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Conference Aha’s from APTi 2013 in Miami

Slide01I’m just returning from the 20th Biennial Association for Psychological Type International Conference. Jerry Black, Conference Chair, challenged everyone to come up with an “aha” for each session they attended. Those who wrote them down were even eligible for prizes. Big ones!

I decided to organize my top three aha’s into an acronym—ALPs. Besides helping me remember these actionable learnings, the acronym reflects that the conference, which went quite smoothly, was a bit of a peak experience for me as Program Chair.

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  • Action Tomorrow. Susan Nash of Em-Power and Type Academy (which houses all kinds of great type resources) opened the conference with a great keynote on ensuring that your message reaches people with different learning styles. The last step in her TEACH process involves helping people identify how they can make immediate use of new knowledge.
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Boundaries, Barriers, or Limiting Beliefs?

P1040304Co-active coach Cynthia Loy Darst kicked off the ICF Midwest Coaching Conference, “Breaking Boundaries,” by asking us to think about the differences between boundaries, bariers, and limiting beliefs. Here’s what my table came up with:

Boundaries that we set ourselves can be extremely healthy. For leaders, boundaries can:

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  • Help us know when to say yes and when to say no
  • Create healthy workplaces for ourselves and for those we lead
  • Define our goals in purposes in ways that allow us to move forward
[/list] In contrast, barriers keep us from doing things. They can be external, whether imposed by others, by society, by circumstances, by prejudices, or by very real factors such as professional standards or our own health concerns or constraints on time or money.

Leaders need to examine barriers by asking questions such as:

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Avoiding Educator “Summer Slide”

The Perfect Place for Professional Development in the Summer? Your Own Favorite Spot!

The Perfect Place for Professional Development in the Summer? Your Own Favorite Spot!

We all know about the “summer slide,” the fact that many children’s reading and math skills slip back over the months they are not in school. But what about the adults in your school community? What about you? Was your school year so draining that you are thinking a 10-week break from any thought of lessons or students or whiteboards might be your best plan for the summer? Are you feeling duty-bound to read certain recommended books or articles on pedagogy? Is summer when you pursue your own content-related passions? Or, are you still wincing from falling short of the goals you set for last summer?

Rather than have summer resemble the guilt of failed New Year’s Resolutions, consider how you might use the research on motivation to recharge your batteries and be ready to reboot your classroom in the fall with new enthusiasm. In Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink lays out three important factors.

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Any Initiatives Not Working?

P6141528Three times this weekend, friends relayed tales of woe regarding initiatives, strategies or decisions that aren’t working. All in casual conversation.

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  • An accountability test for science is given to students with disabilities via computer voice. The computer mispronounces words such as “wind” and “lead” so that question meanings are changed. And students can’t adjust volume once it is set, even though portions are so loud that they pull off their headphones
  • Late in the year, teachers are asked to add a specific read-aloud to their curriculum to prepare for a school-wide event. Not only will it keep some teachers from finishing key curriculum units, but as they preview it, several do not believe it is age-appropriate
  • District-wide cuts in school office staff hours are made without consulting office staff workers. Turns out, several key personnel will not be in the office during the traditionally busiest weeks of the year.
[/list] All three of these situations are the result of two common leadership imbalances:

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The Platinum Rule for Leaders

Top-Down Leadership? Or Leadership that Meets Needs?

Top-Down Leadership? Or Leadership that Meets Needs?

The Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, can be a bad leadership move. Not everyone likes the things you like, sees things the way you see things, or approaches change the way you approach change. The Platinum Rule is far more effective, far more difficult for leaders to follow:

[quote align=”center” color=”#586881″]Treat others in the way they would like to be treated[/quote]

Set aside thoughts like, “People don’t always know what is good for them” or, if you’re in education, “Students would only opt for fun.”

Instead, ponder the findings of my colleagues Linda Kirby and Nancy Barger. Their book The Challenge of Change in Organizations flowed from their research involving over 2,000 people. Their summary:

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