Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Leadership Lessons Learned from John McCain

John McCain, a true American Hero, has passed. While the nation prepares for his funeral services, I wanted to take a moment and highlight leadership lessons learned from one of the nation's all-time great leaders. He left his mark in the world...and, as leaders, it is up to us to carry the mantle he has established. While we are not in the business of politics, he lived a life that allows us as school leaders to learn from- grow from, and apply to our running of schools.

Perhaps the thing I appreciated most about John McCain was his ability to work with and relate to all  people regardless of political affiliation. Although his party was Republican, he was first and foremost a man of character and conviction. He did not simply vote the party line because that was the expectation. Rather, McCain sought to do what was right for the good of the nation, regardless of party affiliation. He was a patriot. Above all else, he was an American.

My wife and I were lamenting the other night as the news reported on his death. We both commented that probably the thing to us, having never met Mr. McCain, the facet of his life and death that would have the greatest impact on our lives is he was a connector- and he was willing to cross party lines to connect. He was not divisive. He was not bombastic. Rather, he cared about this nation and his fellow Americans. He did all this in spite of party affiliation. Sadly, politics in America has taken on a new face. It is polarizing. It is divisive. And, without his leadership and mentoring, our concern is this type of civility is gone.

So, as leaders in our schools, what lessons can we take away from his life? How can we take the leadership he exhibited for years and make our schools better? First and foremost, we can do this by connecting with our staff. And by connecting, I do not mean with just those who share your philosophy or passions. Naturally, it is easy to gravitate towards those who agree with us or are in our corner. But, as leaders, we are called to connect with all. After all, leadership is about connecting. Effective leadership is about being a leader to all your people, not just some.

As Senator McCain showcased, he was a man of integrity, ideals, and values. As a leader, it is imperative you determine what your core values are- and never deviate from those. Stay true to yourself- stay true to your passions and convictions- and, most importantly, never stop fighting for what is right for our kids. Senator McCain laid a path for us; let us take his leadership lessons and carry on his legacy. Our next generation depends on it.

Rest in Peace Mr. McCain. You have left a legacy. You fought for our nation...and your fight will continue. We are forever grateful for you and the sacrifices you have made over the course of your life.

"Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone."- John McCain

Monday, July 23, 2018

What is Your System To Deliver?

Let me first begin by profusely apologizing for being so errant in my writing. . Inexcusable. I enjoy it . I feel called to sharpen our next generation of school leaders. Yet, I do not find the time to write like I know I should. I am committing to writing more. I want to be a beacon of light to those who are in the trenches fighting for the next generation of students in America. We need each other. And, we need to strengthen each other.

So...where did this gap in my writing come from? What is the more systemic issue with actually failing to pay attention to my blog? I believe it boils down to the systems we have put in place and follow. I had a conversation with a friend of mine after church yesterday. You could see the energy ignite in him when he began to discuss how critical it is to put systems in place to succeed; he spoke of how much he loves to come alongside younger employees in his workplace to help them develop a system to deliver. Because if you do not have a system to deliver, you will not meet your goals, you will not maximize your potential, and most imporantly, you will not deliver.

I have had the privilage to be mentored by Dr. Michael Snell. Dr. Snell is the Superintendent at Central York School District. He is also a time management guru and author of the book Clockwork. In the book. Dr. Snell systematically walks through how to manage your day, your week, month, and your year. Moreover, he offers a systematic way to organize and manage your email- and, even more critical, your goals.

Dr. Snell's method to organization and delivering is simply one approach. There is a plethora of material out there to help you. I encourage you to check out some of the more popular options. I have listed these below.

You have about one month until the start of the 18-19 school year. I challenge you to take some time and reflect on how well you deliver. Are you managing your day to day so you can lead? Do your people have the faith and confidence in you that when you say you are going to do something, you have checks and balances in place to follow through? Simply put, are you organized in such a manner where you are maximizing your potential? This is critical work we are doing. Work to organize. Organize to lead. Get after it today. Lead. And win.

Organization Print Resources:
Getting Things Done; The Art of Stress Free Productivity
18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
First Things First

Web Resources:
Time Management Ninja
Pick The Brain
Get Everything Done