We’ve noticed that delight often starts for people who are in a neutral or negative state. They are either on autopilot (at best) or bored (at worst), either frustrated (at best) or fearful (at worst). On autopilot or bored, for example, they select a new program to watch and it doesn’t just perk their curiosity, it ends up giving them a completely new way of seeing the world and their place in it. Or, another example, fed up with a work culture that is toxic and allowed to be so, they find a new job in an environment that supports their growth, encourages them to take risks, and rewards them by giving them partial ownership of their most innovative products.
Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Make Yourself Clear
From Chapter 11 of Make Yourself Clear
Timely feedback is key. Feedback that can be used to cause the right adjustment at the right time, to benefit the student, helping her do her work better, and the teacher, helping her do her job better, and helping the school, helping it meet its mission better. And the key hinge is really feedback and assessment and most likely formative assessment, in the moment, when the stakes are low.
From Chapter 20 of Make Yourself Clear.
An adventure requires commitment from both the leader and the follower. If you are the producer or leader, then you have to make the right invitation. You have to leave room for the consumer or follower to step forward, to make his or her own personal relevance. If you do not, then you are no better than the teacher who lectures and leaves no time for the class to synthesize; you are no better than the teacher who gives a test but never offers feedback.
Below are the opening two paragraphs of Chapter 16 of Make Yourself Clear. What do you think follows?
Imagine that you’re watching a tightrope walker. You’re watching her walk from one pole to another across a thin wire, occasionally changing speed. Though her wire flexes a little bit, she is light on her feet, almost dancing. By objective measures, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
These are the slides we used to facilitate a 4-hour workshop with a regional independent school leadership cohort.
I use MacOS's Calendar as my main schedule and task prioritization space. I will plan to go more detailed into some of the ways I manipulate it to suit my personal organizational needs, but in this post I'll share mostly some guiding principals that I rely on.
First, I have a window of each week day that is only to be used for work purposes (i.e. my main job). Right now I have that set for 7AM - 3PM. The early start has to do with working collaboratively with my colleagues in Poland who are 6 hours ahead. There are certainly times when things get scheduled outside this window(for example, when collaborating or meeting with colleagues in NY or in CA), OR when personal matters need to be handled within that window (for example, a school conference). When those situations occur I shift things around so that the day feels balanced.
I use a second calendar for non-main work things (personal appointment and side-hustle related things -like writing a book). That calendar has a different color so it is easily visually identified.
And then I have a third calendar which is my wife's calendar that has been shared with me. This way I am aware of things that are going on and when necessary, I can also add things to it. On those occasions when a personal or family appointment needs to take place within the primary work window, I always try to create an event on my work calendar that simply says 'Unavailable' so that my colleagues who might be looking to schedule something based on my availability have a more complete set of information. Sometimes, if I have created a free block of time (or a meeting gets canceled) I will move some personal tasks into the main part of the day, but still keep myself available for interruptions.
In the end, my calendar for this current week (in week view) looks like this as of today (Thursday Jan 31). Stay tuned for more.
One of the key takeaways from last week’s course is that in order introduce new leadership routines or practices, you first must “get your house in order,” specifically with how your day - and each hour within - is managed. There is no single correct procedure for this because people have different preferences, different contexts, and so on. Regardless of those differences, there is at least one thing in common: it is better to be in control of your schedule as opposed to other people’s schedules controlling you. In a leadership position, there are always moments you have to react - or stop what you are doing - or get interrupted. I believe that effective leaders organize themselves so that their calendar - or their system - allows for such interruptions without derailing the entire flow. Here is a break down of my system.
First, here are the platforms and tools that are usually lead to something getting onto my schedule:
My company uses Google Apps, whose system of labels allows a message to be put into more than one category. This was not possible previously (at least to my knowledge) without making a duplicate so that you can put the same message in multiple folders. While Gmail’s web client honors the label view, MacOs Mail displays the labels as folders, and from this client you cannot add a message to multiple folders (at least I don’t know how). Anyways, I still like using this client because it is its own window, with its own badge notifications on my taskbar, and its own sound notification for new messages.
For any message that is in or comes into my Inbox, I have 4 possible moves after looking over it
This 30 minute thing is important . Basically - it might only take me 10 minutes to address it quickly - but I don’t want to take those 10 minutes right now (I’d rather go through and process whatever is left in my inbox). In that 30 minute block later today, or the next day, or next week - I’ll have created 20 minutes of unstructured time. I’ll get into how to use and combine unstructured time next week (or whenever I next write about this).
Netflix included real news footage of a terrible train accident in its film Bird Box. The footage was acquired from a stock video provider, who licenses this footage so that it can be used, most likely, in films, television, and other media when that train accident is contextually relevant. In Bird Box, it was used in a fictional portrayal of the aftermath of some sort of alien/bio-terror something or other. The producers may have thought it was fair use and maybe did not even think about how others might feel about it. The stock film provider may not have ever considered someone using the footage out of context.
Regardless, the actual distribution system of this video gives Netflix a choice that most other media forms would not. That is, since this film is primarily streamed through their service (or if downloaded, with an expiration), they could go back and in post-production, fairly seamlessly replace that footage. It is not material to the overall plot. I am sure it bears a cost, but by doing this they could actually update all future viewings of this film for all future consumers. This would never be the case with traditional media, where once replicated it is out there (and there could be two versions). It's a choice that did not exist before and it is interesting to see how Netflix is approaching it (their current position as of this posting is to not make any change).
Part 1 of Scott Allen and Mitchell Kusy's The Little Book of Leadership Development: 50 Ways to Bring Out the Leader in Every Employee is about "Development by Modeling Effective Leadership."
One of the suggested practices in that section is about checking in with a "Thought of the Day" and doing so in a way that both onsite (face-to-face) and remote colleagues can easily engage with it.
This suggestion ends with this line "Make this the first task you complete each morning."
What can be automated is a reminder system (e.g., a recurring calendar event) that is placed at the start of the day. What should not be automated is the thought that goes into and composition of the message that goes out.
I do a lot of remote (i.e. separated by distance) recurring weekly or bi-weekly meetings with colleagues. This is a regular cadence to be able to focus on both near term tactical moves and longer term strategic objectives and what we can do to support each other in those things.
We had been using a combination of Zoom (for voice, sometimes video) and Google Docs (for text based notes, sometimes with images and links). This technology combination is great at mediating the connection - the sound quality is good with Zoom and the collaborative typing works well in Google Docs.
However, getting everyone to follow (at least) two links in order to be working together is not ideal. And a shared document is good for dumping information, but requires more work to organize and review anything chronologically.
Now we are using Explain Everything as both the voice-mediator and collaborative workspace. Each meeting, we simply create a new slide. Some times, especially if one regular attendee is absent, we'll record some of the conversation OR create a short 2-3 recap at the end so that there is both a visual and audible summary.