through their stress?
In July, we are releasing an eBook with do-able solutions to the problem of student stress, anxiety, depression, and suicide. We need to start talking to students about focus, rather than multi-tasking. Margin is huge. One school chose how to use “free” time during the schedule — for learning support, yoga, chapel, etc. during 20 minutes prior to lunch. Host focus groups in your school about the issues which are most important to the students — stress, social media, fear of missing out, sexting, harassment, etc. Listen and learn about the issues of stress.
What makes for a strong team culture?
Embrace and value a culture of candor among your team. There must be safety and trust. Model the desired behaviors. If there is an issue, address it immediately, with direct and specific feedback. No one should wonder whether s/he is doing a good job. Leaders ground conflict and anger on behalf of their teams.
What area do you need to “fix” in 2018-2019?
Thank you for being such a great group today.
Tomorrow, Daniel Pink will talk about how to apply his newest book, When.
Friday, June 22, 2018
“Marching Off the Map”
By Tim Elmore
“Be not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep. Be afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” (Alexander the Great)
Organizations rise and fall on leadership. Lions take new territory.
I have been studying Alexander the Great for the past 3 years. I took the phrase, “Marching Off the Map,” from Alexander the Great. He was mentored by Aristotle. He assembled 3 armies and conquered the known and unmapped worlds. He transformed soldiers into mapmakers.
We can’t just trod around territories where we’ve been before. We’ve got to discover more lakes, rivers, mountains, and plains in education.
I want to nudge you to — this next school year — take some risks you might not otherwise have taken. If I just scared you, you’re normal. Human beings are afraid to march into new territories. We feel good about our strengths and what we have already mastered. Remember the colorful old maps. In the upper-left-hand corner of this ancient map pictures a serpent eating a ship. [Dr. Elmore projected the image on the screens.]
It seems like to me there are two kinds of leaders today:
You are either a pioneer, or you’re the settler. For every 1 pioneer, there are usually 10 settlers. I’m nudging you to be a pioneer. High school and college students see educators as too often Settlers. These students don’t believe they are prepared for their futures.
Today’s adolescents have different experiences than past generations:
They’re the first generation that doesn’t need ADULTS to get INFORMATION. As you’re presenting information, they will fact-check you on their devices, if the devices are available.
Today’s adolescents are the first generation that is CONNECTED but POOR AT RELATIONSHIPS. I don’t blame them. We created that world. That’s why we need to concentrate on social-emotional learning.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, adolescents today have the SAME LEVEL OF ANXIETY as a PSYCHIATRIC PATIENT DID IN THE 1950s. The number one word they use to describe themselves is “overwhelmed.” As Andrew mentioned yesterday, 1 in 10 have contemplated suicide. How do we create a sense of peace for students? I think there’s a way.
How do we reduce the stress levels?
Next month, we will be releasing an eBook with 5 specific things we can do to resolve the anxiety of young people. We’ll get that eBook to you.
Our culture has fostered artificial maturity in students. Their maturity looks real, but it’s not real.
Young people are OVER-EXPOSED to information earlier than they’re ready. 90% of pre-school students are now online with devices! That’s not the end of the world, but coupled with the next point, they are under great pressure.
They are UNDER-EXPOSED to first-hand experiences later than they’re ready. When I was a kid, we all had jobs in our teens. Today’s teen is too busy to work. Nothing takes the place of a real-life experience. It’s not their fault. They were born in this time. But we need to introduce more experiential learning — more problem-based and project-based learning. Internships are effective real-world experiences. The learning needs to feel “real” to them.
Artificial maturity in students shows up in the following ways:
Students are COGNITIVELY-ADVANCED but EMOTIONALLY BEHIND.
Students are BIOLOGICALLY ADVANCED but SOCIALLY BEHIND.
Upper School leaders should be conversing with Lower School and Early Education leaders to determine unhealthy roots of younger students which grow and flower at middle school and high school. We should have a common language and understanding of the issues.
We’ve got to work with parents to assist with these issues.
These problems are often an outcome of systems errors; we concentrate so much on academic achievement that we lose sight of the importance of social, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Stress is a part of the world. Some stress is good for growing stamina and perseverance muscles.
Some of these issues have been modeled by these students’ parents. It’s a societal issue.
Stress has contributed to greater levels of student absences. [Staff absences?] Students miss school and then get stressed by the make-up work.
Everything demands the souls of students, i.e., academics, sports, clubs, work, etc.
Sometimes, the problems outside the walls of schools make themselves into the school buildings.
Sleep deprivation is a big issue. Students being on devices in the afternoon and evening is contributing to sleep deprivation. They often delay work on homework until they believe they have exhausted their device use.
The college admissions process also drives some of this stress. Kids are trying to build their college profiles for admission. And they’re stressed. The good profile may be sabotaging the healthy life of the kid.
Margaret Mead is arguably the most famous sociologist in history. She believed in three eras of human society:
A POST-FIGURATIVE SOCIETY. The grown-ups dictated to children, i.e., spouses, jobs, traditions. Tradition was king.
A CO-FIGURATIVE SOCIETY. We entered the modern age. The adults and children figured out things together. Children might have a say in marriage, work, traditions. Our nation was birthed during this era. Reason became king.
Today’s world is a PRE-FIGURATIVE SOCIETY. We are moving into a rapid period of learning, during which the young know where the world is going, rather than the adults. We’re leading schools at a time when the students believe they have a greater intuition than their parents. That’s why we see a growing population of students making the decision about their schooling.
A Reality Educators Must Address with Students:
A psychiatrist in the 1950s and 1960s introduced the terms, internal and external locus of control. This is a reality educators need to address prior to the new school year.
INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL: Students believe they are responsible and in control of their outcomes in life.
EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL: Students believe that fate or external forces control the outcomes in life.
Even though we can agree that life is full of events inside and outside our control, the most successful students have a good sense that they are in control of their outcomes in life. The data shows that we’re trending toward students believing life is operating from an external locus of control. Some parents are controlling their lives so much that the students believe they have no control. My Dad always told me, “It’s up to you.”
What does this external locus of control foster?
A FIXED MINDSET instead of a GROWTH MINDSET. Coaches, you know you don’t win championships with student-athletes dominated by an external locus of control.
Increased ANXIETY and DEPRESSION. When I have control, I feel less stress. When my life is in someone else’s hands, I get anxious and depressed.
Irresponsible PERSPECTIVES that BLAME OTHERS FOR RESULTS. Students will not take responsibility for their poor choices, projecting blame to others.
Talk at your tables for 5-7 minutes. Throw out ideas. What have you observed among students today? What are you doing to address these issues?
Kids have to know what’s in it for them. So many options lay before students.
Give students opportunities to engage in problem-solving skills.
Convince students that you want them to be the best version of themselves, and any decisions by school personnel is for that intent.
Teachers have to convince students that the information in their classes moves beyond what they could otherwise Google.
Solutions to These Challenges
The greatest solution lies with METACOGNITION.
In the 1990s, I was mentoring college students in San Diego, California. In an e-mail message, I thought I had indicated that I would prepare for a learning activity. I had mis-typed U for I in “U can do this.” I had unwittingly empowered my students. They were VERY prepared for the class.
Metacognition is the awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes. It’s essentially thinking about thinking. I believe metacognition is the secret and driving motivation behind all effective learning. It’s essentially forced reflection. Flipped learning has metacognition at its roots. The traditional school system works against metacognition. The teacher is getting paid to talk! Typically, the teacher as “personal trainer” says, “I want you to make sure you learn health and fitness, so stand back and watch as I lift all of the weights for you.”
The Classrooms in Your School
Traditional Pedagogy: Students are outcomes; teachers are commanders; and this pedagogy fosters complacency.
Transformational Pedagogy: Students are creators; teachers are consultants, and the students are digging for their own learning; and this pedagogy fosters contribution of the students.
The very first Division I football program we worked with was The University of Texas. Mac Brown was the coach. Texas had heard about Habitudes. We created Habitudes for athletics. We talked about metacognition. Texas put many of their players in charge of their practices. Colt McCoy, the quarterback, took more control and owned performance in practices and games.
Leave more responsibility in the hands of students.
When we practice metacognition, it results in. . .
A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP.
CLEARER FOCUS AND ENERGY.
Recently, I spent a day at West Point. During that day, I got to talk to officers, sit in classes, and observe “The Thayer Method.” This is a 200-year-old pedagogy. Classrooms are flipped. Instructors are not allowed to lecture. Learning is 100% activity-based. Desks are in squares, facing inward. Students “teach themselves.” They own their learning. The instructors were asking questions about life-and-death situations. It’s not about GPA. It’s about WAR! Introduce The Thayer Method to your faculty.
I have drawn 8 conclusions about effective learning:
Students SUPPORT what they help CREATE. How can you give ownership of a subject by letting students direct the learning?
Students learn better when they expect to TEACH what they learn. This is the essence of “The Thayer Method.” Don’t you learn more when you teach?! My friend George is a college professor who now has his students prepare each other for final examinations; grades have soared as they actually engage their peers. What portions of your topic of ideas can you assign students to teach to peers?
Students are INCENTIVIZED if they know the topic is relevant before-hand. Start with the “why” before even the “what.” How can you share the why behind the what before you teach a subject?
Students bond with an EXPERIENCE more than with a LECTURE. Create experiences for students. In North Gwinnett, student leadership development is a huge priority. The assistant principal meets with a student leadership cadre to critically evaluate what is happening on their high school campus. The students write a curriculum for the new student orientation. The students train mentors. The students teach the new students. Students evaluate the main struggles of students. (Watch the Brene Brown TEDTalk on emotional vulnerability.) The adults act as advisors to the students, who are doing the lion’s share of the work. In what ways can you create an experience from which students can learn?
Students absorb more when more than two SENSES are involved. Sight, sound, touch, smell, etc. Finnish students have grasped and retained more when they didn’t merely listen to lectures, but when they touched, smelled, tasted, and saw the topic in class. How can you cultivate an environment that includes all five senses of the students?
Students understand a larger percentage when they must PRACTICE it. Students learn best “just in time,” not “just in case.” When students immediately apply their learning practically, they learn it best. As a rule, application accelerates learning. How can homework be expanded into enabling students to actually apply the topic?
Students connect with a SUBJECT when allowed to connect with others. Decades ago, Russian psychologists taught that learning occurs best in community — that we learn better in circles than in rows. Life change requires “life exchange.” When could you incorporate smaller discussion communities in your classroom?
Students remember data when an IMAGE is utilized in their learning. A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s the reason we created the Habitudes, images that form leadership habits and attitudes. Pictures are handles for data. How can you leverage a visual, metaphor, or image to anchor your big idea?
Download the free white paper from our website — “In Other Words.”
Talk in your groups for 20 minutes about those 8 statements.
“Is Timing Everything? 4 Lessons for Educators”
By Daniel Pink, the Author of A Whole New Mind, Drive, and When
I live in Washington, D.C. When you say, “Good morning” to someone in D.C., they say nothing; if they do, they say, “What do you mean by that?”
I’ve teased-out 4 lessons directly relevant to educators.
I investigated this topic of “when,” because I was having so many problems with timing in my life. I started looking around for guidance. I found little guidance. But there was a huge amount of research spread across multiple disciplines. The academics were asking similar questions. But they didn’t talk to each other. They were not “pracademics.” What’s the effect of time of day? How do we think about time? I wanted to find evidence-based ways of making decisions in my life.
Let me tell you what I found.
We think of timing as an art. But timing is really a science. We must make decisions on the basis of data.
I asked and addressed many questions in Why:
When should you exercise — early or late?
Why should you never schedule a medical appointment in the afternoon?
Why does beginning your career in a recession depress your earnings 20 years later?
Why are basketball teams trailing by one point at halftime more likely to win than those leading by one point?
Why are you most likely to run your first marathon at 29, 39, 49, or 59? When you get to the end of a decade, you kick a little harder!
When during the year is your spouse most likely to file for divorce? Watch out for August.
So what research is directly relevant to running schools?
Here are my 4 points for you, as educational leaders:
The hidden pattern of the day profoundly affects student performance.
Researchers in different field are finding out these exact-same things.
I’ll give you 2 studies on mood and 2 studies on performance.
We can now make sense of ginormous amounts of data. This is a big deal. We have tools to sift through this information, which is akin to the invention of the microscope 300 years ago. There are patterns in our world we cannot see without data analysis tools.
For instance, the Liguistic Inquiry Word Count program allows researchers to analyze all of the novels of Ernest Hemingway to determine patterns in tense, construction, dialogue, setting.
Two researchers at Cornell University analyzed 500,000,000 tweets — half a billion tweets. 2.4 million users. 84 countries. They analyzed the emotional levels of the words. Tweets are time stamps. Emotional content of the words changed over the course of the day. There was a peak, a trough, and a recovery. The pattern is up, down, and up again.
A psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics analyzed the key episodes of people’s lives, and how they were feeling about these episodes. They charted hundreds of people. There was a peak. There was a trough. There was a recovery. Up, down, up. Up, down, up.
We care about moods, and we also care about performance.
Let’s talk about students in Denmark. They take their standardized tests on computers. There are more students than computers. So everyone cannot take the tests at the same time, and they are randomly assigned to their testing slots. Some take the tests early in the day and some later in the day. It’s a natural research project. Does the time of day have an effect on student performance? For every hour of the day the tests are delayed, the test performance went up. We make decisions about placement of kids in classes based on this data!
In Los Angeles, an analysis of 2,000,000 test scores, schedules, and GPAs of elementary school students determined that having math during the first 2 periods of the school day, instead of the last 2 periods, increased the math GPA of students, as well as their performance on standardized tests.
I am dead-serious. Do not go to the doctor’s office or schedule a surgery in the afternoon! My younger daughter just finished her year of college. She is not getting her wisdom teeth out any other time than the morning! Anesthesia errors are 3 times as possible at 3:00 p.m. than 9:00 a.m.! Hand-washing practices of health care professionals are neglected in the afternoon, which creates infections costing Americans money, time, and sometimes their lives. Doctors find half as many polyps in the afternoon than in the morning through colonoscopies, because they are in an afternoon trough.
Your jobs are so difficult. You’re dealing with so many constituencies, none of whom are always happy all of the time.
Our cognitive abilities change over the course of the day. Period. That’s a big deal. I wish someone would have told me that earlier in my life! We are biological creatures on variable emotional and cognitive landscapes.
Your Daily When
We move through peak, trough, and recovery during a day.
About 15% of us are strong morning people (larks). About 15% are strong evening people (owls). Another two-thirds are a combination. Education probably selects the larks more than owls. Owls reach their peak in the evening.
During our peak, we are more vigilant. We can battle distraction. We should do analytical work at this time. Analyzing data. Writing a report.
During our trough, the time is not good for very much in the afternoon. Here is when we should be doing administrative work. Answering routine e-mails. We don’t need to do a lot of analysis.
During our recovery, we should be seeking insight problems. Brainstorming.
If you’re an owl, it’s more complicated. But systems in schools are difficult for owls.
That’s the design principle based on a rich body of evidence. Here’s the problem. We don’t do this!
I’m a writer. I should write in the morning. The greatest enemy of writing is distraction. I should do that work when I’m highest in vigilance. But we get distracted. E-mail. Hunger for a snack. Twitter. ESPN. It’s lunch time! I haven’t done my main work.
If you think I’m bad, think about this country’s organizations. When do we schedule meetings? When people are available. When rooms are available. Shouldn’t we determine what we want to accomplish during the meeting it is before we schedule it?! We don’t take the questions of when seriously enough, and this has an effect on people’s lives.
Beginning conditions matter a lot. The earlier a kid gets a world-class education, the better his life over the long-run. Doing this wrong especially hurts lower-income kids than higher-income kids.
This is about intentionality. We have curriculum, hiring practices, professional development. When it comes to the when, we don’t think of it intentionally. But it matters!
Time-of-day effects can explain 20% of the variance in human performance on cognitive tasks. We can do something about that!
Here are the take-always:
Be much more deliberate and intentional about the when of learning. Scheduling isn’t just about convenience. It’s also about performance.
Where possible, especially with elementary school students, move analytic work to the morning.
We underestimate the power of breaks.
Here’s a chart of parole judges’ decisions in Israel. [Daniel Pink projected a chart on the screen.] Judges are more lenient after taking a break, i.e., late-morning after a break, mid-day, and early-afternoon. This is alarming! People appear at random times, and their fate depends upon the length of prior hearings.
The science of breaks is where the science of sleep was 15 years ago. People who didn’t sleep were previously seen as rock stars. Now, we see those people as idiots who hurts their own performance and other people’s performance. Breaks are extraordinarily important to performance.
Danish kids took 20-30 minute breaks, and test scores improved average test scores. Give your kids a quick break and exercise prior to standardized tests.
We know a lot about breaks now. Something means nothing. Even a micro-break helps. Tiny breaks can improve performance. Fight for your breaks. Moving beats stationary. Social beats solo; break with other people. Outside beats inside; nature replenishes extraordinarily. Fully detached beats semi-detached. Talk about something else other than work. That all sounds like recess!
Don’t think of breaks as deviation from learning. Think of them as part of learning. Breaks are a part of work. Athletes know this.
Schedule breaks the way you’d schedule anything else that is important. You need to engage in self-care. Be less in self-denial. Breaks are a big part of your self-care and performance. You’ll serve your teachers and students better.
Fight for recess, not as a nicety, but as a necessity. Of course, we need breaks to help students feel better and learn more. Adding recesses boosts test scores. We add recess in the name of rigor.
Give teachers a break. No breaks contribute to teacher burn-out.
I’m a writer. I like to read widely in fiction and non-fiction. I read a lot of magazines. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention pointed to a phenomenon which was affecting health and even morbidity of teenagers. Starting school early was the issue. This is a big deal. Beginnings matter more than we realize. Beginning school early is an exceptionally bad idea.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement which indicated that school should not start earlier in the day than 8:30 in the morning.
Our chronotypes change. Younger kids can learn well earlier in the morning. Chronotypes change at adolescence. It’s not because they’re lazy. They’re teenagers! Their chronotypes are biological and inevitable, hurting their academic performance. We should be starting school later. You could start school at 9:15 or 9:30. This is incredibly controversial! We typically do not mess with beans (lunch), basketball (athletics), and buses (transportation).
Lower drop-out rates, higher test scores, less depression, fewer car accidents, and cost-effectiveness are the results, and the effects are stronger for struggling learners. The evidence is overwhelming. It’s not a close call.
End the madness.
Seriously, end the madness.
Synching kids are thinking kids.
Research by Oxford University focused on young children being taught to play rhythmic games. Children on the same swing set were synched and not synched. Children who were in sync — in unison — were happier and more open to play with kids not like them — and more open to helping the teachers — and were physiologically more healthy and able to deal with pain. You can’t fake the physiological.
Choral singing boosts all of these psychological and physiological benefits! Exercise boosts our mood and sensitivity. Exercise wins the gold. Choral singing wins the silver. It is so good for you on every dimension of your live. Meditation is really good for you, winning the bronze.
When we synchronize with other people, we have incredible positive effects.
Understand the core principle; synchronizing with others makes us feel good and do good.
Encourage younger children to play synchronous games in the. classroom and on the playground.
More schools should have choir! Use choirs not only to teach music but to build community.
One of my teachers starts with worship. Kids raise their hands. I go every morning. What a great way to start my day. The kids bond. Faith-based schools do this. Group singing is a part of this.
Any data about the effects of breaks for secondary students? There’s not a lot of research on high school.
Have your students eat outside, if possible.
There is unequivocal research on breaks. How we apply that research in schools varies. Educators need to act more like scientists. I’d be stunned to learn that high school breaks wouldn’t be advantageous.
[We all received a copy of his his book, When.]
Wasn’t that good and rich? Dan did exactly what we needed. Please take his ideas — and his book — back to your schools, and try even one new idea. Insert margins in the day. One high school in Georgia added 20 minutes before lunch for “recess” (essentially). The same high school changed from a 7:30 start to the 8:25 start, and it has “made a huge difference.”
I have loved being with you during these two days. Thank you for carving these days out during a busy month. If there is any way we can serve us, let us know. We really want to serve you. It’s not a pitch.
I want to talk to you about being Chief Culture Officers. That’s who you are. You are culture shapers.
What does it mean to be a culture shaper?
You’ve got to be intentional about advancing positive culture. Culture works like the tide. When the tide goes up, the boats go up. When the tide goes down, the boats are docked.
Why you do something will ultimately determine what you do as a leader. Be in your job for the right reasons. Your motivation will determine your culture. Do regular motive checks. We want to raise-up a generation of student leaders.
Common Motivations of School Administrators
Commanders. They want control. They like control. Their motivation is to empower students. They are often control freaks. They leverage power. Everything is in Bucket 1 — They believe literally everything is within their control.
Kings. Do the right thing. Avoid problems. Stay in power. Compliance. These school leaders keep their jobs until they retire.
Celebrities. Celebrities love credit in their prime. They want recognition. They want credit. Something wonderful at the school always seems to be traced by to the principal getting the credit. It’s all about team, though.
A Good Motive
Connector. The leader connects team leaders. . .
To a “cause,”
To other people on the team,
To their strengths, and
To the leader relationally.
The public school system is traced to Horace Mann, who sought to prepare kids with the norms of society to do their work. Schools were factories.
As a Poet-Gardener, stay connected to your people.
Think about how you can be a connector in your community.
Don’t lose heart when you’re swimming upstream. Our students deserve it.
One of my favorite sports stories is from 1929. In the Rose Bowl, pitting Georgia Tech against The University of California-Berkeley, seconds before the end of the first half, a Cal player named Roy picked up the ball, making a mad dash to the wrong end zone. The fans were screaming. He got tackled by his own teammate just short of the opponents’ goalline. He realized what happened. To put it lightly, he was embarrassed, humiliated. He had to face his teammates and fans. They trotted into the locker room. He sat down and stared at the concrete. What happened in the next several minutes was profound. A very good life-giving leader, the coach, gave a pep talk and didn’t refer to Roy. He wanted all of the starters to begin the second half. All of the players left the locker room. The humiliated player was seated. He didn’t think he could face the fans. The life-giving coach sat next to him, looked him right in the eye, and said, “Roy, if you don’t go out there, this is all they are going to remember. This is your chance to give everything you can. You can do this.” That turned Roy’s mind around. He would do it. His coach said it was the best half he had ever seen played. The next year, Roy was an All-American and captain.
I don’t know how your career has gone. You may not think you have what it takes. But if you quit now, this will be all people remember. Get it right, in spite of what’s going on in the school. Build leaders. Build social/emotional learning. More than that, would you emulate this life-giving coach for students, parents, and staff. Sit down next to people who are hurting. Tell them “you’ve got a second half.” Let’s not lose heart. Thank you for letting us share these last few days.