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Staying Curious

by Melody Stacy

 

Curiosity killed the cat.

A useful illustration of why we shouldn’t be nosing around in situations that don’t involve us? Maybe. But as leaders, we may want to take a different perspective.

Curiosity sparks the trust, growth, and joy.

Certainly not as catchy. But this version is leadership gold.

Curiosity is a powerful mindset.

We were all born with an inquisitive approach to our world that, unfortunately, tends to dwindle as we age. As we move along in our careers, things like our ego can completely squelch any remaining glimmer.

Be curious, not judgmental. - Walt Whitman

If we can nurture this pilot light, we can spark many powerful elements for ourselves and our teams.

Stay curious a little bit longer.

One way to nurture curiosity is to focus on asking questions. As we do, we are forced to slow down, unlocking a simple yet powerful leadership strategy.

When we listen more and talk less, we can avoid missteps while building empathy....

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The Ebb and Flow

constructive impact tips Aug 09, 2022

by Melody Stacy

 

The sun-kissed, rejuvenated faces bouncing in to check rosters and decorate classrooms. The fresh-faced anticipation of what’s yet to unfold, open to possibilities and wonder.

Ever wondered how we might bottle up all the incredible energy that’s flowing at the start of the school year? And then spread it around during the inevitable dog days of mid-year?

The obvious answer is we can't.

Change is inevitable.

When we not only understand but embrace the natural cycle of a school year, with all of its emotions and shifts, we can truly find freedom in enjoying the here and now for whatever it brings.

We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of time and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

...

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Is Your Email a Progress Trap?

communication impact tips Apr 05, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Has technology really made day-to-day communication easier? 

Most would never choose a return to the days of the fax machine or expensive phone calls in favor of the wonderful ability to instantly FaceTime a daughter across the country or text congratulations to a friend in another country.

But what about the vast amount of undesirable and expectation-laden messages you receive every day?

We create a progress trap when our ingenuity is used to solve one large problem that inadvertently causes new problems that affect our quality of life.

The taming of fire, creation of cities, and industrial revolution all led to lurches forward, while each improvement also brought with it progress traps.

Email

Imagine a week without receiving an email. It's certainly an attractive thought, right? 

However, anyone who can recall sending multiple faxes or waiting weeks for a signed form to...

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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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Make it Easy for Them to Hire You

communication impact tips Dec 20, 2021

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Are you updating a cover letter and resume for an upcoming dream position?

Most applications are now requested and submitted online. Seems easy enough.

Here's a tip to avoid one of the biggest mistakes you might make when applying for this dream position.

Make it easy for them to hire you.

Have you ever printed a number of similar-looking items and had to put them in the proper order? Perhaps it was a year of utility bills for taxes or a pile of medical receipts that needed to be itemized for reimbursement? Think about the time and care it took you to get them in their proper order.

Now consider how little time an admin assistant or secretary has when printing attachments received in an application package.

How will your hard work be ordered and represented in the short-listing meeting?

What package will be sitting in front of the members of the interview committee if you get to that final step in the hiring process?

A Simple Solution

Email is a common...

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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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The Highlight Reel: The Stories We Tell Ourselves

compassionate impact tips Oct 06, 2021

 by Aubrey Patterson

 

In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article that found the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, of which 80% are negative, and 95% were repetitive thoughts from the previous day.

Our minds too often focus on the negative, and even worse, create a playlist that loops all day long.

Another study that same year (Leahy, Study of Cornell University), identified 85% of our worries never materialize and that 97% of our worries are baseless.

Now, not all negative thoughts are created equally. Being aware of danger can help us survive, but most negative thoughts are wasted mental calories, serving only to create pessimism and useless drama.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habit.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. (Lao Tzu)

 

So how can we surface and nurture positive...

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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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