I’ve mentioned before that Pam is a coffee connoisseur. So, we have a nice electric kettle with a unique spout design that produces a steady stream of water to pour over the coffee grounds. The stem design is unique and no matter how much I tilt the kettle, the amount of water coming through stays the same. In fact, water will spill out the top of the kettle before the flow rate from the stem changes! Yes, that’s a direct observation =;^}
That flow rate of water is like our capacity to change and grow. There is a cap on how much we can learn and execute on new things without being overwhelmed. No matter how much we leaders push, extol, encourage, or preach, people have only so much capacity for change and growth at a given time.
In other words, it is the maximum flow rate before water begins spilling out the top of the kettle.
The actual number is not important. What’s important is that we stop and think about the demands on our people and adjust our support and expectations accordingly.
In case you missed it, here is the link to The Assistant Principal Podcast! From there you can choose your favorite app to listen on. The podcast focuses on the six dimensions of organizations and the four principles of leadership. Regardless of your title or field, it might be helpful if you’d like more in-depth explanations about either framework.
This morning, let’s do a purpose check:
Yesterday’s email, “You don’t know what you do know” resonated with many of you. Michelle Marr, the dedicated assistant principal at Smoky Mountain Elementary School reflected:
“Sometimes I am guilty of doing it all because I know how to do it and then when I am out it can’t get done because I’m not there to do it. I’m thinking of writing down a how-to manual for some of the tasks that I do so that if I’m absent someone else could easily fill in for me… As I’m doing a simple task today I think I will sketch out a simple how to complete it.”
Essentially, Michelle is talking about developing an SOP or Standard Operating Process. The top four advantages of having SOPs:
I’ll outline the steps to creating an SOP below, but you can get a more in-depth guide on my website here.
If you want to teach others how to do something easily and with fidelity, write an SOP.
Already have a great SOP? I’d love to see a copy. Sharing it with me would be a great way to show your appreciation! Just drop it into the email link here
The Assistant Principal Podcast is almost ready! I’m just waiting on Apple. The first episode focuses on the six dimensions of organizations and on the four principles of leverage. Later this afternoon I’ll be doing two interviews with guests for episodes 2 and 3. I’ll tease those in Friday’s email. I think that’s what you are supposed to do in marketing =;^}
My former superintendent, mentor, and friend Dr. Jan Osborn used to tell me “You don’t know what you don’tknow.”
That’s true, but sometimes, you don’t know what you do know.
Yesterday I was working with a group of assistant principals on doing teacher observations. Planning the session had been difficult for me. I have had the good fortune to have had in-depth and rigorous training in multiple forms of observation. Many things I have just internalized and do automatically.
When we develop a high level of knowledge and skill in a specific area, sharing with others can be difficult. It is easy to forget how much we know. The things that we think are simple and easy may be very challenging for people who haven’t had the training or experiences.
Next time you are trying to explain, teach, or coach someone, and their eyes start to glaze over, stop, and ask yourself: Do I know what I know?
You may need to backup and slow down. That’s not a reflection on how little the person you are working with knows, it is a reflection on how much you do know. So take a deep breath, rejoice, and start again.
I was at a concert on Saturday (Freeway Jubilee – they were really good). This was a daytime event and there were a lot of families and so there were a lot of children.
The show wasn’t crowded and there was lots of room for the young ones to run around, which they did. For hours. Because that’s what children do.
Towards the end of the show, a particularly energetic group of kids was playing soccer with a beachball while another group was running across the lawn doing cartwheels and handsprings.
At this point something interesting happened.
Adults began playing too. Not many, but a couple of them. And for every adult that did play, it was obvious that there were many more who wanted to but, for whatever reason, couldn’t. That desire to run and laugh with carefree abandon was so evident on so many faces.
Why do we need children’s permission to play?
Why do we hold back?
As leaders, could you and I be like children?
Could we play and laugh without permission? Perhaps more importantly, could we be like children and give others permission to play too?
I think we can.
I think we must, especially now.