“Two Minute PSD” on Wednesday (Day 3)
Similar to how prisoners adjust to prison life over time locked up in Alcatraz, you’re growing more comfortable with the PSD’s abandoned warehouse setting.
You’re eager to hear the Day 3 speaker.
While Ottawa Area Intermediate School District Superintendent Karen McPhee cautiously approaches the make-shift cardboard podium, you can’t help looking around and assessing the third-rate environment you and your fellow attendees still find yourselves in.
The direct comparison to Alcatraz probably fits – only with one big difference.
The convicted felons on Alcatraz Island could at least cling to the hope of escaping.
They tossed out a couple of gems.
And you’re counting on Karen’s words to offer more of the same.
Happy Wednesday Everyone.
We’re halfway through “Two Minute PSD” Week.
From this day forward, let no one ever challenge the mental fortitude and stamina of school leaders and communicators.
We’ve survived… well, so far.
Two down, three to go.
This morning I’d like to build upon the themes of our two previous speakers.
Do you remember their “pick you” and “believe in yourself” messages?
I’ll share how to amplify the power contained in these two truisms.
But first, unlike Seth and Bernadette who weren’t shy about airing their distaste about Tom’s PSD planning skills, I really feel… that if I can’t say anything positive about him, who will?
I know him personally.
So as impossible as it may seem… I’ll accept this dare.
Tom is the school communications coordinator from one of our local school districts, and he serves on our ISD’s eleven-member regional marketing committee.
When the committee has one of its monthly meetings in our building, Tom will often pop into my office before the meeting begins just to say “Hi.”
He’ll inevitably wind up sitting across the table from me and we’ll chat for a bit.
I enjoy our chats, and I’ll admit that he never fails to challenge my thinking.
For sure, once Tom leaves my office, I always wonder if I should continue my “open door, everyone welcome” policy.
So now that I’ve said something nice about him, I’ll point out that he’s not the world’s greatest listener.
When he announced to you that my presentation had something to do with “background checks,” I could’ve crowned him.
My message today has nothing to do with background checks.
I wish I was from Australia like Bernadette so I could exclaim, “Crikey! What made him ever think that?”
Maybe it was this.
A few months ago, Tom was in my office and he asked me point-blank if I found it to be difficult to work on a regular basis with committees and task teams made up of primarily school superintendents and other high-ranking school administrators.
He wanted to know if I found it frustrating and challenging at times to work with so many different egos, personalities, and competitive natures all “in the same room.”
A pretty good question, don’t you think?
Coming from him, it caught me off guard, so I didn’t have time to massage my answer.
I told him that long ago I used to consider working with all of the egos. personalities, and competitive natures a little vexing at times.
Discussions and initiatives that I thought would go one way at first would occasionally veer off in another direction… and I would drive home later that day still wondering why.
But then I learned something important… at least important to me and my work.
I learned to appreciate the unique personal journey that every superintendent and school leader has traveled to get to where they are.
They all have fascinating stopping and starting points… and not one is ever the same.
Once I began to focus on the individual person… and his or her unique career path… and all of the attributes that he or she brings to the leadership table… the egos, personalities, and competitive natures became non-concerns.
I discovered that there was much to admire in most everyone… well, 98% of the time.
Whether you are collaborating with a superintendent, a teacher, an office assistant, or a bus driver – my message to you today is to make the time, ask a few questions, and find out some more about your colleague’s journey.
After all, both of you are working together on that grand purpose we call public education.
Learn to appreciate the path your colleague took to now intersect with your own.
This is how you’ll amplify the “pick you” and “believe in yourself” truisms.
And you’ll also become a more effective, less stressed school leader… this much I can assure you.
How Tom can refer to any of this as “background checking” is beyond me.
Thank you for your attention and I’ll see at tomorrow’s presentation from Jack Canfield.