Would you “double-dog dare” your students to do this? – SCN Encourager

I’m sure you do… everyday!

But you may be too shy in telling people about this. 

Dare to Imagine

You shouldn’t let the current season of standardized testing obscure one of the most precious gifts you strive to instill in all of your students, something that ranks above the acquisition of a skillset –

and that’s the gift of empowered choice. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.04.31 PMI think that’s pretty cool.

Some people try to limit choices and options.

Not you.

Everyday you work to be a choice expander for the next generation.

There’s a part of me that believes we should also work to be choice expanders for ourselves.

I hope you know what I mean.

Because I won’t elaborate any further on the point.

When I told Cindy I was going to write about “daring” and “choosing,” she advised me not to push my luck.

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We’re starting a new week. What’ll be your strategic path? – SCN Encourager

I bet you wish you only had one choice.

We’re usually pulled in multiple directions.

But this visual pretty well spells it out, don’tcha think?

strategic crossroad

Granted, this comes to you from a guy who thought CHEAPER AND DIFFERENT was the way to go!

Guess not.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been buying my clothes using this approach, either.

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So what if an NFL team won’t draft you. A school district might! – SCN Encourager

Are you SPR (School PR) Draft Ready?

What a spectacle!

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.49.05 PMWouldn’t you love to have a school event in your district every year that generates the excitement of the NFL Draft?

I would!

What buzz!

But in truth, the glitz and wildly hyped-up predictions obscure the months of hard work leading up to draft night.

The pressure is incredible.

Pro football teams make their selections in the draft, using their own evaluations of a big crop of recent college players.

The actual criteria used to assess individual players is secretive, and varies from team to team, but nevertheless, I find it fascinating.

Key “must haves” include:
• strength
• speed
• heart
• game technique
• coachability
• an arrest record under double digits

All of this makes me wonder what a 2016 SPR Draft of School Leaders and Communicators would look like.

Just imagine.

What attributes and “emerging skills” would cause a school leader or communicator rise to the top of a school district’s draft board in 2016?

From a base of extensive research (AKA crazy guesses) my list includes these:  

• an understanding of the difference between EFFORT and PERFORMANCE,

SMART GOALS• a commitment to a SMART marketing system, tailor made for the district,

• a willingness to pursue METRICS THAT MATTER vs. metrics that simply measure,

• the desire to serve, since CUSTOMER SERVICE is the future of marketing,

• a propensity for taking ACTION, the real-world experience builder,

• the humility to invest in personal growth, bringing in MENTORS who will challenge and push,

• the ability to cultivate more than just friends for their district, but ALLIES,

• and an arrest record under double digits.

This last one is important, too, you know.

Not only does it work well for the NFL –

It’s about the only one that’s easily do-able for me.

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Here’s the visual that reflects the help we typically get from our politicians – SCN Encourager

What more can I say?

Just keep giving our cause your best.

You and our tribe of other school communicators are the best “untanglers” I know!

Fuuny Sign at 8.28.13 AM









And no, this photo doesn’t represent something I had a hand in.

(But I still have to live with the fact that it could have…)

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How many times have you heard this Jim Rohn quote? – SCN Encourager

You can’t miss it. It’s as popular as ever.

Leadership coaches love Jim Rohn quotes.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 7.21.01 PMThis one in particular.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

These 14 words rarely fail to get their clients thinking about who’s impacting –
their values,
their choices,
and their future direction.

Just like a checkbook can provide a snapshot into an individual’s real-world priorities, so can a review of an individual’s calendar.

The calendar doesn’t have to be an organized written one.

It just has to be an honest assessment of who’s usually “front and center” in many of the person’s daily activities.

I certainly can see how pondering the five people you spend the most time with could be beneficial.

It’s tougher than it looks, though.

Because obviously the purpose of the exercise is to manage to get the five “right people” into your life somehow, someway.

But with Cindy and three daughters, 80% of my available slots are already filled.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.45.23 PMAnd having just one position open means I only have one shot to do this right.

Talk about pressure!

A leadership coach would say stop fretting and just secure a wise and experienced mentor for that open spot #5.

I only wish my life were this simple.

Katie hopes I’ll put her new husband Joel into spot #5 and call it all good.

I don’t know about this, to be honest.

I guess Joel could turn out to be a wise and experienced son-in-law.

So maybe I should chance it.

Anything’s possible, right?

I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best.

It’s not like I could afford to pay a pricey Jim Rohn type mentor, anyway.

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Hold your head high. Our fabled “edu-speak” represents something wonderful – SCN Encourager

Did you ever imagine our dynamic assortment of acronyms could be a source of pride?

I sure didn’t.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.47.49 PMI’m usually embarrassed by them.


You know what I mean.

But I like the way Kingman Brewster, Jr., the President of Yale from 1963-1977, put all of them in context for us.

(And context is king, remember.)

He even gave his words an impressive PR spinneroo to boot.

His simple quote should make you feel great about being a school communicator for the rest of the day.

Here ’tis.

“Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession.”


Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.31.31 PMWe don’t need credentials.

We have infinite acronyms instead.

Our lofty status as a legitimate profession is forever assured.

Thank you, Dr. Brewster!

Now you probably won’t be surprised to find out that Dr. Brewster was a Harvard law professor earlier in his career.

It’s not really known whether he had lawyers or educators in mind when he said these words.

So better steal ’em speedy-kwik.

I am.

It’s the school communicators way.

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All is well… just as long as you stay on the “Most Stressed” list – SCN Encourager

Yeah, I realize this wasn’t my message last week. 

But I pivoted.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 5.33.44 PMOr as they’d say in politics –

I flip-flopped.

And now I feel like a knucklehead.

Because for about 72 hours there, I was quite proud of Thursday’s Encourager and Friday’s Encourager and my two-part spotlight on the real-world STRESS that we share.

They were winners in my book.

I should’ve known, though.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 5.49.45 PMWhenever I feel “quite proud” of something I’ve done… it’s usually takes only a few hours before the pendulum starts swinging back in the other direction and smacks me unexpectedly on my backside.

The wake-up whack served its purpose.

It forced me to re-think my two previous “poor us” rallies against the stress factors that frequently vex us.

Now, as Cindy would tell you (and I know she’d tell you because she’s already told me), I don’t easily give up on a position once I’ve staked it out.

So, when it comes to discussing the proven stress inherent in our lives, I’m still gonna moan and groan and say, “poor us.”

But now I realize I should’ve included an epilogue.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 5.41.23 PMBecause it’s actually by accepting our steady stream stressors – and choosing to respond to them appropriately and effectively – that we become a “better us.”

True growth is anchored in taking action on the stress of a challenge and learning from the experience.

Reading about how someone else addresses challenge isn’t the same thing.

I wish it weren’t so.

Because this forces me to make another change.

My original plan for today had been for me to ask you (beg you) to share how you’re dealing with all of your stressors and challenges.

But I can’t.

If I want to grow, I’ve got to work my way through my own.

Dang flip-flops anyway.

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There’s no change. You’re still on the Top Ten “Most Stressed” List (The Sequel) – SCN Encourager

Guess how many decisions (little, big, & in-between) you make in a day.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.37.41 PMIt’s shocking!

Research confirms we make about 35,000 decisions per day.

And no, that’s not a typo.

That’s 35,000.

Admittedly, an old guy like me (… a wife, three daughters, and a dog that somewhat tolerates me) could accurately say that the number of decisions he’s allowed to have a hand in is actually much closer to six or seven.

Not everyone on the planet is afforded the luxury of such open ended decision-making.

But for most men and women, the number of decisions “consciously made” each and every day is close to 35,000.

This is just one more factor that adds to our stress.

For sure, the vast majority of the decisions you and I will make over the next 24 hours could never be described as strategic, life-changing, or transformative.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.13.42 PMUnless, of course, you like to eat –  like I do –  because a 2007 study from Cornell said each one of us makes about 226 decisions per day on average concerning food and drink. (when, where, what, with whom, etc.) 

It’s interesting how people try to lessen their information and decision overload.

Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs are famous for their “consistent” and predictable attire.

President Obama selects to zip through his email with simple one word responses: agree, disagree, or discuss. (At least, this is what he’s reported to do. I can’t say he’s ever asked me for advice. He’s probably afraid I’d add him to my mailing list for the Encourager!)

Anyway, the point is that we all make thousands of decisions everyday.

And of them are not earth-shattering.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.18.41 PMSince most of our decisions are not earth-shattering in the grand scheme of things, it’s critical to note that it’s our small, seemingly ridiculously insignificant “yes” or “no” type daily decisions that ultimately lead to our biggest wins, joys, and consequences in life.

Many people met the their spouses or best friends at unplanned spur-of-the-moment encounters, for example.

Now my own girls might quibble over this a bit.

They’d contend that if I could increase my total number of “earth-shattering” decisions, it would be a radical improvement for me.

They’re fully united in the belief that my daily decisions are typically annoying, outdated, or embarrassing to our entire family.

So I hope you fare better!

But beware.

You’ve got nearly 70,000 decisions to make over the weekend!

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Holy Chromoly! No wonder school PR folks are stressed! – SCN Encourager

We’re all on this list… somewhere!

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.19.24 PMThree cheers for #6!

That’s the spot CareerCast slotted for “PR pros” when compiling their list of the Top Ten “Most Stressful” positions.

I’m not making this up.

The proof is right here.

But this list is very, very interesting, don’tcha think?

Sure, a number of jobs are totally ignored (brain surgeon, little league baseball umpire, shark whisperer, etc.) but so what?

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t print this out and hang it on your office door.

I am.
You should, too!

1) Enlisted military personnel

2) Firefighter

3) Airline pilot

4) Police officer

5) Event co-ordinator

6) PR executive

7) Senior corporate executive

8) Broadcaster

9) Newspaper reporter

10) Taxi driver

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 7.32.11 AMNOW – if you interpret some of the duties involved with these roles rather loosely (like I am!) – you may also want to put a big red star by #s 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.

AND – if you’ve ever done something like nabbing a trio of 3rd grade boys playing with matches in the bathroom or getting caught up in one of your school lockdowns – you may even want to give yourself credit for #s 2 and 4 as well.

Of course, all of this may be a stretch, but think of all that you do.

It’s a stretch that shouldn’t be all that hard to make.

Only a superintendent (coming in at spot #7) can proudly sport an additional “red star” with any integrity.

So let’s face it.

Your stress is well earned.

Mine too.

Well done!

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Augmented reality, transformative learning, and six-pack abs – SCN Encourager

This amazing tech tool is worth three minutes of your attention

It’s futuristic.

But it’s already here now.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 8.20.28 PM

So this makes it kinda hard to describe for you.

Where’s David Zach when I need him?

I guess you’ll have to check out this article and short video for yourself.

And please don’t wait around for me to explain the difference between virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

That’s way beyond my reach.

Besides, I “write myself” into enough corners as it is.

All I know is it’s important for school leaders to be aware of possible disruptors like this.

Cindy pointed out that the male model with the tight underwear and six-pack abs made the three minute video seem like it was only 20 seconds long.

“Wow! That video sure is an attention-getter,” she said loudly enough for me to hear.

I wish I was more scientific.

I suspect Cindy’s combining virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) with a heavy dose of wishful thinking (WT), and I don’t know how to explain that, either.

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