Hard Working Teachers!

Building essential relationships with our families.

Every day I am fortunate to see the exceptional results of our hard working teachers at Pacific Charter Institute. The hard work that our teachers engage in includes instructional strategies designed for the individual child. The hard work that our teachers engage in includes analysis of the results to support the uniqueness of each student and how the instructional message is heard. The hard work that our teachers engage in is building the essential relationship with our families because they know the students the very best.

Thank you teachers for your commitment to our children!

Leaning In and Stamina

It seems that there is an ebb and flow to work as tasks and projects creep forward. Certainly there are times during the day or week that project management and leadership begin taxing. Groups are working too slow or too fast. Communication may be lacking. Staff may be having conflict due to particulars and direction. In all cases great leaders have stamina and continue to lean in on staff.

Leaning in is a skill that certainly can be learned. Tasks and projects require air time and room to breath. Managers observe every task, evaluate, and offers feedback. Leaders will observe but not engage tasks. Over the course of tasks patterns may develop requiring leadership to reshape or redirect. The overall project has an expected outcome. The Manager will focus on every task to assure the project is completed. The leader will allow tasks to develop and offer push inquiry.

Leaning in is not the same as leaning on! Leaning in is hearing and evaluating. Leaning on is exactly that; no room to breath.
Stamina to maintain this distance even when it seems tasks may be going a different direction is critical to solid leadership. Our staff will never learn to lead if they have not learned how to fail gracefully and with support.

Training the Collective and the Individual

Watching my son run cross country I put the term “jumping the gun’ into context. Certainly in a race jumping the gun is obvious even if there are 300 runners on the starting line. However, the metaphor¬† ‘jumping the gun’ takes on a clear management, and more so, leadership context. Business spend billions of dollars on hiring and training new employees and in a large part, the organizations rely on norms that may or may not fit the workforce. Hence, all employees do not train at the same rate or in the same way so ‘jumping the gun’ in this context is real.

Working in complex work environments driven by personalities, deadlines, skill sets, and feedback we are continually matching our efforts to timing. The more a person demonstrates leadership the more timing and effort coincide seamlessly. However, when an individual crafts timelines and effort out of context of the complex organization the more that person is demonstrating management traits to a fixed environment.

Further, individual staff members have different skills and training styles that require a deft hand to ensure optimal job satisfaction and organizational productivity. The leader will determine how the staff works collectively, in small groups, and individually to best derive leadership capacity. Managers work collectively. Leaders work in small groups and individually. The difference remains ‘jumping the gun’ on the capacity of the staff members.

Of course, there will is a min and max to this concept base on the complexity of the organization and the surplus of workers in that specific field. If the field is complex and the surplus of workers is thin then the cultivating of the individual employee is paramount. The work to get that employee into the business requires not jumping the gun to ensure job satisfaction. For industries with low complexity and a large surplus of employee candidates training and cultivation can be shorter in timeline making ‘jumping the gun’¬† less consequential. Yet, hiring is costly and the more collectively trained the team becomes the better for cost control.

Every employee is different. Employees have different levels of learning¬† capacity and this remains crucial to cost containment and retention of staff. Understanding this premise of ‘jumping the gun’ can only help the bottom line.

 

 

 

Expectations

Tempering your expectations.

We live day to day by our own expectations and whether our expectations are met. We buy a coffee and we immediately begin assessing whether the service is meeting our expectations. Then it is the expectation of the service in getting the coffee. Then the taste expectation. Then the aftertaste. Of course, is the coffee too hot or too cold? Is the store clean or messy? Are the customers your type of customers? All of these expectations from merely buying a cup of coffee!

Now think of your expectations at work. Your expectations at home. Your expectations while driving. It is endless! How do we balance all of our expectations? A band from the 90’s called the Gin Blossoms actually had a lyrics that suggested, ‘if you don’t expect too much you won’t be disappointed.’ YIKES!

So back to our expectations. It is OK to expect a bunch from yourself and from other people. It is OK to expect great cup of coffee and terrific customers surrounding you. Yet, on the flip-side, temper your disappointment when what you are expecting really kind of sucks! When that is the case, go to that place where your expectations are always met. Hopefully it is real and lets you feel that you are alive. Coffee is just coffee but what in your life is REALLY important and almost always meets your expectations?

 

Juggling Life: Some Balls will Fall!

…we invariably have balls fall!

How often do you hear someone say ‘too many balls in the air.’ Is it really true that we have too many balls in the air? Or, is it that we have the perfect amount of balls in the air and sometimes balls will be dropped as a reality in life? Either way we are juggling balls and not, say, eggs or cell phones so if they fall they don’t break!

If we are fully committed to our families, our communities, our work, and our friends then we will invariably have balls fall. What we have to do is be prepared mentally for this. The you think you can plan for everything then you will be in for a real surprise. I think the headlines in the paper and leading stories on the news illustrate that we can plan but it does not mean that we can have every variable covered.

Yes, balls will hit the ground that we throw up, our spouses toss up, our children heave ho, and so on. Now we have all kinds of balls hitting the ground. It is a juggling nightmare. Yet, we still have some balls up and we are still in the game for those that we care about. It is not the fact that balls are dropping. Rather, are the balls that matter the least dropping. Or, if it is an important ball, figure out how to pick up the right balls.

Forgive yourself early and often if you drop a ball. Each ball dropped is an opportunity to pick up another one and figure out how to keep it in the air. Juggle away. Why not?

Just Show Up!

What I found is that it created a habit for me in exercise. Just showing up made me better.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘just show up.’ This phrase can be used in different context based on what one is trying to achieve. If I am throwing a party and need more people there, then yes, ‘just show up.’ Yet in this article the idea is focusing on ‘just showing up’ in life.

I learned this lesson when I was younger and there were days that I did not want to get up and run. Either I was carrying a slight injury, maybe tired, or maybe just flat out lazy. A friend of mine said “just show up. Just run a mile.” What I found is that it created a habit for me in exercise. Just showing up made me better.

In our lives with our families, ‘just show up’ carries much more importance. For our children at a recital or wanting to play in the park; JUST SHOW UP. For our kids when they ask about needing help with homework; JUST SHOW UP. For our spouses or significant others who want to talk or go for a walk; JUST SHOW UP.

In all cases, practice makes perfect. It starts today, however, as you need it for yourself and your family and friends need it from you! Get off of the sidelines and JUST SHOW UP!

 

The Plate Should be Too Full

Is my plate too full or is your plate too empty?

How often do we hear ‘My plate is too full.” Why would someone think that? Certainly I think it when the many activities converge in the same time span. No doubt, this happens and certainly the plate being full applies. Yet, if this is a regular occurrence then perhaps it is an issue with balance and planning.

For instance, I am involved in work at our charter school organization, a father and husband, a volunteer in local organizations, an assistant scoutmaster, and occasionally a coach. Certainly any one of these could completely consume my time if I allowed it.

Yet, rather than let any one area consume my time, I balance my talents between all of them with the ebb and flow that the schedule and events occur. In Scouts I realized that I wanted to be most involved with high adventure so I backed off of the other activities. Similarly, I realized that I committed to assistant coaching to ensure that the players had a reliable head coach. With my family, I make sure that I have time every day to listen to my children individually. Of course this gets harder as they get older (teenagers:)!

So then the question is whether my plate is too full? Or, should the question be whether your plate is too empty?