In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the final topic is on sharpening the saw.
An interesting quote by Abraham Lincoln was shared: "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening the axe." The idea is preparing for the long game, and to get ahead and stay ahead of the curve. An example was also shared ... tending to the garden. This is not a single day activity, but a daily activity if it is to be a successful and flourishing garden. This habit is about learning, growing, experiencing.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of sharpening the saw, my commitment is to continue to be a supporter of life-long learning. I will strive to look for ways to stay current in my profession, and encourage my peers to seek opportunities to enhance their skill-sets. We can keep the saw sharp by continiously learning, from one another, through workshops, and other available means.
The idea that I'll stop when I am dead holds true, especially with this habit of sharpening the saw. If I am not learning, if I am not growing, I'll be stuck in place and the world, and those unique experiences, will pass me by. The saw must remain sharp, to be effective in both the personal and professional realms.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on synergizing.
The first five (5) Habits of Highly Effective Learners leads into the sixth habit: synergy. An image was shared as part of the lecture to demonstrate this idea of synergy. We need to see ('I value differences in others'), which allows us to do ('I seek a third alternative'), which allows us to get ('I achieve better solutions').
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of synergy, my commitment is to create teams to look at opportunities and work together to find the best solution for that opportunity. Too often we rely on a top-down approach to problem-solving, and do not set enough chairs at the table. I believe in listening to opinions and experiences of others, talking through those opinions, and coming together to solve a problem.
There is a reason why we look for the best and brightest to educate our scholars. It is time to ensure they have a voice in some of the operations as well. It is time to value their unique experiences and perspectives, and bring the concept of synergy to the organization.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on seeking first to understand, then be understood.
The idea of a collective monologue was shared, where two (or more) people are trying to be understood at the same time. They do this by either talking over one another, or letting one person talk while they formulate their response. In both instances, the person who should be listening is not actually listening, but preparing to talk. This limits, maybe perhaps even stops, the ability to understand the conversation. An idea was shared to combat this; empathetic listening. Rather than judging, probing and even advising, the idea is to reflect ... reflect on feeling, on meaning. It reminds me of a program I ran as an undergraduate at Central Michigan University: The David Garcia Project. This program attempted to show students how to be empathetic, rather than sympathetic, but pushing understanding.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of seeking first to understand, then be understood, my commitment is to take the time to understand, not only the nuts and bolts of programs, but on the thoughts and opinions of my team. I will strive to give everyone at the table a voice, a forum to be heard, in a non-threatening atmosphere. I will ask questions to ensure I understand the concept, and work to faciliate understanding among those assembled for that topic.
There is no greater feeling than that of being heard, knowing that the opinion you have to share has been shared and understood.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on thinking win-win.
The lecture was interesting and spot on ... win-win is not compromising, rather, finding a better way. In a compromise, neither party truly wins, rather, they lower expectations and 'win.' But that is not a win-win solution. In a win-win scenario, conversations occur to think of a creative way for all the non-negotiables to be realized. A great analogy was shared ... "Its not you or me. Its not a matter of who gets the bigger piece of pie. There's more than enough for everyone." What a great concept.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of thinking win-win, my commitment is to come to the table with ideas for a solution, and to be open to listening to the ideas that others also bring to the table. I believe in sharing our solutions, and working together to meld the ideas into what may work best or shelving all the ideas altogether and coming up with something that does work. The bottom line is to be open to feedback, to differing opinions, and talking through how the ideas can truly work to provide the most robust solution. I will not negate or downplay the ideas of others, but appreciate they come to the table with well thought-out solutions of there own ... knowing that at the end of the day, we both want the same thing: a solution that works.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on putting first things first.
A great quote by Steven Wright was shared to help put this habit into perspective: "I watched the Indy 500 and I was thinking that if they left earlier they wouldn't have to go so fast." A novel idea! It really goes to the notion of time management and how an individual manages their time. After all, there continue to only be 24 hours in a day. Covey talks about time management and this notion of putting first things first through the illustration of four (4) quadrants: urgent & important, not urgent & important, urgent & not important, and not urgent & not important. He shared that many people spend time in the last two (bottom two) quadrants, as opposed to the first two (top two). The idea then is to refocus our efforts and prioritize our time. I have actually seen an example that comes to mind ... a peer charter school leader only reads and responds to eMails twice a day. During the rest of the day, you receive an out of office message that shares this concept, and notes that if this is urgent, to call. Otherwise, he has a focus and plan for his day.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of putting first things first, my commitment is to start to prioritize my day and week. To ensure I am working on meaningful tasks that are not urgent & important, because that means I have properly mapped out my time and am able to ensure my focus is on the important work at hand as opposed to what is urgent because proper planning did not take place.
Understanding what needs to happen first will ensure time can be properly used, properly managed. Understanding this will help lower stress and maximize all the available hours in the day.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on starting with the end in mind.
An interesting thought in the lecture was on thinking by Jerry Peterson, where the connection between beliefs (what I say) and actions (what I do) is reliability. And the connection between actions and results (the consequences of my action) is character. Finally, the connection between results and beliefs is authenticity. This ties into the habit of having the end in mind, as they are the pieces that tie to understanding a vision: a personal vision, a professional vision. One must first have a vision - the end, and to inspire others to join that vision they should be able to show they are reliable, have character and are authentic. Why follow someone who is not reliable, or has no character. Why be part of their vision for the future, whether that is a vision for yourself or the organization you are part of.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of starting with the end in mind, my commitment is ensure first and foremost that I understand where I want to go in my personal life. I need to know who I am, what makes me me. And from there, have a vision for the organization I am part of. Rather than force others to work on that vision, my commitment is to show I am a reliable, authentic partner on that journey. I am hopeful the staff at AAS see this commitment, as it is a driver in how I operate. I hope they know I am being authentic, that they see and understand my character. And that they want to be part of a journey meant to positively impact the lives of our scholars.
I also appreciate that creating a personal vision statement is empowering, and I am excited to work with our teams to create personal visions, department visions, and find ways to support the overall AAS vision, one that we collectively created as a group in the spring of 2016.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on being proactive.
Covey said it best: "I am the captain of my life. I can choose my attitude. I'm responsible for my own happiness or unhappiness. I am in the driver's seat of my destiny, not just a passenger." To be proactive then is to take control ... control of the steering wheel, and choosing the route(s) to the final destination. It was shared in a lecture that Sonya Friedman said we only have power over three things: "what you think, what you say, how you behave ..." It all fits - take control of the steering wheel.
As I reflect on this habit, to be proactive, I think of the times I've waited for something to happen, to be pushed to react and respond. My staff have shared recently they sometimes feel like firefighters, because we have not been proactive with some of the roll outs of our programs and systems. We have reacted and been pushed to respond. I would rather get to the point where we know the final destination and are on the path to reach that destination. It is OK to make adjustments based on the reality of the day, of course, but the destination must be reached. I was reading How to Create a Culture of Achievement by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Ian Pumpian, and in the book they shared the notion of being in a marathon. And in the marathon, it is OK to run it, to walk it, to take baby steps. It is OK not to be moving forward.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of being proactive, my commitment is to create road maps through involved and proper planning. We will know the destination, and understand the 'why' of trying to reach that destination. And we will involve folks along the way, to give input and create understanding of that road map. We will live the hashtag that we preach so much #teamworkmakesthedreamwork. I am committed to ensuring my teams have the tools to be proactive and are not set up for failure. This starts at AAS at the senior management level, and will work its way through the ranks of the organization. We will start to create road maps and have conversations on those maps during the weekly senior management team meeting division meetings.
It's time to take control of the steering wheel, and let everyone know the destination. Just like the family vacation, we will create the road map together and reach that final destination, together.