Net Zero, Negative, and Positive Messages

Imagine being told you’re going to have a salad bar for teacher appreciation week, and you plan accordingly and don’t pack a lunch. You’re thankful for the gesture and are starving after 4 hours with the kiddos!

You show up to the lounge, but it’s your luck that you have last lunch. There’s a message waiting for you. It says loud and clear, “I Don’t Appreciate You!”

The salad bar is empty. You don’t have a lunch. You go hungry for the day.

Someone dropped the ball, for sure. It wasn’t intentional. It was a fumble. And fumbles happen. However, there’s a major difference in messaging – between net positive and net negative messages. Net positive messaging begins with the understanding that fumbles happen, and we’re prepared for it.

In the salad bar example, the message was communicated. It wasn’t a net positive message. It wasn’t a net zero message. Not holding the salad bar lunch could be a net zero. Successfully holding the salad bar is a positive message of appreciation. But the mistake, the utter failure, is a net negative message.

Your net messaging is the sum of intentions and execution. Intention + Execution = Net Messages.

So many executions (failed action) speak louder than intentions. That’s the power of culture. The habitual doing in your school culture speaks messages. Are they net zero, negative, or positive?


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