When Narratives Collide
The topic of school culture has gained importance in the professional literature in the last decade. That’s a good trend. But we must always remember that no amount of imaging, branding, or social media activity can change the culture of a school. What is it then, that changes school culture in a positive way? Let’s […]
Grandfather Clocks and Communication
My grandfather used to build, out of all things, grandfather clocks. I don’t know much about the craft, but I know the clocks he created were consistent. They ticked consistently, rang every hour, and at some consistent interval needed to be reset. Communication is a lot like a grandfather clock. Communication requires consistent intervals with […]
This Is Getting Personal
Things become personal when there are inadequate processes or a lack of clarity. Have you heard these sentiments: I didn’t know your grade level was working on that! I didn’t know you wanted us to prepare that! You never told me you wanted… If you’ve had these conversations, you know that feeling. You might have […]
3 Unhelpful Stances to Disagreement
I’m sure you’ll agree, disagreement happens. Often it can become a strengthening agent in a work relationship or on a team. Sometimes, disagreement can lead to toxicity at work. Here are three unproductive stances when dealing with disagreement: Resist: exhibited by behaviors such as intimidation, shame, and sabotage. Undermine: acts that decrease the credibility or […]
They won’t read my emails!
It’s a problem, I know. Unlike a meeting, the campus mail, and a conversation, email is: Cluttered general reminders Filled with spam Cheap to deliver Void of human body language And maybe a few more reasons that make it a difficult platform for leading a school. But if you must communicate via email, and there […]
What Type of Feedback Do Teachers Want?
In my research, which included 3,500 walk-throughs across three school districts, I learned there are four main types of feedback to give to teachers: Descriptive Feedback Reflective Feedback Corrective Feedback Affirmative Feedback Which type do teachers prefer? Which type of feedback do they want mostly? I was shocked to discover they have no preference. Each […]
Can You Control a Conversation?
You can control a speech. You can control a meeting. You can control how much toothpaste is on your toothbrush. But you can’t control a conversation…not if it is to actually be a dialogue. Entering a conversation with a predetermined outcome will result in controlling behaviors. If you seek to advance your agenda, you will […]
Risk, the other bottleneck
In the recent episode of the podcast (3 Communication Missteps), assumptions were a culprit. They were labeled bottlenecks. They stop the flow of communication. In the best of cases, they hinder communication. Risk is the other bottleneck. It’s not that you don’t know what to say. It’s that you feel it’s too risky to say […]
Assumptions That Derail Communication
Communication gets the credit. Or should I say, blame? Yep, communication is the one always taking the blame, but in this case, it’s an unchecked assumption. Unchecked assumptions create conflicts where no conflict exists. Assumptions create tensions, and those tensions create bottlenecks where communication can not flow effectively. If the school culture is the engine […]
Camo Words and Why They Matter
Kids often hide meanings into the words they use. They cover their real feelings because they don’t want the vulnerability. But if you listen, you might hear the real message. Instead of, “I don’t care!” You might actually hear the student say, “I really do care about what people think of me.” Adults also use […]
Three Conversation Catalysts
The quickest way to shut down a coaching conversation is to offer ideas. Yes, it’s efficient, but it’s not effective. Instead, try one or all of these conversation catalysts: Paraphrase. “It sounds like you’re saying that you use ___ as a way to ___. How do you think that’s working?” Flipside. “On the one hand, […]
Invisibility of Good Communication
In episode 7, communication was the ducting or pipes that carry the cooling agent through the engine of school culture. The analogy still stands, but now we look to the invisibility of good communication. Like cooling pipes in an engine, they’re unseen. No one opens the hood of the car and asks, “Hey man, can […]
How to Hold a 30-Minute Meeting
How to hold a thirty-minute meeting…it’s not hard to do. Plan a 15-minute meeting and then talk slow. Allow tangents. Read a PowerPoint. Or not. Instead, just plan a 15-minute meeting and be done. Or better yet, use a variety of communication channels to disseminate information. Provide redundancy, so key points aren’t missed. Then slice […]
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 […]
Is Your School a Luxury Brand?
No, you don’t have leather chairs, live music, or premium lighting in your school, but that’s not what makes a luxury brand. A luxury brand is made from two factors: Attention to detail and craft. Shaping the stories that are told. And yes, that could perfectly fit the description of your school. A luxury brand […]