Thursday’s “Not-So-Easy” Leadership Button #4 – SCN Encourager 8/8/2013

“Hey, Tom. Why didn’t you select the word “why?” for a button?” 

Good question.

So I’ll answer it with an insightful question of my own, “huh?”

But this is just a weak attempt to “save face.”

“Why?” really is a key foundational question that school leaders and communicators should be ready to strategically employ at the right moment. It beats back the fluff.

When I composed my five school leadership-related Encouragers for this week and created the five corresponding Staples’ look-alike “easy” buttons – I never even thought of the word “Why?”

The Monday Button #1 featured “C-Z” to remind us that we often have more than options A or B to discuss.

The Tuesday Button #2 featured “by?” to remind us about the power of deadlines. (…still hate ’em.)

The Wednesday Button #3 featured “– / +” to remind us to ask what we can subtract from our plans before we begin piling on our additions.

Today… I’m bumbling about a bit… all because a reader grabbed me by surprise and said “gotcha!”

Now I’m lamenting, “why, oh why, did I overlook that all-important question ‘why?'”

I can’t believe I missed it. (I know you can… but I can’t!)

It’s not like it has too many letters to fit on a dumb red button!

Maybe I just wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. After all, maybe in the history of addressing the  question of “why?” Socrates has already said everything that needs to be said.

So I’ll concede the final word on this topic to him.

But still, I think the reader was right. “Why not ‘Why?'”

Hmmm. So here’s my attempt to now get out of this pickle.

Simon Shot 2013-08-06 at 6.49.41 PMSimon Sinek wrote the recent best-seller “Start With Why.”

He also spoke at a TED conference when the book came out to rave reviews.

In many formal leadership networks, “Start With Why” is required reading.

There you have it.

Since I totally blew it and just skipped past the question “Why?” – I did what every football team does when it can’t get a first down – PUNT.

Thank you, Simon Sinek.

Without Mr. Sinek and the reader (now geo-tagged as “The Pest”), I should point out that today’s Encourager would’ve gone in a much different direction.

NEXTMy School Leadership Button #4 is to your left.

I think it’s awesome. Perhaps stunning. (Why?!? Please don’t ask.)

I haven’t written a book about it yet or used it to captivate audiences at TED with it… but when I do, you’ll be among the first to know.

School Leadership Button #4 is simple.

The word “next?” reminds all of us around the school leadership table to invest the time to clearly spell out the “next steps” whatever we intend for them to be.

In our hearts and minds, we know that “sustainability” often needs to be priority in our discussions – particularly as this is what differentiates short-term from long-term planning – but sometimes we move past this and rapidly roll into a future guided by assumptions instead of a clear sustainability plan.

Not good, right?

Take me, for example. I’m all about “next?

I’m already working on my book and my TED talk.

School Leadership Button #4 works!

It’s more practical and less philosophical than that “why?” question.

Tom Page, SCN
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