Video Podcast Interview Collaborating with your Administrators on Professional Development Goals

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”
– Ken Blanchard

Recently I was on a video podcast interview with other educational leaders around the country. On the episode of the TechEducator Podcast I was one of three administrators interviewed with technology coaches & educators on the importance of having a strong relationship between the principal (or admin) and the technology coach. It was a great conversation about
leadership, technology, training, support, culture, relationships, recent leadership books, and overall educational excellence.

It was a treat joining Jeff, Sam and Jennifer!

The TechEducator Podcast is a weekly round table discussion about current topics in educational technology.

For more information, please visit www.techeducatorpodcast.com.

TechEducatorPodcast.com

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Hosts
Jeff Bradbury – TeacherCast.net – @TeacherCast
Sam Patterson – MyPaperlessClassroom.com – @SamPatue
Jennifer Judkins – TeachingForward.net – @JennJudkins

The video is shared at http://www.teachercast.net/2017/04/25/collaborating-with-administrators/

The video may start in the middle, if it does, just slide it back to the start.

About Our Guests

Jennifer Schwanke

Jen Schwanke began her career as a language arts educator eighteen years ago. She has worked at both the elementary and secondary level as a teacher and administrator. A graduate instructor in educational leadership, she has written frequently for
literacy and educational publications and presents at literacy and leadership conferences. She is the author of the book, You’re The Principal: Now What? Strategies and Solutions for New School Leaders.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D.

Mike currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109). Mike earned his Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University of Chicago, where his published dissertation was on Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies. He is also on the adjunct faculty at National Louis University in the Department of Educational Leadership. Mike has earned an IASA School of Advanced Leadership Fellowship and he has also graduated from the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program. He can be found on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter. He and Nick Polyak co-authored The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (2017 Rowman & Littlefield). Mike has been married to his wife Stephanie for the past 13 years and they have two children.

Email: lubelfeldm@gmail.com
Twitter: @mikelubelfeld
District on Twitter: @DPS109
District Hashtag: #Engage109
Voxer: mikelubelfeld
Periscope: @mikelubelfeld
LinkedIn: Michael Lubelfeld
Nick Polyak, Ed.D.

Dr. Polyak is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212. He earned his undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, his Masters from Governors State University, and his Ed.D. from Loyola University Chicago. Nick has been a classroom teacher and coach, a building and district level administrator, a School Board member, and a superintendent for the past seven years in both central Illinois and suburban Chicago. Nick has earned an IASA School of Advanced Leadership Fellowship and he also graduated from the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program. He can be found on Twitter at @npolyak and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter. Nick has been married to his wife Kate for the past 16 years and they have four children.

Email: nickpolyak@gmail.com
Twitter: @npolyak
District on Twitter: @leydenpride
District Hashtag: #leydenpride
Voxer: npolya154
Periscope: @npolyak
LinkedIn: Nick Polyak
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What is your Longpath? Thinking about the Future – TED Talk – #engage109

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”
– Laird Hamilton

In this post I’m sharing a TED talk that I enjoyed, and I believe serves as a good reminder for our fast “immediate” world. Ari Wallach’s talk caused me to think about reflection, he asks …”to what end”, how far out do we think? The speaker, Ari Wallach has a good message. Reactions/Responses are always welcome.

Tomorrow I’m joining hundreds of other Illinois Superintendents with Tweets, emails, blog posts, etc. in support of a LONG TERM IL funding solution; for too long we in IL Education have been victims of the short term.

Transcript:
So I’ve been “futuring,” which is a term I made up —
0:15
(Laughter)
0:16
about three seconds ago. I’ve been futuring for about 20 years, and when I first started, I would sit down with people, and say, “Hey, let’s talk 10, 20 years out.” And they’d say, “Great.” And I’ve been seeing that time horizon get shorter and shorter and shorter, so much so that I met with a CEO two months ago and I said — we started our initial conversation. He goes, “I love what you do. I want to talk about the next six months.”
0:44
(Laughter)
0:47
We have a lot of problems that we are facing. These are civilizational-scale problems. The issue though is, we can’t solve them using the mental models that we use right now to try and solve these problems. Yes, a lot of great technical work is being done, but there is a problem that we need to solve for a priori, before, if we want to really move the needle on those big problems. “Short-termism.” Right? There’s no marches. There’s no bracelets. There’s no petitions that you can sign to be against short-termism. I tried to put one up, and no one signed. It was weird.
1:26
(Laughter)
1:28
But it prevents us from doing so much. Short-termism, for many reasons, has pervaded every nook and cranny of our reality. I just want you to take a second and just think about an issue that you’re thinking, working on. It could be personal, it could be at work or it could be move-the-needle world stuff, and think about how far out you tend to think about the solution set for that.
1:52
Because short-termism prevents the CEO from buying really expensive safety equipment. It’ll hurt the bottom line. So we get the Deepwater Horizon. Short-termism prevents teachers from spending quality one-on-one time with their students. So right now in America, a high school student drops out every 26 seconds. Short-termism prevents Congress — sorry if there’s anyone in here from Congress —
2:23
(Laughter)
2:25
or not really that sorry —
2:27
(Laughter)
2:29
from putting money into a real infrastructure bill. So what we get is the I-35W bridge collapse over the Mississippi a few years ago, 13 killed. It wasn’t always like this. We did the Panama Canal. We pretty much have eradicated global polio. We did the transcontinental railroad, the Marshall Plan. And it’s not just big, physical infrastructure problems and issues. Women’s suffrage, the right to vote. But in our short-termist time, where everything seems to happen right now and we can only think out past the next tweet or timeline post, we get hyper-reactionary.
3:07
So what do we do? We take people who are fleeing their war-torn country, and we go after them. We take low-level drug offenders, and we put them away for life. And then we build McMansions without even thinking about how people are going to get between them and their job. It’s a quick buck.
3:25
Now, the reality is, for a lot of these problems, there are some technical fixes, a lot of them. I call these technical fixes sandbag strategies. So you know there’s a storm coming, the levee is broken, no one’s put any money into it, you surround your home with sandbags. And guess what? It works. Storm goes away, the water level goes down, you get rid of the sandbags, and you do this storm after storm after storm. And here’s the insidious thing. A sandbag strategy can get you reelected. A sandbag strategy can help you make your quarterly numbers.
4:05
Now, if we want to move forward into a different future than the one we have right now, because I don’t think we’ve hit — 2016 is not peak civilization.
4:15
(Laughter)
4:16
There’s some more we can do. But my argument is that unless we shift our mental models and our mental maps on how we think about the short, it’s not going to happen.
4:27
So what I’ve developed is something called “longpath,” and it’s a practice. And longpath isn’t a kind of one-and-done exercise. I’m sure everyone here at some point has done an off-site with a lot of Post-It notes and whiteboards, and you do — no offense to the consultants in here who do that — and you do a long-term plan, and then two weeks later, everyone forgets about it. Right? Or a week later. If you’re lucky, three months. It’s a practice because it’s not necessarily a thing that you do. It’s a process where you have to revisit different ways of thinking for every major decision that you’re working on. So I want to go through those three ways of thinking.
5:08
So the first: transgenerational thinking. I love the philosophers: Plato, Socrates, Habermas, Heidegger. I was raised on them. But they all did one thing that didn’t actually seem like a big deal until I really started kind of looking into this. And they all took, as a unit of measure for their entire reality of what it meant to be virtuous and good, the single lifespan, from birth to death. But here’s a problem with these issues: they stack up on top of us, because the only way we know how to do something good in the world is if we do it between our birth and our death. That’s what we’re programmed to do. If you go to the self-help section in any bookstore, it’s all about you. Which is great, unless you’re dealing with some of these major issues. And so with transgenerational thinking, which is really kind of transgenerational ethics, you’re able to expand how you think about these problems, what is your role in helping to solve them.
6:12
Now, this isn’t something that just has to be done at the Security Council chamber. It’s something that you can do in a very kind of personal way. So every once in a while, if I’m lucky, my wife and I like to go out to dinner, and we have three children under the age of seven. So you can imagine it’s a very peaceful, quiet meal.
6:30
(Laughter)
6:32
So we sit down and literally all I want to do is just eat and chill, and my kids have a completely and totally different idea of what we’re going to be doing. And so my first idea is my sandbag strategy, right? It’s to go into my pocket and take out the iPhone and give them “Frozen” or some other bestselling game thing. And then I stop and I have to kind of put on this transgenerational thinking cap. I don’t do this in the restaurant, because it would be bizarre, but I have to — I did it once, and that’s how I learned it was bizarre.
7:09
(Laughter)
7:10
And you have to kind of think, “OK, I can do this.” But what is this teaching them? So what does it mean if I actually bring some paper or engage with them in conversation? It’s hard. It’s not easy, and I’m making this very personal. It’s actually more traumatic than some of the big issues that I work on in the world — entertaining my kids at dinner. But what it does is it connects them here in the present with me, but it also — and this is the crux of transgenerational thinking ethics — it sets them up to how they’re going to interact with their kids and their kids and their kids.
7:47
Second, futures thinking. When we think about the future, 10, 15 years out, give me a vision of what the future is. You don’t have to give it to me, but think in your head. And what you’re probably going to see is the dominant cultural lens that dominates our thinking about the future right now: technology. So when we think about the problems, we always put it through a technological lens, a tech-centric, a techno-utopia, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something that we have to really think deeply about if we’re going to move on these major issues, because it wasn’t always like this. Right? The ancients had their way of thinking about what the future was. The Church definitely had their idea of what the future could be, and you could actually pay your way into that future. Right? And luckily for humanity, we got the scientific revolution. From there, we got the technology, but what has happened — And by the way, this is not a critique. I love technology. Everything in my house talks back to me, from my children to my speakers to everything.
8:55
(Laughter)
8:58
But we’ve abdicated the future from the high priests in Rome to the high priests of Silicon Valley. So when we think, well, how are we going to deal with climate or with poverty or homelessness, our first reaction is to think about it through a technology lens. And look, I’m not advocating that we go to this guy. I love Joel, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not saying we go to Joel. What I’m saying is we have to rethink our base assumption about only looking at the future in one way, only looking at it through the dominant lens. Because our problems are so big and so vast that we need to open ourselves up.
9:40
So that’s why I do everything in my power not to talk about the future. I talk about futures. It opens the conversation again. So when you’re sitting and thinking about how do we move forward on this major issue — it could be at home, it could be at work, it could be again on the global stage — don’t cut yourself off from thinking about something beyond technology as a fix because we’re more concerned about technological evolution right now than we are about moral evolution. And unless we fix for that, we’re not going to be able to get out of short-termism and get to where we want to be.
10:18
The final, telos thinking. This comes from the Greek root. Ultimate aim and ultimate purpose. And it’s really asking one question: to what end? When was the last time you asked yourself: To what end? And when you asked yourself that, how far out did you go? Because long isn’t long enough anymore. Three, five years doesn’t cut it. It’s 30, 40, 50, 100 years.
10:45
In Homer’s epic, “The Odyssey,” Odysseus had the answer to his “what end.” It was Ithaca. It was this bold vision of what he wanted — to return to Penelope. And I can tell you, because of the work that I’m doing, but also you know it intuitively — we have lost our Ithaca. We have lost our “to what end,” so we stay on this hamster wheel. And yes, we’re trying to solve these problems, but what comes after we solve the problem? And unless you define what comes after, people aren’t going to move. The businesses — this isn’t just about business — but the businesses that do consistently, who break out of short-termism not surprisingly are family-run businesses. They’re transgenerational. They’re telos. They think about the futures. And this is an ad for Patek Philippe. They’re 175 years old, and what’s amazing is that they literally embody this kind of longpathian sense in their brand, because, by the way, you never actually own a Patek Philippe, and I definitely won’t —
11:41
(Laughter)
11:42
unless somebody wants to just throw 25,000 dollars on the stage. You merely look after it for the next generation.
11:49
So it’s important that we remember, the future, we treat it like a noun. It’s not. It’s a verb. It requires action. It requires us to push into it. It’s not this thing that washes over us. It’s something that we actually have total control over. But in a short-term society, we end up feeling like we don’t. We feel like we’re trapped. We can push through that.
12:13
Now I’m getting more comfortable in the fact that at some point in the inevitable future, I will die. But because of these new ways of thinking and doing, both in the outside world and also with my family at home, and what I’m leaving my kids, I get more comfortable in that fact. And it’s something that a lot of us are really uncomfortable with, but I’m telling you, think it through. Apply this type of thinking and you can push yourself past what’s inevitably very, very uncomfortable.
12:47
And it all begins really with yourself asking this question: What is your longpath? But I ask you, when you ask yourself that now or tonight or behind a steering wheel or in the boardroom or the situation room: push past the longpath, quick, oh, what’s my longpath the next three years or five years? Try and push past your own life if you can because it makes you do things a little bit bigger than you thought were possible.
13:19
Yes, we have huge, huge problems out there. With this process, with this thinking, I think we can make a difference. I think you can make a difference, and I believe in you guys.
13:34
Thank you.
13:35
(Applause)

The Rear View Camera – Powerful Invention & Metaphor for Leading #engage109

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
– William Faulkner, American writer and Nobel Prize laureate

One of the coolest inventions of the modern times is the rear view camera. It’s safe: the rounded view shows people and images as they approach. The camera is also integrated into other safety features like “collision avoidance”. In my car (a VW Passat) for example, if I am going in reverse while a person/vehicle is moving behind me, if I don’t brake – the car brakes automatically!


History of Back Up Cameras (from Wikipedia):

he first backup camera was used in the 1956 Buick Centurion concept car, …. The vehicle had a rear-mounted television camera that sent images to a TV screen in the dashboard in place of the rear-view mirror.[8] The first production automobile …was the 1991 Toyota Soarer Limited ..The system was discontinued in 1997. In April 2000, Nissan’s Infiniti …introduced the RearView Monitor on the 2002 Q45 flagship sedan at the 2000 New York International Auto Show. .. operated from a license-plate-mounted camera in the trunk that transmitted a mirrored image to an in-dash (7-inch) LCD screen. It was available as optional equipment upon North American market launch in March 2001.[9][10] The 2002 Nissan Primera introduced the RearView Monitor backup camera system to territories outside Japan and North America.


In addition to the artificial intelligence “seeing” possible safety issues and “taking over” the automobile preventing accidents and injury (and being really cool technology); there is something powerful from a leadership perspective as well.

From a leadership perspective, the rearview camera can be a metaphor about being able to learn from the past (behind) to guide us with confidence. The camera let’s the driver see behind himself in order to guide and direct his actions and behavior. The rearview camera allows a driver to back up into a parking spot safely, accurately, with confidence and with more safety than the mirrors or eyesight (vision) of the driver (leader).

Philosopher George Sanatayana is credited with the quote: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Think about it: the past is represented by the rearview camera- images and sometimes hazards looking behind us/the camera guides are actions and driving with accuracy, with guidelines, with support—the rear view camera is a powerful invention & metaphor for leading. Be sure to look back in order to guide your forward! As we lead our organizations forward and as we forge new and better futures for those we serve, it’s incumbent upon us to honor the past and learn from and seek guidance from the experiences of the past (as guidance) so we learn and create new future realities!

Technology is not always new (first back up camera 1956) and our ideas are not always new (stay in education long enough and the pendulum swings back and forth). The juxtaposition of looking back to move forward resonates with me just like the accuracy and confidence of backing up into a parking spot using only the camera and the screen (technology and not my mirrors); and the accuracy and confidence we can lead forward is in front (or in back) of us with support. New and better is innovation.

Innovation is the greatest invention of the present – the gift we leaders provide to those we serve.


Modern technological advances can represent efficiencies that reflect the past, explain or define the present, and help support our leadership for the future.

I welcome your feedback, comments, ideas, reactions!

Digital Citizenship – #HaveTheTalk

“All good athletes make mistakes; the great ones learn to make that mistake only once.”
– Raul Lopez

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“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”– Albert Einstein

This month we are launching a new parent education program aligned with our Digital Privacy, Safety, and Security (DPSS). In partnership with BrightBytes, one of our technology and data research partners, we are deeply reviewing our technology policies, practices, safety and security.

Topics for our inaugural session emerged from surveys, meetings, and input from members of our community. We’ll be joined by a high school student who has a passion for cyber security and for helping to keep families informed and children safe. We’ll host workshops on the following topics (Twitter for parents, Raising digital citizens, Growing up in the Digital Age, Digital Footprints, and more).

In addition to the parent education sessions, this year I have been sending letters with digital “tips” to our parent community. With this blog post I’m sharing excerpts from some of these letters as well as information about our upcoming parent education night. In today’s world digital literacy is essential for all, it’s not ok to leave technology knowledge “to the young people” … it’s for everyone!

 

“…On Wednesday, April 12, we will add a parent program on digital privacy, safety and security (DPSS). Before then, you’ll be hearing more about DPSS, in the schools and directly from me. In March, we will conduct our annual BrightBytes survey of students (in grades 4-8), staff and parents to evaluate the impact of our 1:1 environment and overall community technology use.”

We have been partnering with Bright Bytes since 2014 to measure the impact of our transformative 1:1 teaching & learning initiatives. Our overall scores and performance and growth have been growing since our focus on excellence transcends children, adults, school, home, and community. 

From BrightBytes:

The Technology & Learning module provides educators with insights into the factors that determine the effectiveness of technology in improving student achievement. The heart of the module is CASE™, a research-based framework developed by a team of educational researchers, higher ed statisticians, and K-12 practitioners.

Based on your data, the module calculates your organization’s overall numeric score (between 800 and 1300), which is aligned to a five-color maturity scale: Beginning, Emerging, Proficient, Advanced, and Exemplary. This same maturity scale is used to highlight your organization’s technology readiness and use in each of the framework’s domains, indicators, and variables.

As shown below, the trends are following an upward trajectory because each year’s focus on continuous improvement as well as engaged learning and teaching are having a positive effect and impact.

Sharing more tips:

DPSS in 109 Tip #1: Check your child’s phone. Do you know who your child is texting or messaging…and what they are sending and receiving? As the person paying the cell  phone bill — and as a parent in the digital age — you have a right and a responsibility to know with whom and how your child is communicating. 

The chart below compares the DPS109 results (solid) with all who use BrightBytes (several hundred schools across the country and Canada) of teachers who feel rewarded for integrating technology into teaching:

 

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.”

– Zig Ziglar

DPSS in 109 Tip #2: Conduct a computer, device and social media audit of practices in your home and include your children in the process. Here are helpful tips, many taken from the US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation:

  • Be sure to monitor what others are posting about you or your children on their online discussions. You can set up a Google Alert to be notified when something shows up online about you or your child.
  • Change your passwords periodically, and do not reuse old passwords. Do not use the same password for more than one system or service. For example, if someone obtains the password for your email, can they access your online banking information with the same password? There are products that help you manage multiple passwords; here’s a recent list of free products.
  • Do not post anything that might embarrass you later or that you don’t want strangers to know.
  • Do not automatically download, or respond to content on a website or in an email. Do not click on links in email messages claiming to be from a social networking site. Instead go to the site directly to retrieve messages.

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

DPSS in 109 Tip #3: Follow the Terms of Service for popular social media sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; wait until your child is 13 to allow him or her access. Sites that impose these rules are following the government’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). The age requirements are put in place to protect your child; children under age 13 typically aren’t emotionally ready to handle the impact, implications, and responsibility connected with social media.  


We’re looking forward to our learning experiences on April 12th and beyond! The chart below shows an example of digital citizenship; teaching students how to cite online information. The frequency of “never” is decreasing and the frequency of “weekly” is increasing!

 

Vision – Change – Growth #Engage109

“Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.”
– Bill Gates

Vision (eyesight) is one of our five senses, eyesight is how ‘sighted’ people get input from the world around us. Eyesight is something that I do NOT take for granted, especially due to personal circumstances over the past six months. In this blog post I am going to draw parallels to my personal experiences with my vision and the concept of Vision in terms of organizational growth and change.

For 35 years I wore eyeglasses to correct my vision – correct as in meaning to improve sight. Sight in terms of what I could see with focus, distance, depth, perception, etc. I could still “see” without glasses, but my “vision” was distorted. With a distorted vision, I was not able to fully “see” or take in the world. The change I needed to make in my life was the change to wear glasses to “correct” my vision.

Often our vision needs to be corrected so that change and new methods can be embraced for improvement

Last year I started to lose my clear vision in my left eye (even with the change I had made 35 years prior) – even with glasses, the vision in my left eye was deteriorating. Again, I had to make choices: 1. let my vision deteriorate and accept a new limited reality; or 2. embrace change again to “correct” my sight.

During the period last year when my vision was departing from my left eye  I discovered I was developing cataracts. A cataract “grows” on the lens of the eye and impedes sight. During this experience the first change method I used to correct my vision, eyeglasses, was no longer sufficient.

For 35 years one method of correction worked and I was able to “see”. All of a sudden, out of nowhere I had two options: 1. live with limited vision or 2. have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is not Lasik surgery; lasik works on the cornea (see the image at the left). Cataract surgery requires the removal and replacement of the lens in the eye. I also discovered during this process of stress, uneasiness, chaos, dissonance, “cheese moving” so to speak – that I needed to replace the lens in both eyes not just in my left eye. So … for a guy who is queasy with “health” stuff … I had to make a choice to confront my fears, confront risk and uncertainty and depart with the habits I had developed over a 35 year glasses wearing period.

So, after two surgeries – successful thankfully – my vision had not only been improved, but I did not need glasses anymore. My brilliant opthamologist inserted a distance lens in my right eye (still 20/20) and a reading/mid range lens in my left eye (20/20 reading and mid range). Wow – change was awesome! Wow – surgery and recovery was not so bad after all.

A change model I use in graphic form is the Virginia Satir change model (depicted in the image to the left). Applying this model to my personal health changes, the discovery of cataracts equate to the foreign element (by red triangle) introduced in my life.

Initially there was resistance (step 2). I was scared, angry, resentful, concerned, confused, and uncomfortable. The chaos, step 3, was the surgery, recovery and my experiences in those settings.

The Transforming Idea (red triangle at the bottom of the image) was the fact that after two surgeries I had better eyesight  than I had ever had. NO more glasses! NO reading glasses! The ability to wear sunglasses! No limited night vision. This all led to “integration”, step 4, and a new status quo. The change was fantastic and the new status quo was far better than the old one!

Change is a process, change is part of life, change is inevitable. Few of us seek change but in the end, many changes are far better than “that’s the way we have always done it” mentality.



ENGAGE, INSPIRE, EMPOWER

In the Deerfield Public Schools, District 109, we are engaged in a Strategic Planning process. Strategic means change, improvement, new, different. Strategic Planning means that the Satir Model of Change will now be applied to our organization.

In strategic planning organizations (in our case as a public school district) the Board of Education sets the mission, vision, values, and goals, and the superintendent and leadership team works to develop objectives for each of the goals. Each objective aligns to a goal.

Each goal is also aligned with the values or guiding principles. Those principles are aligned to the portrait of a graduate (beginning with the end in mind).

The portrait of a graduate is aligned to the vision and mission. I’m deliberately stating all of this to set the stage for how vision and change are coming to the Deerfield Public Schools! Our past 3.5 years have been filled with completing plans made by previous boards and leaders – we are proud of these plan completions and I have penned a number of blog posts about the impact of these changes. Now, the stage is set for the next few years to be guided and directed by and grounded in the new Strategic Plan.




In terms of strategic planning, setting the stage for what we hope to become, or setting the vision, is a complex process of input, review, soul searching, input searching, and hope.

Vision on in an organization refers to an aspiration   — or hope about the future.The vision describes what the future will become. It describes how the organization will lookin its future. The visions that get actualized are those that are based upon shared values and ideals.

A shared vision is powerful because members of the organization synthesize their hopes and aspirations in support of the common cause – or SHARED VISION. As a leader my aim is to inspire a shared vision. My aim is to generate ideas and synthesize multiple points of input into coherent action plans. My aim is to plan for change that is powerful, meaningful, and that becomes all hands on deck change.

Kouzes & Posner, authors of the Leadership Challenge, have found through extensive research across industry, that the 5 Exemplary Characteristics of leaders are:

Model the Way/Inspire a Shared Vision/Challenge The Process/Enable Others to Act/Encourage the Heart

Over the past few years our leadership team has spent significant time engaged in book review, 360 degree assessments based upon the Leadership Challenge LPI 360, and as a team we have strived to embody all five of these characteristics in all that we do as we lead and serve. The leadership framework upon which Nick Polyak and I frame in our upcoming book, The Unlearning Leader, is based on the 5 exemplary practices of a leader! These practices resonate with me and my leadership team.

By Inspiring a Shared Vision, when the “foreign” element is added into the mix, and the old status quo is challenged (challenge the process is another of the exemplary practices of a leader) the resistance is lessened and the pain is diminished when large numbers of stakeholders are engaged in the planning, vision creation, and planning!

In the Deerfield Public Schools we received more than 1,700 people’s input into our Strategic Plan – our district has 3000 students from 1,850 families, so the 1,700 voices helping guide our work give me great comfort that all voices are on the table as we prepare to make our system better – and as we prepare to make changes in our system.

Just like my personal experiences with change have had painful and uncomfortable moments, and just as I did not control elements of what happened to me, our organization is on the path toward meaningful change!



For another post at another time, I’ll explain how my perfect vision and my revised status quo was once again challenged as a torn retina became yet another foreign element in my life creating chaos, and change. As I march towards my new status quo I’m proud that my medical team, family, friends, co-workers, and employer have all helped inspire a shared vision in me — quite literally and figuratively!

To the future ….

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!