Empowerment is all about letting go so that others can get going

Empowerment is all about letting go so that others can get going. – Ken Blanchard 

Our district is a large, complex organization. We serve thousands of students and a community of tens of thousands. As the superintendent, I can’t (and shouldn’t) know everything that is happening in the district.

 

We have a strong organization with talented, dedicated people. My job is making sure each member of our team is empowered to do their job. We must hire well, cultivate talent, provide support for growth, and create internal accountability.  

 

Are you empowering those on your team? Are you inspiring them to grow and be better? Are you empowering them to challenge you so you can grow?

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near. 

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near. – Jack Welch 

Blockbuster . . . Record Tower . . . Kodak . . . Boarders Books . . . Sears . . . all industries that saw the rate of outside change exceed their internal ability to change.  

 

Some of these corporations had opportunities to create internal change, but they failed to create internal momentum. They held on, they were blind to the possibility of extinction. They thought there were too strong to fail.

 

Public education can’t be blind to the need to change. The rate of change in the outside world is exceeding the rate of change in our world. We are fighting internal forces – traditions, parents, and existing structures – that hinder our ability to meet the rate of external change.  

 

We must step-up, be the change we want to see in education, and lead from a position of strength and belief. If we don’t, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Patience is the companion of wisdom.

Patience is the companion of wisdom. – Saint Augustine 

Honestly, this is a difficult one for me, but I am getting better. Wisdom requires time for reflection and collaboration.

 

As a team, we can do anything. Patience is taking the time to reflect on past experiences, to engage trusted colleagues, and to make decisions based on all available information. Yes, we are always improving and growing, but we do so intentionally and purposefully.

 

Taking the time to “get your mind right” and “step up” is important . . . it takes patience. It takes patience to have your own thoughts evolve and develop . . . time to permit others to share you one perspective.

 

We hold true to our values . . . we hold true to own our behaviors and engage the Power of the Team. We all must be patience and wise on our actions.

Learning is defined as a change in behavior. You haven’t learned a thing until you take action and use it.

Learning is defined as a change in behavior. You haven’t learned a thing until you take action and use it. – Ken Blanchard 

Life is learning and learning is life. Each and every day, the experiences of our lives are teaching us.

 

Either we live with a mindset of growth and improvement or we live in a fixed mindset of limits.

 

Those who live with a growth mindset seek continued opportunities to take action every day. Those with fixed mindsets retreat to a place of holding onto their current reality. Fixed mindset approaches to live don’t desire improvement, they protect the present.

 

Don’t live life merely holding onto the present . . . continue to learn by living and through your experiences, take action with your knowledge, and always know there can be a brighter tomorrow at the end of every today.

So often the difference between success and failure is belief. Beliefs lead to action and execution.

So often the difference between success and failure is belief. Beliefs lead to action and execution. – Jon Gordon 

For me, this quote is about creating a collective belief.

 

For me, as a leader, I already believe. It is about creating the environment that inspires the belief of others in themselves. The difference between organization success and failure is our ability to create a collective belief. Belief in the shared vision and chasing away the fear of failure because we have confidence in each other.

 

Change is action and execution; unless we are all-in we risk failure. Leadership means creating a safe environment for others to reach a place of collective belief . . . about inspiring others to be willing to have faith in our purpose.  

 

Do you believe? Can you inspire others to share in your faith?

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. – Miles Kingston 

Ok . . . let’s first be honest . . . as an educator I love this quote.

This is why what we do is more than standardized assessments and tests. This is the heart of knowing something, and being able to do something with the knowledge. This is the foundation of teaching, and the balance in applications.

 

Yes, we must teach the foundational skills to know facts. We must teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Yes, the core of education need not fade into history. There are time-tested practices that still have a place in our classrooms. There are also historic practices that must fade into our memories. We must provide knowledge through instruction – and sometimes it isn’t fun. Some of what we do, we must simply do.

 

BUT . . . and that is an uppercase BUT on purpose . . . we must also teach application and utilization. We must teach the why and how along with the what, because we never want to see tomatoes in our fruit salads.

In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.

In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value. – Lou Gerstner 

Any organization is built on the collective capacity of its people. It’s never about a single person . . . It’s never about a single leader. The value of our organization is a collective effort; it’s everyone in alignment, working together.

 

There are times when we will have disagreements; there are times we will need to come together. In the end, our ability to align collectively in support of our values and vision will determine our success. This is what we model for our students . . . this is what we model for our community. We have the opportunity, as educators and leaders, to be that shining light on the hill. We can be the organization that gets in right.  

 

We don’t have the answers, but we can model through our behavior, what will create the answers. It’s a noisy world filled with pessimism, narcissism, and negativism. Let’s rise above the noise and model what our students will need to master to create a brighter future.

People don’t mind being challenged to do better if they know the request is coming from a caring heart. 

People don’t mind being challenged to do better if they know the request is coming from a caring heart. – Ken Blanchard 

For each of us, we are more efficient and purpose driven when our hearts and our minds are aligned. When our inner-core is guiding our outer-work things come together . . . we make things happen.

 

When we are part of a team – a team that has alignment – we are able to challenge and push each other to be better. When we trust those on our team, when we know that through repeated experiences they have a good heart, we are willing to be pushed. Working with those who are aligned with our own vision creates trust – we don’t put up walls and get defensive. Leading with a caring heart encourages others to know they are safe (not just feel safe) and inspires greater team performance.

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. 

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. – Marilyn vos Savant 

As educators, we all have formal educations; we have been classically trained in our craft. We have studied instructional techniques, crafted curriculum, and read volumes on leadership. We have great knowledge . . . what is required of us is observation.

 

Our growth mindset is predicated on change. We must use our knowledge as the springboard for growth . . . our knowledge to test change models. We change, observe, evaluate, and improve. It’s the observations that create the success. Putting our knowledge into action, building connections and having conversations, provides the opportunity for true growth.

Successful people do ordinary things with extraordinary consistency, commitment, and focus.

Successful people do ordinary things with extraordinary consistency, commitment, and focus. – Jon Gordon
We praise innovation, we reward creativity, and we laud inspiration. These skills are required for exceptional outcomes. Organizational performance is predicated on diversity of skills and ideas.
While exceptional skills are easily recognized, the most successful among us are consistent. We strive to be consistent to our values . . . to our core. We align our personal and professional values, we innumerate our expected behaviors, so each and every day we can be consistent and focused.
Don’t allow others to make you inconsistent; don’t become ordinary. Live your values with extraordinary consistency, be committed and focused to your purpose, and find success with an aligned heart and mind.