Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's a Matter of Time

Where did all time go?  

How much time do I have left?  

Time flies when you're having fun.  

I don't have enough time to get it all done.

These statements view time as an uncontrollable force. The fact is that time is an exhaustible resource.  Like money, you only have so much of it, and if you don't budget it, you won't have enough when you need it most.  When determining your effectiveness, a good starting question to ask yourself would be this.

"How am I spending my time?"

But before you go there, I'd encourage you to embrace the mindset of waste leads to haste.  In other words, if you don't watch the minutes you waste, you will be forced to rush through the minutes you have left, and ultimately, you will waste those minutes as well.

10 Ways to Stop Wasting Time
  1. Stop checking your phone, and set a time that you will check it.
  2. Turn off notifications on your phone.  These are big-time time-killers, and they do nothing but steal minutes from your day.
  3. Build a regular routine into your day for getting your job done, and follow it.
  4. Check email only at specific times and don't check in between.
  5. Analyze how much time is lost in between tasks.
  6. Reduce the number of minutes you lose in lengthy conversations.
  7. Set alarms and reminders on your phone for completing tasks and don't ignore them.
  8. Use the task feature on Google or Outlook calendars to ensure the completion of tasks.
  9. Schedule a block of time in your day just for you to get your job done and let no one interrupt you.
  10. Set daily deadlines to complete tasks and end your work day.  Deadlines accelerate productivity.

It's All a Matter of Time
Time is the constant, but how you use it is the variable.  To reach success, creativity is important, but productivity precedes creativity.  In fact without productivity, you'll never have the time to be creative.  If you can focus your efforts on optimizing your minutes, you will bank plenty of time to become more creative and ultimately more successful in your role.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Zero is not a Number

I have been thinking about the number zero for a while, and what it actually represents. If you think about it, zero does not mean that 0% of something was learned. It means 0% tried,  0% was attempted, 0% was done. Zero means nothing to those that give it as well as those who achieve it.

Let's be frank.  Zero is not even a number. It actually is a letter which stands for Opting Out of Learning. It's not just that students opt out of learning, it also means that teachers opt out of guaranteeing learning opportunities for students. It means holding students accountable is optional. It means learning is also optional.

Can We Afford for Learning to be Optional?
I don't want my students to choose whether or not they want to learn. I want them to choose how deeply they will learn. I don't want them to avoid the task and say, "just give me a zero". I want them to decide how inspired they will become about learning and how committed and passionate to the learning they will be. I never met a zero that inspired learning and even a deeper commitment to it; therefore, shouldn't we have a grading system that doesn't allow learning to be optional?

Just a thought. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Expectations mean Nothing

Words mean little if they're not backed up with action. 

Threats of consequences without follow-through result in deafened ears the next time the threat is made. Failure to affirm expectations met leads to a "Doing Well Doesn't Matter" mindset. 

Expectations mean little to nothing at all until they are coupled with accountability. 

Accountability solidifies expectations when words don't. Accountability keeps the standard high because threats won't. Accountability adds value to a job well done. 

Talk is cheap. Actions matter. Leaders of excellence set the same high expectations as everyone else, but the expectations that mean the most to them are the expectations they set on themselves to hold everyone accountable for meeting the goal. 

Do your expectations matter to those you lead?  The answer is not in their adherence. It's in your leadership skill of accountability and your support to guarantee that expectations are actually met by all. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

The GEARs of Excellence

Every organization aspires for excellence. Some dream for it, but the best envision it. They believe in it. They see it and then they plan for it. The difference between the average and the excellent organizations is not their visions of excellence. The difference lies in the drive excellent leaders possess and the gears they build to get their organization to reach the highest levels of success.

The GEARS of Excellence

All schools have goals but many aren't truly focused on school improvement. Leaders of excellence
guide the school to establish 3-5 goals that address areas in need of improvement, and they are SMART: strategic, measureable, attainable, results-oriented, and time bound. Furthermore, these goals are monitored and followed with obsession and compulsion. 

Every organization is full of expectations, but what sets excellent organizations apart from average ones is the simple fact that expectations are 100% aligned with the behaviors needed to accomplish the goals listed above. If an expectation isn't aligned with the goal, it is revised or abandoned altogether.  Goals most always are followed with expectations. 

What gets measured gets done, and leaders of excellent organizations monitor their goals as well as their expectations. Think about it. What's the point of setting a goal or making an expectation if you're not going to ensure that it is accomplished?  Accountability is the only way leaders ensure that things get done and the only way they hold people responsible for following through. 

Average organization thrive on checklists, but excellent leaders search for quality in the work people do. To ensure progress is being made, great leaders find unique ways to gather data to best determine if actions and expectations are resulting in student growth. Without measureable results, people will go through the motions and miss the opportunity to become more effective and efficient. 

Greater GEARS = Greater Success 
The interesting thing about gears is that they work best when they work in concert with other gears. One bad gear can kill the entire machine, and the great leaders realize that their job is to create the conditions as well as support systems that inspire all people to create their own gears that will make the entire organization better. The greater the gears and the more synchronized they are, the more excellent the organzation will become. 

What would you add to this concept of GEARs?