New normal leaders set conditions for non-conformist growth

In the newly launched resource, Radar: The Journal of Adaptive Change, Paula Champa authored an article titled, “Don’t Follow the Leader: The Demise of the Mini-Me and the Future of Talent Development.” In the piece, Champa weaved together the research of Adam Grant and Carol Dweck.

An organization stands a greater chance of positively influencing its future trajectory when it fosters initiative and an adaptive mindset in its people.

The article is a must read for leaders working in transformative organizations who are mindful of culture within the leadership team. The provocation provides fodder for continuous reflection and kaizen around the dynamic equilibrium among “shared understanding” and “non-conformist diversity strength in a team.”

Included below are Adam Grant’s and Carol Dweck’s TED talks. How are your subtle leadership tactics communicating conform and comply versus agitate and grow?

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

REFLECTION: 7 Questions, May 13, 2016

7 Questions to End Your Week - HW

OBSERVE: What pleasant surprises did I discover this week?

This week, I was invited to serve on a panel of visitors to hear and evaluate some serious design work for a school’s learning-and-play space called The Frontier. The designers, fourth graders at MVPS, have been engaged in a design challenge connected to observations and collaborative interviewing they’ve been doing with Preschool partners. Among four classes, they created six design solutions, and they presented to the panel for feedback and evaluation. The most pleasant surprise – the format of the panel and some insider information from the students and the teachers point to the enormous desire they have to implement a solution and make a significant impact. Their determination to see a prototype through to implementation is even higher than I’ve seen it before with other challenges. I am thrilled that these learners have such a strong sense of agency, desire to change the world for the better, and the will to persevere through the complexities of real-world projects.

REFLECT: What lessons did my work teach me that I could build upon next week?

Being present for support and collaboration on classroom challenges – like that described above – makes my work more fun and rewarding. What’s more, my immediate MVIFI team reached out to the Fourth Grade Team to ask if they would document the project for the archives on mvifi.org/designthinking. That simple ask is the least an innovation team can do to encourage, promote, and amplify the incredible efforts of the instructional designers – the Fourth Grade Team – and the solution designers – the student learners. Then, the work has an even greater chance of being seen and influencing others’ work. #IdeasWorthSpreading

FOCUS: Are my short-term efforts and long-term goals sill aligned?

Long-term goals are connected to amplifying the thought and action leadership of the MVPS faculty, staff, and students. The short-term efforts to be with the panel, to meet with the Fourth Grade Team the week before, to reach out for their archivable story…those efforts are very well aligned and important. I wonder why the Fourth Grade Team thought to reach out to me a few weeks ago – I mean, specifically why. How might I make certain that I am seen as a willing and excited collaborator and amplifier?

BE PRODUCTIVE: What could I have spent more or less time doing?

I love my office mates and the serendipitous collaboration and creative sparks that happen with them. I would not trade that. At the same time, we all have aggressive To-Do lists that often require more secluded work. How might we balance these dually important work modes and make sure that we are in-phase and out-of-phase with each other’s frequencies at the best moments?

HAVE COURAGE: How did fear and uncertainly affect what I did and didn’t do?

In an early-week meeting with a number of education leaders, I sensed that there is significant tension over the perceptions of “what’s on our individual and collective plates.” I totally understand such tension – one to be managed probably, rather than resolved. I think I still “fear” (not sure that is the exact right word) that this group of education leaders possesses yet the best level of shared understanding of whole-part-whole collaboration needed to move forward the “right” set of objectives to advance the big-picture ideas in the most coordinated ways possible.

CLENSE: What mental clutter can I clear?

I experienced a setback this week regarding the way an educator graded a paper/presentation such that the student scored the maximum point value for the desired learning outcomes and mindset demonstrations, but turned in the work late and had 15 points deducted from the single-score, reported grade. I am puzzled why more schools have not worked faster (is that the right word?) to disaggregate the numerous assessment gauges that are inappropriately lumped together into a single number and a one-chance-to-show-proficiency. That’s partly why I tweeted these two tweets recently:

Should I just let this emotional and mental clutter go? In talking to a parent, they expressed that they think such penalties are completely and totally fair. So, perhaps I just need to get over it. #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmm

BEGIN ANEW: What is the first logical step for next week?

Start crafting my own prototype of a week-long PBL lesson connected to observation journaling, recording and archiving observations, pooling such observations together with a team, and operationalizing the ways in which collected, curated observations can become fodder for PBL engagements. Also, continue to explore how we might better know about and collect the incredible PBL/DT work of the faculty and those “tribe members” at other schools.

=====

NOTE: I am venturing into an experiment. I plan to use these 7 Questions to End Your Week as a discipline of regular reflection. I feel very strongly about reflective practice. As John Dewey has taught me, learning is not simply experience, but reflecting on experience. Additionally, I think we neglect a fundamentally important opportunity when we choose to assign “homework” as a school but fail to prompt reflections like these seven questions as a building habit in young (and old) learners. What if a menu of prompts like these, and others, became more integrated into the home learning that we expect from our students and colleagues at our schools? So, to explore this wondering, I am assigning the questions and prompts first and foremost to myself. And I have invited other members of my tribe to enter into this experiment with me. I cannot wait to see all that I/we learn.

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

REFLECTION: 7 Questions, May 7, 2016

7 Questions to End Your Week - HW

OBSERVE: What pleasant surprises did I discover this week?

This week I discovered some very complex commitment to our school norms. A leader and colleague at our school made some contributions during a meeting, and, upon reflection, circled back with several people to “fill the gap” between expectations and experiences. Because we all commit to #AssumeTheBest and #StartWithQuestions and #ShareTheWell and #FailUp, I, once again, was encouraged by the culture we are purposeful about building. I hope and trust that all will loop back to colleagues like this leader demonstrated.

REFLECT: What lessons did my work teach me that I could build upon next week?

Repeatedly, I seem to think that others understand the “range finder” and “gantt chart” of our mission-and-vision action steps in the same way that I feel I understand them — because we talk about them and collaborate actively on them. However, upon reflection because of some meeting conversations, I need to work to do a better job of creating deep, shared understanding about some of our PL focus and grant work and R&D efforts, especially as the division autonomy and division coordination/collaboration must work in dynamic balance and harmony with each other.

FOCUS: Are my short-term efforts and long-term goals sill aligned?

I need to continue to dig in and develop my deep knowledge and skills in PBL, so that I can be a resource, collaborator and support for the intensive and advanced work we intend to do in real-world contextual learning at MVPS.

BE PRODUCTIVE: What could I have spent more or less time doing?

I am working to (paradoxically) reduce the amount of information streams that come into my learning dashboard, so that I can concentrate on particular streams that require more concentrated focus right now — namely PBL and sophisticated assessment strategies that weave together learning-outcomes and habits of mind. Spending an hour on Fridays with my MVIFI Nucleus team in a rough version of “20% time” is proving to be invaluable to me, at least. We laugh together while we learn deeply together, and I have already made advancements in my deeper understanding of drawing, making, and PBL on campus because of my precious time with them.

HAVE COURAGE: How did fear and uncertainly affect what I did and didn’t do?

At the conclusion of a meeting this week, I feared that some key leadership groups still did not have a deep enough common understanding of some collaborative strategic work. I think this fear and uncertainty can affect my engagement with others in some ways. However, by being open and up front with each other, I think a majority of the team worked through some of the frustrations to a deeper shared understanding. By overcoming the fear and challenging one another, in positive and productive ways, we can build more deep collaboration and strategic teaming together. By leaving the frustrations unchallenged and under the surface, deterioration of teamwork can occur. I am blessed to work on a team that exposes differences and works through them.

CLENSE: What mental clutter can I clear?

#AssumeTheBest and let go of the mental clutter associated with wondering why someone might be acting contrary to our expectations. Have the courage to ask and talk with that person — that person!

BEGIN ANEW: What is the first logical step for next week?

SAME AS LAST WEEK: Create the pro forma for a multi-year project so that a team can have a clearer sense of several related issues for better decision making on connected fronts.

=====

NOTE: I am venturing into an experiment. I plan to use these 7 Questions to End Your Week as a discipline of regular reflection. I feel very strongly about reflective practice. As John Dewey has taught me, learning is not simply experience, but reflecting on experience. Additionally, I think we neglect a fundamentally important opportunity when we choose to assign “homework” as a school but fail to prompt reflections like these seven questions as a building habit in young (and old) learners. What if a menu of prompts like these, and others, became more integrated into the home learning that we expect from our students and colleagues at our schools? So, to explore this wondering, I am assigning the questions and prompts first and foremost to myself. And I have invited other members of my tribe to enter into this experiment with me. I cannot wait to see all that I/we learn.