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The 2-Minute Rule

constructive impact tips Jan 04, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Is your mind filled with both the little and big things that need to be done?

Do you cringe or uncomfortably joke about the number of emails in your inbox?

The 2-Minute Rule

The 2-minute rule is a simple strategy for those with complex goals and a ton of stuff coming at them.

There are many variants of the 2-minute rule but the original source is David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. At the core of the GTD Method is the main tenet that we should get everything out of our heads and into a paper or digital system.

If a task will take less than two minutes, then the time spent adding it to a system will exceed the time it takes to complete the task. Logically, we should just complete the task.

If the next action can be done in two minutes or less, do it when you first pick the item up…The rationale for the two-minute rule is that it’s more or less the point where it starts taking longer to store and track an item than to deal with...

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Let's Brighten 2022!

by Melody Stacy and Aubrey Patterson 

 

It’s that time of year.

A time for deep introspection.

A time for a celebration of the hopeful optimism of all that’s possible in the new year.

Interwoven into the fabric of all great leaders is an unrelenting commitment to be even better. What naturally follows is reflection and unwrapping how we’ve performed as leaders.

As we consider where we are in our leadership journey, it’s tempting to start setting goals for the new year since we’re conditioned to measure “all the things.”

But this year, we may want to focus on setting our identity rather than setting new goals.

Ask what kind of leader you hope to be. There is powerful inertia in this reframe.

Do you want to become a great leader? We can begin by being a leader who…

is compassionate, showing curiosity and seeking to understand;
 is constructive, being intentional with our time;
is courageous, modelling and building...

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What is Your Team Saying to Those Closest to Them?

by Melody Stacy

 

What do conversations at holiday family gatherings have to do with our school cultures? And how do they inform us as leaders?

Imagine any number of these exchanges. What do you hear?

Adoration of the youngest, questions about the health of the oldest, updates on recent relationships, and hobbies are sure to be on the greatest hits.

And inevitably comes the question, "So how is your work going?"

Full stop.

Because the answer that follows matters. And it matters a great deal to those of us leading.

What your team is saying to those closest to them is the true test of your culture.

You might be thinking, "But I'm not at those events. How do I know what they're saying?"

If we listen closely, we'll hear.

Are our team members saying things like this?

Gosh, my work is difficult, but my team is energetic and supportive. And I love working alongside them!

 My principal sure does expect a lot, but you know what? I feel valued and I know she believes in me?

 ...

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A More Thoughtful Yes or No

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Have you noticed how it's become very popular in social media to encourage us to say "no" to anything new?

Build and fortify boundaries. Guard them fiercely with a no.

We all get this. None of us are tone deaf to the emotions that accompany the uncertainty and fears in recent times.

And truth be told, we proudly subscribe to the hell yeah or no! framework of Derek Sivers. We also coach leaders using the cliché if you never say "no", what's the value of your yes?"

No rarely does harm.

No offers a measure of control to a day that seems increasingly out of control.

However, this emphasis on the power of no makes it more likely that our skepticism or fatigue will cloud new opportunities.

It's becoming far too easy to stop listening to that inner voice that might otherwise be attuned to a propitious idea.

When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare. (John Wooden)

Every opportunity comes with challenges. And those challenges are...

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Empowerment can’t be taken away

constructive courageous Nov 15, 2021

by Aubrey Patterson

 

A leader who doesn't empower people to dig into issues or take the time to build commitment almost always creates a culture of parking lot conversations and hallways filled with whispered negativity.

Power illuminates strengths and weaknesses in areas that can be improved, like skills and tasks. And it also illuminates those things ingrained in leaders that are very likely to never change like empathy, integrity, and engagement.

With great power comes great responsibility. (Voltaire)

It can be difficult to identify those who have the qualities necessary to both pursue and nurture an exceptional culture.

The founders of Western Philosophy (Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato) subscribed to a belief wherein the few wisest should be permitted to rule. One problem is, of course, gaining agreement on who is the wisest.

But even if we could choose the wisest leaders, what if the person with power lacks integrity or is simply an unkind or apathetic person?

Herein lies...

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A How to Match Our Why

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Jerry walked into the new principal's office and nonchalantly offered a leadership gem that would reframe every future conversation in the school about mission, vision, and values.

He shared a huge smile and opened with a simple, "I'm Jerry."

The new principal returned the smile, introduced himself, and asked awkwardly, “I’m sorry, Jerry, but what do you do?”

Jerry's face brightened even more. “I help the kids learn by keeping things clean around here and making sure everyone can safely get around."

A how to match our why.

How many adults in our schools could finish this stem?

I help kids learn by ____.

Perhaps we want to include part of our current mission statement and let each adult complete a sentence that ties them to the why of the school or district?

I help kids learn and become an exceptional citizen in a vibrant school by _____.

Shouldn’t everyone working in education be able to easily complete these statements?

...
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It’s complicated … or is it?

by Melody Stacy

 

Are you ready for a pop quiz?

No?

Good. It wouldn’t be a pop quiz if you were.

Ready or not, here we go ...

  1. As school leaders, should we love our staff or have high expectations for them?
  2. Should we be the confident leaders in our school or should we have empowered teachers?
  3. As a team, should we celebrate our accomplishments or succumb to a sense of urgency to improve?
  4. Should we approach our work tightly aligned to our vision and goals or give loose autonomy for people be themselves?

Did you have a hard time choosing?

Good. That's the point.

As leaders, we are faced with countless decisions bringing infinite implications every day. Many of those decisions seem very complex and often seem to force a choice between contradictory options.

The most important aspects of our work don't fit into nice, neat checkboxes.

What if embracing the paradox could bring about freedom and clarity while helping us pursue greatness?

When we are comfortable mired in...

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It All Starts … and Ends With YOU

by Melody Stacy

 

A positive leader, in the purest form, is someone who influences the people and environment around them for the better.

We all want to be such a leader and, on our best days, are actively seeking ways to continually improve and amplify our impact.  

We are all capable of being powerful change agents within our organizations. Eliminating blame, victim thinking, complaining, and procrastination are all important in our personal and work lives.

Interested in actionable steps to help break the ever-so-easy, downward spiral that we can get caught in and instead lead a more impactful and rewarding life?

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Holding ourselves accountable to asking the opportunity-driven, rather than incorrect, questions will ensure results and move us forward on our path to greatness. In the book, QBQ!...

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Meeting Déjà Vu: We Talked About This Last Year, Right?

by Aubrey Patterson

 

The Faculty Meeting: Meritocracy vs Efficiency

Here’s a scenario that many will recognize ... 

It's 4:23 PM. Seven minutes before the faculty meeting is scheduled to end.

The agenda item is very familiar to the veterans in the faculty meeting who had lived it many times before: End of Year BBQ.

Everyone is confident it will take only a few minutes to sign up for tasks and get out with a few minutes to spare.

Mike

But Mike is new. He innocently and cautiously puts the efficiency of this well-worn item in peril, wondering aloud about the Start of the Year BBQ that would follow in a couple months.

Just a question and I know I am new here, but given we do the same kind of event to start and end the year--which I’m totally good with, it’s so cool--um, could we prepare the set-up of the non-food materials once for both events? We could even purchase the food in the spring for both June and August. It might save us a lot of work in...

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Say the Why, Lead the Way

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Imagine giving your family a 1000 piece puzzle this Thanksgiving.

You show a beautiful picture that adorns the box, then empty the pieces onto a large table, and say how much fun this will be. 

Everyone is excited to get started.

Perfect!

So, feeling a sense of accomplishment, you leave and take the box with you. 

Say the why, lead the way

It’s certainly valuable to identify our why

We encourage this for individuals and teams. 

But with a caveat ...

Our why is a point of demarkation and a reference guide, but not a finish line. 

Too many leaders stop with why and walk away with the vision, losing their team once the work begins.  

He who thinks he leads but has no followers is only taking a walk. (John Maxwell)

Leadership is more than mountaintop moments and trendy declarations. It requires us to be...

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