Friday, December 30, 2016

4 Steps to Make your New Year's Resolution STICK this Year

Another year is coming to an end, and now it's time to make that dreaded New Year's Resolution.  That means it's time to lose weight, be a better person, do something different that you haven't done before. You know.  Make a promise that chances are you probably won't keep.


The reason that New Year's Resolutions rarely work is because they lack structure, and they are rarely SMART.

  • Strategic, 
  • Measureable, 
  • Attainable, 
  • Results-Oriented and 
  • Timebound

Furthermore, they don't consider your hierarchy of real priorities.

  1. Spiritual or Emotional Health
  2. Physical Health
  3. Family Unit Health
  4. Professional Health
At the end of the day, you must be healthy mentality and emotionally before you can tackle your health, your family unit, or even your professional growth.

When you fail to plan, you make a plan to fail, so this year, let's make a plan, but let's make it comprehensive.  After all, if you want to succeed in your growth, you've got to make a plan to make it happen.

4 Steps to Make your New Year's Resolution STICK this Year

1.  Spiritual or Emotional Health
  • What kind of growth would you like to see in yourself emotionally?
  • What specifically will you do to strengthen your faith or spiritual health? (Bible study, books, podcasts, church, seeking counsel from a friend, mentor or advisor)
  • How many times per week will you do that and for how long each time?
  • How will you know if you have reached your goal?
  • Who will be your accountability partner to ensure that you do it?
  • Make a calendar appointment or set alarms NOW to remind yourself to do it.

2. Physical Health
  • What do you want to change about your health?
  • What type of exercise do you want to engage in to accomplish it?
  • How many times per week will you work out and for how long each time?
  • Who will be your accountability partner to ensure that you do it?
  • Make a calendar appointment or set alarms NOW to remind yourself to do it.

3. Family Unit Health
  • What is the goal that you want to have for your family unit?
  • How will you accomplish that goal?  Date nights, family picnics or excursions, family dinner, etc).
  • Where will you schedule this into your calendar?
  • How will members of your family ensure that you do it?
  • Make a calendar appointment or set alarms NOW to remind yourself to do it.

4. Professional Health
  • List the 5 - 10 things that you want to get better at in your work?
  • Out of the list, name ONLY the top 2 things that will benefit your professional growth most.
  • Make a plan to dedicate your time to improve in those 2 target areas?
  • Who will be your accountability partner to ensure that you do it?
  • How will you know when you've reached your goal.
  • Make a calendar appointment or set alarms NOW to remind yourself to do it.

Resolutions Start with Structure and Sustain with Decluttering
If you want your resolution to succeed, you have to start, and then you must remember to give yourself permission to say NO to anything that doesn't fit into your top 4 priorities.  In this world of perpetual busyness, we lose sight of our real business which is self-improvement and making a small dent in the universe.  SMART and structured resolutions work when we ensure their success by accompanying them with accountability.  

Don't make this New Year's Resolution become another one that you add to the list of failures from years before.  Make 2017 a year that you and those around you will never forget.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The 8 Accelerators of Change

Change is the driving force in progressive organizations, but in the hands of the wrong leader, it's more of a wedge than a force. That is the funny thing about change. It is successful only if the leader remembers that his job is not to make the change but to create a culture that instinctively and continuously changes each and every day.

Great leaders become great only after they understand that their first job is to create a culture that thrives on purposeful change.  In fact they embrace the fact that culture is the accelerator of change.  Toxic cultures avoid change by taking their foot off of the pedal and slamming the brakes, but excited and engaged cultures not only push the gas.  They put the pedal to the metal.

The 8 Accelerators of Change
The bottom line is this.  Great leaders understand that change can only be made by people, not the leader, and when more people are making change, the organization is accelerating change.   There are 8 accelerators that leaders must consider if they want to make change and make it rapidly.  The better leaders get at employing these accelerators, the more change and the more sustained change they will see.

Here are 8 strategies that great leaders employ to get substantial change.
  1. How you treat people,
  2. How you listen to people,
  3. How you create a system of continuous improvement,
  4. How you confront change decelerators (negative people, confusion, frustration),
  5. How you invite people and new ideas to the table of change,
  6. How you empower others to lead change with you,
  7. How you communicate the positive growth along the way,
  8. How you reflect, refine and revise change along the way.
Change is hard, but it's really hard in a negative culture.  Change is implemented easiest when leaders remember that they're not there to change an organization.  They're called to change people.  They're called to change minds and the paradigms inside them.  If leaders will always remember that leadership is about influence, empowerment and instilling confidence in followers, change will not only happen.  It will happen at a rapid rate.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The LeadLearner Top 10 of 2016

For me, 2016 has been a fantastic year.  In 12 rapidly short months, I had some awesome experiences.

  • I moved into my first superintendent role at Blue Ridge ISD, and I couldn't have asked for a better school district to work for.  
  • I wrote my first book, "A Leader's Guide to Excellence in Every Classroom", and 
  • I wrote a whole lot of thoughts to share with you.
As we finish up 2016, I'd like to share my Top 10 List of 2016 to give you some ideas that resonated with a lot of people.  I hope you enjoy the remainder of 2016 and gear your mind ready to make your New Year's Resolution for 2017

The LeadLearner Top 10 of 2016

What was your favorite post that I shared with you this year?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Greatest Enemy Against Public Education

Like most states, Texas is about to enter a very dynamic legislative session. There will be lots of people advocating for a variety of things that they believe will be in the best interest of 5.2 million kids. Some are against public education and want to see it greatly restructured if not eradicated, while others will be advocating strongly for strengthening public education.  Whether you like it or not, something is going to change in the public education system for our children.

But Here is the Scary Part 

In this session there is a great enemy lurking in the midst.  There is something out there that is silently killing public education. It is not the Democrats, and no, it's not the Republicans either. 

The greatest enemy against public education is Apathy.

Our government is established on this very principle. It should be of the people, by the people, and for the people, but the only thing that can kill that great philosophy of our democratic process is constituent apathy. Once voters cast their vote, their work is not done. In fact it has only just begun.  The problem is that many feel that their voice really doesn't matter since there's 
nothing they can do now that the politicians have taken office, and what we must realize is that there is nothing more incorrect about that kind of thinking. 

There is an awful lot that you can do to influence this legislative session for public education.

  1. The very first thing you can do is educate yourself about the bills and proposals that are being made for and against public education. Now this takes a little bit of work, but it is essential that you educate yourself about the things that people want to do to public education.
  2. Once you have educated yourself, pick up the phone, and call your representative. (CLICK HERE). I placed seven phone calls today to representatives and left messages, and received callbacks from two of them. Representatives do you want to hear what your thoughts are.
  3. If you believe strongly in your position about saving public education, then educate your neighbors and fellow constituents. Tell them about what is happening to public education and encourage them to pick up the phone and call their representatives as well. 
  4. Repeat steps one through three ad nauseum

The state of our public education system is very strong, but it is under tremendous pressure to be dissolved under the guise of improvement. There are people who want to privatize it for some kids, instead of adequately subsidizing it for all kids. If we care deeply about the future of our kids, then we must all advocate for all of them. 

The Challenge
To learn more about how public education will be impacted in the Texas Legislature this January, you can go to, Raise Your Hand or Friends of Texas Public Schools. You can also contact your school district's superintendent to get more information.

Once you educate yourself with the information from the session, I challenge you to call your state senator and representative to ask their position and encourage them to vote for public education. Finally, I challenge you to contact three people and inform them of what you've learned and encourage them to get active and reach out to three additional people. The only way that change will ever be made for Texas public education is when public education advocates take an active part in the legislative process.