Monday Moanin Thoughts #173 Begin A New Year Focusing On These Two Areas

Happy Final Monday in August 2015. Many of you are busily preparing for your opening staff meeting or are well into the new year. After meeting with several building and district administrators during the month of August. Two topics were common during our conversations, consistency and quality decision making. As you embark on a new year , these two qualities would be great focus areas. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts # 172 Leadership From Your Dinner Server

Happy Monday Moanin to all of you. I am always amazed what you can learn about leadership if you observe, pay attention, and listen. A few weeks ago my wife and I were spending some time in the cool city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. When we looking for a place for dinner one night , we found a neat micro brewery right in the heart of the city. We had a tremendous time and equally fine meal. Why? Besides the outstanding company, our server Chris helped make the experience wonderful. We both thought about the reasons for this and came up with the following examples. As you read them, think about leadership and the role you play in your organizations, teams, classrooms, etc… Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #171 Suggestions For A Positive 2015-16 Start

Welcome to a hot, humid Monday Moanin in  August 2015. It  feels like a new school year is right around the corner? What a great time to begin reflecting on your work and practice.  As I prepared for this blog, I thought what would I need to be considering to get the year off to a positive and productive start. Listed below are a few suggestions for you to consider using at the beginning of a new year. Give them a try or use them as a prompt to consider other strategies or areas to focus your attention. Here they are:

  • Plan for your vision or passion. Write a list of three things that are most important and make it a priority to get them done.
  • Implement daily huddles or checkins with your administrative team. They need to be a part of your culture, everyday.
  • Focus your efforts and those of your staff on the 3 L’s for students. Lockers, Lunch, and Lost. No matter what grade level K-12. Learners in some form or another have anxiety over one of the L’s. Help them out!
  • Remember that leadership is much more about who you are than what you do. Lead!
  • This is a great time to get guidance from someone you trust.

I hope that things are  progressing well as you prepare or if you have already started a new year.  Hopefully some of these will help you out. Have a great week and keep finding the good stuff.

Monday Moanin Thoughts #170 Use This To Guide And Set The Tone For 2015.

A Monday Moanin in  August 2015, what could be better?  For many of you the 2015-16 school year will begin in a few weeks. As a result , many of you are in the planning stages of  your opening staff meeting. Around fifteen years ago I attended a week-long training on William Glasser’s Choice theory. The workshop was very powerful and the learning enhanced my effectiveness  in a positive way. One critical takeaway for me was a template to use as an introduction to my building faculty. It can also be used by teachers with their students. It is a productive way to help set the correct tone, communicate expectations and  provide clarity for the school year. Over the years I used this template to  begin the opening staff meeting with great success. I urge you to give consideration to using it this year. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #169 Get Ready For 2015-16, Begin Learner Centered

Welcome to the first Monday Moanin of August 2015. For many of you , August signals that a new school year is coming fast. For most educators, the summer break is typically used to learn new instructional skills, attend classes, and to enhance content knowledge. This August as you start your preparation try beginning with the student in mind. Focus on being learner centered and have that drive your focus. With the help  of my PLN, I have provided five learner centered posts listed below.  I hope that they assist you as you begin the work of opening a new year. They are:

“Our students are someone else’s heart & soul- be gentle, handle with care & treat them with respect.” Tony Sinanis 

“Teaching goal for 2015-2016: Help my students believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.” Jeff  Charbonneau

” No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” James Comer

” If students know you care, they’ll run through a wall for you. If students don’t think you care they’ll build a wall between you.” @BluntEducator

“Students work hardest for teachers they like and respect. When I’m asked, ” How do I get the students to like and respect me?” my immediate response is, ” Like and respect them first.”  Debbie Silver

Hopefully these posts  and bolded words will help you with your focus for 2015-16.

Have a great week and keep finding the good stuff.


Monday Moanin Thoughts #168 Connectors For Planning Summit 2015

Welcome to a warm, wonderful Michigan Monday Moanin to all of you. Later this week I will be hosting 95 educators from the Tri-county area of Detroit at the 4th Annual Hickey Leadership Group Planning Summit. The Summit is for leaders from individual schools and districts to work on their plans for the upcoming 2015-16 school year. As I was preparing for the opening activity I considered many strategies and options. I ended up with two openers listed below.  Consider giving them a try as you open your year. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #167 Prepare For 2015-16 As If You Are Interviewing For A New Position

Happy Summer July 2015 Monday Moanin to all of you.

For the past several weeks many of my mentees have been preparing for interviews. Through the process of conducting mock interviews and planning meetings I wondered, could I answer all of the questions and challenges of the interview process? My last interview was over thirteen years ago and you may share a similar time frame. It got me thinking, why not self assess and take inventory of your performance by preparing for an interview? When I reflect on my preparation for past interviews, many things come to mind. I think of the deep internal audit I conducted of my strengths and weaknesses. I reflected on my philosophy and vision. I defined the difference between a manager and an instructional leader. I focused on what was good instruction and the importance of building a culture of readiness among staff to handle the changes and challenges of educating learners in the 21st Century. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #165 Five Quotes From Habitudes To Guide Your Week

Happy July 2015 to all of you. Recently I have started to read The Habitudes Series , by Tim Elmore. His vision is that there are images that form leadership habits and attitudes. I have just completed the first two books in the series. Below are five of my favorite quotes taken from them. Refer to them often this week and let them guide your practice.

  • “Leaders must make sure their emotional tank is full before they lead others. Never lead out of need.”
  • “Authentic leaders author their own life; they don’t pose as someone else.”
  • ” The iceberg represents your leadership. The 10% above the water is your skill. The 90% below the water is your character. It’s what below the surface that sinks the ship.”
  • “Good leaders don’t depend on their position to get the job done. They leverage personal power, not positional power, with people.”
  • Leadership is not about your power but your empowerment of others.”

Thanks to Tim Elmore for the Habitudes. I wish all of you a great week and keep finding the good stuff.


Monday Moanin Thoughts #164 More Lessons From Annual Camping Trip

Happy June 2015 Monday Moanin to you. Wow , what a beautiful weekend I just experienced in Western Michigan. For the past several years my family and I have  been lucky enough to participate in an annual camping weekend. I am not going to lie, I am not Captain of the all camping team. In fact many times, including this year I manage to forget a critical component needed for the trip,( tent poles). So we had to buy a new tent. However, every year I learn more about team work and applying Manby’s seven principles. Below is an archived blog from June of 2012.  Enjoy!


Posted June 24, 2012

I just spent the weekend at PJ Hoffmaster State Park campground  near Grand Haven, Michigan and couldn’t help but notice love, support, collaboration, and teamwork in action. For the past decade my wife and her  two college roommates and families get together to camp. It is hard to believe that we have taken all of these trips. We are all older and our children now have have significant others, some are still in school and we also  have grandchildren in the mix. Wow, what a gift!! Read more