Just cruising along on my “100 words or less” challenge (Day 3) – SCN Encourager

I’m totally on auto-pilot thanks to my trusty “School PR 101” chart.

It’s almost official.

Start preparing to tell your friends you’ve now seen everything.

Much like Cindy, you too probably doubted my ability to compose a brief and effective email message in 100 words or less for five consecutive days.

Oh, ye of little faith…

Well, watch and marvel… as yet again by adding one simple word to my School PR chart I can remain comfortably positioned in victory lane.

Yesterday’s word was “share-able.”

It followed the much acclaimed “emphathetic”

Both are must-do’s.

And today’s word is no less brilliant (if I do say so myself).
Speedy-Kwik at 7.46.38 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Speedy-kwik” is the word for today.

While, of course, it’s essential to create empathetic messages and stories that are easily share-able, you might was well forget about it if you’re going to be arriving late to the conversation party.

Being “speedy-kwik” is more important than ever.
It’s the fast responder who wins often than not today.

Cindy has a different perspective, though.

She wonders what I even know about “arriving late” to parties.

She’s demanding to see proof that I’ve ever been invited to any.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

2418

.

 

 

Day #2 of Cindy’s “100 words or less” School PR challenge – SCN Encourager

Yep, I’m nailing it!

Cindy didn’t think I could do it.

Be both BRIEF and EFFECTIVE through Friday, that is.

But my nifty graphic is doing the trick.

By referencing a list of 5 traditional School PR cornerstones on the left, all I have to do is add one new cornerstone on the right everyday… and tah-dah!

How can I lose when a graphic only counts as one word?

Yesterday I featured the word “empathetic.”

Here’s today’s addition.

Share-able at 6.51.17 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll see I added the word “share-able.”

Audience building is where the action’s at today – and you won’t be able to succeed at this at all unless your stories, images, and highlights are easily share-able.

And remember, the more empathetic your stories, images, and highlights are, the better.

So here’s the big takeaway.

One way to ensure something gets shared like crazy is to tell just one person that your piece of news is top secret and must remain hush-hush.

That’s it.

Soon the entire planet will soon be all over it!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

7220

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew I made a mistake immediately after clicking “send.” – SCN Encourager

So let’s pretend last Friday never happened.

Forget I ever encouraged school communicators to –

Be brief

and

Be effective.

Because now –
Cindy has challenged me to try doing this myself for a week!

Dang.

She doesn’t think I’m capable of writing a daily Encourager of 100 words or less for 5 straight days.

Well, I accepted her dare…
and I look forward to a big victory celebration on Friday!

My chart of 5 traditional school PR cornerstones make this easy.

Do these 5 match up with yours?
School PR 101 A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately we now have double the number school PR cornerstones.

Here’s my #1 for 2016.
Whatcha’ think? 

School PR 101 C (png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School PR today is nothing without EMPATHY.

And if you think I’m cheating by using two graphics in place of word and sentences…, C’mon, where’s your empathy?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

7341

Do you like to “think big?” If you do, you’re probably a bully. – SCN Encourager

Hey! I’m just pointing out the label psychologists are already sticking on you.

Bully at 12.46.15 PMThey’re performing the research.

Not me.

I’m on your side, remember?

I’m just passing along my speedy-kwik summary of their intriguing conclusions to you because… I care.

I’ve chopped up my summary into five distinct phases.

Here goes.

Phase 1  – What it means for you to be a big thinker
You’re a visionary. You think big picture and you think long-term. No one will ever mistake you as a defender of the status quo. You’ve got imagination and you want to see grand things done.

Phase 2 – Big thinkers love big goals
As a big picture visionary, you consistently set big goals. This only makes sense. Your big goals, though, will require NEW habits, attitudes, processes, and teamwork. But every big vision comes with a hefty price, right? You’ve known this forever.

Phase 3 – A big problem comes with those big goals
As a big goal-setter, you have the tendency (like nearly everyone else on the planet) to drastically overestimate how easy it’ll be to successfully bring your NEW habits, attitudes, processes, and teamwork on board. Even with a super-dooper vision and clear goals, it never takes the real-world very long to gum up the works. Soon your journey – the one born out of your big thinking – will be sprinkled with assorted struggles and obstacles all along the way. There’s no getting around it.

Phase 4 – A big bully will tap you on the shoulder whenever you’re struggling

Breaking news.. life happens and it’s not fair. Because of this, you’ll inevitably find yourself in the midst of unanticipated struggles and obstacles. That’s just the way it is. The bigger your thinking… the more unanticipated surprises there will be. Whether you call these unanticipated surprises opportunities or challenges is up to you. But the fact remains, it is exactly when you are in the midst of a serious situation, a big bad bully will show up. And beware. This big bad bully is always prepped and ready to beat you up (again!).

Phase 5 – You can’t flee from this big bully

Unfortunately, this big bully knows from past experience how to tear into your deepest fears and doubts. It’s also unfortunate the big bully who is doing this just happens to be YOU. This shouldn’t be shocking. Big thoughts are always tied to high expectations, and those high expectations are never immune from the ebb and flow of daily life. You’ll have your good moments. You’ll have your bad moments. And then, whenever you’re in a low point, the odds are good you’ll start BULLYING YOURSELF with inner putdowns like –
“I never should’ve taken this path.”
“Who did I think I was to even try this?”
“Why did I poke this tiger in the first place?”
“Now people will think I’m a fool.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.15.46 PMSo what more can I say?

Isn’t it obvious?
Big thinkers are often their own worst bullies.

The remedy seems simple enough, though:
If someone is exactly your size and kinda looks like you, be extra kind.

That someone is probably YOU.

Now, this advice doesn’t apply to me.

I’m not a big thinker.

I’m more along the lines of a non-thinker.

This means my inner bully is practically as goofy as I am.

We’re evenly matched.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

7123-3

 

Yep, I’m as classy as the next guy. Let’s go to a museum. – SCN Encourager

You never know what a-ha moments await!

You’ll find stories.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.55.55 PMSights.

Sounds.

Demonstrations.

Connections.

Touchpoints.

Maybe even my favorite – a concession stand.

And if you’re really fortunate, you’ll be able to snag a do-able idea or two to try out in your school district.

Now I won’t go overboard and take up a bunch of your time.

We’re all crazy busy working through assorted checklists and “must do’s” in our countdown to the first day of classes.

But there’s an online museum I just discovered – and you won’t believe the ideas you’ll come up with if you click over for a tour sometime.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.45.32 PMIt’s called the Cheetos Museum.

It’s quirky.

Upbeat.

Creative.

Crowdsourced.

And totally carried off with an attitude befitting the brand.

You’ll easily see how a school team, department, club, program, or one of your entire schools could be spotlighted in a similar fashion.

And unlike most one and done experiences, the Cheetos Museum is sustainable, in that, people from all over are continually sending entries in.

They all want to have fun taking Cheetos so seriously.

Obviously, there’s a better chance of being featured as one of Chester’s masterpieces than most other “15 minutes of fame.”

You’ve got to love this one.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.36.27 PM

 

 

 

 

 

If you jump to the museum itself, you’ll get a kick out of the rotating pedestal and the short video that goes with it.

I was impressed.

And one more thing.

If you take the tour, don’t overlook the How It Works section in the upper right.

How the Cheetos Museum sparks sharing and engagement is so simple!

(Which is probably why I never thought of it.)

But nevertheless, the Cheetos Museum excites me by its potential.

It proves to the world once and for all that YOU CAN blend artful museum methods with an orange-colored junk snack.

And to think my wife and daughters always said it couldn’t be done.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

7574

 

 

Whew boy, do the Olympics stir up old memories – SCN Encourager

No, I wasn’t a gold medal winner.

Far from it.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t win my fair share of medals on the spirited fields of competition.

Now you may scoff.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 9.56.07 PMBut I’ve got a near-perfect cigar box that used to be my dad’s in my dresser drawer just jam-packed with proof.

Included in the mix of my most prized worldly trinkets is the “bronze” medal I won back in 5th grade in the 50 yard dash during our school field day.

Since I had won the silver the previous year, I wasn’t prepared for the set-back.

It was awful.

I still remember the names of the two 5th grade girls who finished 1 -2 ahead of me.

Unbelievable.

When the heck did the girls in my school become so fast?
Did I miss something?

When my mom asked me how my school field day went, I hauled my bronze medal out of my jean pocket and showed it to her.

“Mom,” I wondered. “It’s unfair. The girls are taller and faster. I don’t get it.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 10.01.48 PMOnce again, I never should’ve said anything.

Because the next night my dad swooped me out for a “father & son” dinner in downtown Flint, eventually leading up to an eye-opening film strip presentation with a bunch of other boys and dads at the nearby YMCA about you-know-what.

I’ll be honest, what I learned at the Y that night scared me half to death.

(And still does in a way..)

Anyway, I’ve regretted losing that 50 yard dash ever since.

I guess the only bright spot in all of this is the fact my suffering took place totally PRE-social media (even PRE-8 track tapes, for that matter) so my three younger brothers couldn’t go on Twitter and Snapchat to magnify my humiliation any further.

What was done stayed done in the good ol’ days.

I would’ve loved being a better athlete, you know.

But that’s life.

Olympians on SocialStill, it doesn’t mean I can’t be impressed by how today’s Olympians use social media to ramp up their following and personal brands.

So I want to pass along this recent article about how 12 superstar Olympians are garnering rave reviews for their rock star social media tactics.

You’ll enjoy clicking through the slideshow.

I did.

Its lessons are insightful and in tune to what we do.

Plus, they’re way less scary than what I learned at the YMCA years ago.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

5102-2

 

 

 

1 diagram. 5 totally different ways of problem-solving. – SCN Encourager

I’m proud we promote entrepreneurial mindsets in our schools.

Oh, you didn’t know you did?

Well, if you’re expanding ways to anchor instruction in –
project-based learning, 
solution pursuing, 
creative thinking,
risk taking,

team collaborating,
and communicating, 
you’re building entrepreneurial mindsets.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 8.13.50 PMBobby Umar is a Toronto-based personal branding and “heart connection” leadership expert.

I appreciate his insights about marketing… especially since he is the father of two young children who are early on in their school years.

When a keen marketer like Bobby is also actively engaged in the community, school, and parent domains, I believe there’s a 3X factor in what I can learn.

Bobby and I follow each other on Twitter.

Which isn’t as great as it seems (for him anyway), because if the two of us were ever alone in an elevator, we’d ride it together as complete strangers.

Bobby tweeted out this diagram and it cleverly spotlights 5 different ways of problem-solving.

Since it also loosely dovetails with my blurb yesterday on the 8D Method, I thought I’d badger you again on the topic of problem-solving.

Check out Bobby’s 5.

Bobby Umar at 7.36.46 AM

Like I said, I’m proud we’re touching on these 5 ways to problem-solve with our students.

Of course, if this diagram were mine, I’d add two more ways to solve a problem.

My #6 would have the guy in the graphic lying down on a line near the caption “Go to bed. Sleep on it.”

My next option would have the guy pushing a lawnmower near the caption “Cut the grass. Forget about it.”

Bobby probably didn’t intend to overlook these two.

No one – no matter how smart – can think of everything.

Maybe someday Bobby will be trapped in an elevator with me and I can present a few more of my diagram worthy suggestions to him.

I just hope this remote possibility doesn’t scare him into using the stairs from now on.

 

– – – – – – –

7639

 

 

 

 

How do you and your team approach problem-solving? – SCN Encourager

Have you had any success with the “8D Method?”

I haven’t.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 8.22.59 PMHow could I?

I didn’t even know what it was!

Well… until about 8 days ago.

Now I think the 8D Method is a problem-solving approach is something we might want to tuck away in our school PR toolboxes.

With the many hats we wear, you just never know.

And it’s simple. (Thankfully!)

Take a look at its steps.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 8.03.20 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It would seem something this straight-forward couldn’t have a problem with its problem-solving, right?

But it does.

Experts say it’s common for an organizational team chasing down a solution to stop right after Step 3, right after its short-term interim actions are in place.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 10.03.33 PMApparently, if the bandaid measure makes any impact at all, the team’s urgency to keep on problem-solving fades away.

Hey! Sounds good to me! Time to go home.

But the experts are quick to point out the root cause of the problem still remains.

Of course, this is true… even though these are the very same experts who created the chart above and designated “Awareness of Problem” with the numeral “zero.”

(Somehow that seems like cheating on the whole 8 thing.)

Anyway, I’ve got to give them kudos.

They suggest stalled problem-solving teams can push their way through Steps 4-8 (to arrive at longer-term solutions) by asking 8 specific questions.

And nope, I’m not making this up.

The 8D Method is strengthened when 8 specific questions are employed.

Here they are.
And once again, all 8 are joyously simple.

Whom?
When?
Why?
Who?
How?
What?
Where?
Which?

By using this slate of questions to help you accurately define the problem in the first place, you’ll practically make the rest of the 8D Method for problem-solving foolproof.

Or pretty close to foolproof.

And now this makes me nervous.

I’ve learned to be careful when it comes to anything “foolproof.”

You probably can guess why.

So I’m going to stick with my current method for problem-solving for awhile yet.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 9.19.04 PM

 

 

 

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

7503-2

 

 

Sure, our Back to School planning has its stressful moments, but… – SCN Encourager

What could be better than preparing to greet unlimited hope and potential?

Now, some people will tell you they observe growth and beauty in their gardens.

Fair enough.

Can’t quibble with that.

But the mini-miracles about to take place in our schools soon are undeniable.

Not only are we blessed to observe the steady growth and beauty of learning in action,

We get to look forward to hearing about achievements that are still years away.

You just never know how – and when – our students and teachers will surprise us!

Here’s a real-world example of hope and potential from 18 years ago.

Would you have invested in Google back then?

Google 1998

I wouldn’t have.

(Besides, I had already invested big in AltaVista!)

But I’m not sure Google was fueled by money in its early years, anyway.

No, I think the budding seeds of Google were carefully nurtured in their founders’ dreams.

You know, Jim Harbaugh had it right when he said this during a commencement address two months ago.

Dream Big

Harbaugh’s words also help explain why we’re often overwhelmed by all that’s on our plates this time of year.

Not only are we actively preparing to greet the immense hope and potential coming our way…

We school leaders, teachers, and communicators also serve as the guardians of our students’ dreams.

Good job.

Keep a going!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

7617

 

 

I hope your ladder of success is way sturdier than mine – SCN Encourager

It doesn’t help that mine is made out of rope.

That’s gotta be my problem.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 4.36.48 PMAt least I sure hope so.

I’d hate to think it’s actually my habits that are holding me back.

Because if that’s the case…

I’ll have to come up with a whole new set of excuses.

Social media and video authority Amy Schmittauer doesn’t have this problem.

She’s what you’d call “majorly successful.”

Perhaps you remember Amy.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 3.39.17 PMShe was the guest on our SCN Lunchinar with host Holly McCaw back in March.

Like many of the presenters at the NSPRA National Conference, Amy freely offered a number of tips and ideas to support the work we do in our schools.

You can catch a one minute video sample here, where Amy is asked about the best social media platform for school communicators to use.

Amy’s ladder of success is definitely trending up and to the right.

Although I may act like a hot shot and pretend otherwise; in truth, Amy’s career would’ve continued to zip along perfectly fine without meeting me or appearing in our Lunchinar.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 5.12.38 PMAmy’s now on target to zoom past 50K subscribers on her YouTube channel and last week, she was named a winner in the prestigious YouTubeNextUp contest.

This honor means Amy and 15 other invited winners will travel all expenses paid to the YouTube NextUp Production Creator Camp at YouTube Space NY for a week’s worth of “high level” video creation training.

She’ll also be given a stipend worth several thousand dollars to buy audio and video equipment of her own choosing after the week is over.

You’ve got to give Amy a ton of credit.

In one of her videos awhile back, she revealed a unique secret to success.

Naturally I watched and took good notes.

Amy said success begins with making your bed every morning.

Huh?

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 5.38.48 PMShe explained it this way.

A messy bed sets the tone for a messy day.

Lots of messy days turn into messy years.

And before you know it…

those messy years turn into a messy legacy.

You can’t dispute her logic.

So I wrote Amy weeks ago and asked her if she’d help me resolve the real-life problem I had in following her advice.

I explained that Cindy makes our bed every morning and, despite the unintentional detriment this was having on my career, Cindy has insisted for as long as I can remember that I DON’T EVER TRY to make our bed since I make it “like a slob.”

I harbored high hopes Amy could help me spring back onto the fast-track to success somehow, despite my situation at home.

I asked Amy to weigh in on Cindy’s suggestion that I should start sleeping on the “easy-to-make” cot in the basement.

Amy has yet to respond.

I guess she’s pretty good at prioritizing how she spends her time, too.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

4438