SIPS and TIPS at MSPRA – SCN Encourager 3/17/2014

Superintendents – don’t worry!

Two lawyers told MSPRA members to steal logos at will.

Two lawyers told MSPRA members to steal logos at will.

The Spring MSPRA Conference in East Lansing was awesome.

Your investment in your school communicators was money well spent.

MSPRA President Allison Kaufman (Kent ISD) and President-Elect Micki O’Neil (Ingham ISD) and their committee mapped out a solid speaker line-up and delivered
a two-day conference that was well done, well run, and … well, fun!

And make no mistake. Those SIPS were extremely valuable.

By SIPS … of course, I’m referring to all of those coveted “Strategic Induction Points” that are the real gold nuggets always waiting for discovery at every live conference.

What else did you think I meant by SIPS?!?

A SIP can come in the form of an interesting and supportive person or a “new learning” about a topic essential to your work.

And the MSPRA Conference provided many opportunities to connect with both kinds.

One national leadership coach says the enhanced exposure to SIPS at live events (as opposed to video conferencing, tweet chats, or sharing jail cells for an evening) allows you to add to your professional resource bank in an infinite number of ways.

He points out that when a conference intentionally includes SIPS… you will leave that conference a different person than when you arrived.

I realize in my case that this is a scary thought… but he meant that if you meet one new friend or colleague… or acquire one new insight or tip… you will inevitably return home later a better, more knowledgeable person.

Although when I arrived home later and walked in with my suitcase in hand and yelled, “Honey, I’m home – even better and more knowledgeable!” I’m not sure my wife would agree.

But I still think for most of us this is true.

The school communicators I met (or got re-acquainted with) at MSPRA possessed deep commitments and incredible high-energy talents to devote to the multi-facited roles they fulfill in their school districts.

Which is a good thing – because the calls and texts to them from co-workers back home about various projects or situations never seemed to stop.

Everyone was still on the job even while engaging in a few SIPS.

Maybe this is why Allison and Micki scheduled Dr. Lew Dotterer for the MSPRA kick-off keynote presentation entitled “Finding Your Life Balance.”

Their choice was spot on, but it also revealed Allison and Micki to be unrepentant hard-core optimists.

They obviously must have an overflow of this character trait… or they never would’ve chosen a presentation on “life balance” for our perpetually crazy-calendared tribe of school communicators.

Talk about a hopeless assignment for a speaker!

We’re always swimming up stream.

For me sitting there with my notes (as the father of three single daughters in their 20s, all discussing future plans) I felt like I might as well be listening to a “how to contain your wedding expenses” lecture from the older, white-haired guy who used to be the featured spokesperson in those Menard’s TV commercials.

Despite my fervent desire for his “Save Big Money” message to be true, how could there ever be a connection to my real world?

So let’s just say I underestimated Dr. Lew more than a tad.

But once again, I found out I was wrong, and Dr. Lew stepped up and gave us a number of good SIPS.

I want to thank the MSPRA board for creating such a top-flight conference.

You’ve gifted me with lots to think about, enough for the next four Encouragers.

And whether you were personally in attendance or not at MSPRA has nothing to do with the excellent work you perform everyday on behalf of your schools.

There’s always next time.

Good SIPS await!

Tom Page, SCN
carMON 031714




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