Tame the Brain Rats

In 2017 I posted an article called “Emotional Anorexia.”  http://learningomnivores.com/emotional-anorexia/  In schools, adults do not get a lot of positive feedback. Leaders get even less. I related a story of a wonderful teacher who I recognized at a faculty meeting.  The next morning she showed up at my office door […]

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How Are the Children – Again

October 21, 2019 I have to ask again during the fog and diversion in our world.  Get some focus people.  Goethe said, “the things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”  Do our children matter most?  Are kids still in cages? Are children […]

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New Rule: Teach Kids They Are Smart

Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” Sometimes students start believing they are not smart enough to be successful in a class or in school. We know most people have preferences and knacks for certain subjects or practical […]

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What if I am the Problem?

Arrogance and Ignorance have consequences. I am reminded of a story that appeared in the book Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box (2000) (The Arbinger Institute). View a book summary at http://learningomnivores.com/what-were-reading/leadership-self-deception/ Of course, doctors are highly regarded. Back in the1800s, they were even more highly thought […]

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Choose Collaboration, Compliance, or Contrarian

As you choose, ‘Beware of the Consequences.’ As leaders, we are constantly managing people. those who report to us, those who you report to and those who are your peers. You probably are also trying to manage yourself. Dee Hock, a developer of VISA, wrote an article in the 80s […]

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Build Trust or Become Toast

Many studies and articles promoting trust as a social lubricant in organizations creates innovative ideas and positive solutions to problems. This is extremely important in educational settings for staff and students. Research by Bryk and Schneider (2002) identifies trust between colleagues as the most important relationships for positively affecting student […]

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Put Joy Back into our Schools

On August 13, 2019, I, with a few friends and colleagues, attended a day of learning at Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, MI with eighty participants. The day was called ‘Back to School the Menlo Way.’ This is the fourth time I have traveled to Ann Arbor to learn with […]

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Choose Who You Want To Be

New Rule: Choose Who You Want To Be The Learning Omnivores were pleased and honored to host Meg Wheatley for a day of learning Friday, August 2nd in Provo, UT. This workshop was based on the book, ‘Who Do You Choose To Be’ by Meg Wheatley. We need leaders now […]

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Choose a Different Shore

Choose a different wave Every time I spend time at my timeshare in Kauai, I watch surfers. Being across the street from the ocean I have a clear view of the waves hitting the beach. I have asked surfers, ‘how do you know which wave to catch?’ Many answer experience, […]

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Leaders: You Go First

New Rule: Leaders: You go first Simon Sinek (2014) wrote a book titled, Leaders Eat Last. The premise of the book was that leaders take care of others before they take care of themselves. He included a story about the Marines. At the time I read this book, I happen […]

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Be a Values Vigilante

New Rule: Be a Values Vigilante I am suggesting that maybe our values are under attack and the long-term consequences will keep getting worse. Everyone has to make their own decision. I can’t, nor should I, make decisions for others. I do want to encourage people to think through their […]

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Talk Don’t Text

New Rule: Talk Don’t Text First, self-disclosure. I am old, at least older, with over forty years in education. I entered the tech world many years ago, not because I wanted to, I had to. Yes, ultimately it was good for me. I used to get mad, swear, and lament […]

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Find the Invisible Child

Find the Invisible Child I am adding an excerpt from the work of Matt Kaufman at the end of this rule. I don’t know Matt but his words ring true. This article was posted on Susan Cain’s website. Susan wrote the book Quiet (2012), the power of introverts. I highly […]

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Ask, ‘How Are the Children?’

New Rule: Ask “HOW ARE THE CHILDREN?’ Thank you to Reverend Patrick T. O’Neill for this story. Skip Olsen and I reprinted this story in our Trainer’s Companion book published by AhaProcess in 2004. We thought it was an important beginning. As the polarization continues over many issues in our […]

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Learn from a 5th grade dropout

Learn from a 5th-grade dropout. This rule was inspired by Dr. Rick Rigby’s talk on the Wisest Man He Ever Met, A third-grade dropout. I was really impressed by his talk. View it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg_Q7KYWG1g The 5th-grade dropout I am referring to is my father. Neither of my parents graduated […]

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Create a New Animal School

Create a New Animal School There is an old story about an Animal School which I will include at the end of the new rule. It can be found in a book by Olsen and Sommers called The Trainer’s Companion published by AHAProcess, Inc. and other sources. It is a […]

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Goldilocks Theory of Parenting

Goldilocks Theory of Parenting Helicopters, Snowplows, Tiger Moms and Goldilocks Lots of news is being shared since the information broke about parents paying to get their kids in select colleges. As a retired high school principal, friends would ask me, ‘is this true?” My response was, “Well, Duh.” I have […]

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“Never Mistake Motion for Action”

Ernest Hemingway is credited with the quote, “never mistake motion for action.” I agree. Here are my top five reasons for being busy and keeping the status quo. Words and bluster tend to be a signal that not much will happen. Blame avoidance ensures no one is taking responsibility Fill […]

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Beware of Cats in the Dog House

New Rule: Beware of  Cats in the Dog House A Theory to Consider Many of us started teaching in the 60s (some even in the 50s)  We remember we thought we had problems. In the 70s, court cases made attendance in school more optional.  On one hand, learning is not […]

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Be a Boss not a SSOB

New Rule: Be a BOSS not a SSOB A good BOSS is Benevolent, Open, Sensitive, and Smart.  A bad Boss spelled backward, is a double SOB. The advice Bob Sutton (2010) offers is a good one – if you want to be a good boss, think of the bosses you […]

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Give ‘em “L” #3: 3Cs of Learning

New Rule: Give ‘em “L” #3: 3Cs of Learning My premise is, if the culture isn’t right for learning, the school environment will not support people reaching their highest potential.  Yes, there will be pockets of excellence because we have some very talented teachers and non-certified personnel who create the […]

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Give ’em “L” #2: 7Cs of Learning Cultures

New Rule: Give ‘em “L” #2: 7Cs of Learning Cultures Want to close the GAP?  Want to help create a culture focused more on learning and less on power? Want to enjoy coming to work more often?  LEADERSHIP.  If the leaders aren’t modeling learning, sharing leadership with staff and students where […]

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Give ’em’ “L” #1

New Rule: Give ‘em’ “L”               #1 I will be writing at least three “Give ‘em’ “L” rules.  These thoughts are from my experience, reading literature inside and outside education, and constantly talking to students.  If they trust you, they will tell you the truth. […]

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Be a Cultural Custodian

New Rule:  Be a Cultural Custodian I often hear that there are not enough teachers.  Bullfeathers.  There are more than enough teachers.  The issue is that many are choosing not to teach.  Hmmm.  Why? Some research I have read indicates that fifty percent of the teachers are leaving the profession […]

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Get a New School Bored

New Rule:  Get a New School Bored When asking students the traditional question, ‘what did you do in school today?’ the usual response is “nothing.” When asking students ‘how was school today, a high percentage say, “boring.”  So, why do we have a school bored?  What can we do to […]

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Do it for Oscar

New Rule: Do it for Oscar As I reflect on over forty years in education, “it has always been the kids and staff that gets me out of bed in the morning.” As a building principal, there is nothing more meaningful to me than to see a staff member be […]

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PLCs -NOT Las Vegas

New Rule:  PLCs – NOT Las Vegas Shirley Hord coined the term PLC (Professional Learning Community) and published articles at SEDL. PLCs have been a concept with great power and, from my experience, not practiced very well.  Milbury McLaughlin, Stanford, supported the concept years ago and said PLCs could be […]

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Do Succession Planning not (Suck)session abdication

New Rule:  Do Succession Planning not (Suck)session abdication “Leadership is influence: Nothing More, Nothing Less,” said John Maxwell.  I believe this is true.  To quote Michael Grinder, “we have fallen in love with the influence of power, how about falling in love with the power of influence.” You can read […]

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Choose Your VUCA

New Rule: Choose Your VUCA I first found the term ‘VUCA’ in a book titled, Get There Early (2007), by Bob Johansen. He foreshadowed the changes going on in society. As with all changes, conflict between the old and the new can create tension. Another way to view this is […]

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Bo Peep Was Wrong

New Rule: Bo Peep Was Wrong – Be a Good Shepherd Instead The Bo Beep style of management has to be eliminated for a more active and energizing form of leadership. Show up and be a presence or find another line of work. Leaders who manage by ‘leave them alone […]

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When the Horse is Dead, Dismount

New Rule:  When the Horse is Dead, Have Sense Enough to Dismount Years ago I found the following story which I attached to the end of this new rule.  A few years ago a colleague told me about a book If You’re Riding a Horse and It Dies. Get Off. […]

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Be a Wet Baby

New Rule: Be a Wet Baby I tire of hearing people inside and outside of education say, ‘oh so much change, I can’t take any more.’  As the Eagles song title says, “Get Over It.” I am not saying ‘find your inner child and kick its little a##’ (song lyric).  […]

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Pull Don’t Push

New Rule: Pull Don’t Push Question: Is it easier to push a wagon from behind with a load or pull a wagon from the front?  Most people I ask say it is easier to pull the wagon from the front with the handle than to push from behind. So, a […]

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Start Fighting Alligators

New Rule:  Start Fighting Alligators What does it take to fight the alligators in the swamp or in life?  The following story was told by Patrick O’Neill (Extraordinary Conversations) in a workshop with Angeles Arrien. This story provides six elements of being efficacious and proactive.  Efficacy is one of the […]

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Stop Pretending We Don’t Know

New Rule:  Stop Pretending We Don’t Know In 1991, Carl Glickman wrote an article called, “Pretending Not to Know What We Already Know.”  As I read this again, in preparation for this rule, it is as true today as it was in 1991.  Good Grief.  It seems to me that […]

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Be a Peach, not a Coconut

New Rule:  Be a Peach, Not a Coconut William Sommers, PhD There has been a tremendous amount of books and research about leadership.  Theory X, Theory Y, Theory Z and everything in between.  There are kick butt leaders, spiritual leaders, open leaders, clear leaders, etc.  The motivational research by Harlow, […]

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Choose Duct Tape or WD-40?

New Rule: Use Duct Tape or WD-40 “There is too much change to deal with” is the expression I hear a lot in schools and district offices.  Bullfeathers.  We love change.  Don’t we want kids and colleagues to learn?  Learning means change. Changing what or how we think and/or act.  […]

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There is NO Substitute for Brains

New Rule:  NO Substitute for Brains “There is no substitute for brains.”  Marney Wamsley As an assistant principal, Marney was my third principal.  My first principal was an ex-Marine Corp colonel. I learned courage, political savvy, and management skills. My second principal was an ex-wrestler from Iowa.  (I, too, was […]

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Failure IS an Option

We have been around a long time, both over 40 years in education, and worked in many parts of the country. One of us, mostly as a building principal, and the other as former teacher, counselor, and union business agent. We have heard lots of rhetoric about what needs to […]

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Stand Up or Shut Up

New Rule – Stand Up or Shut Up John McCain’s death has prompted a thought for the nation AND educators. His masterful response to a woman during his presidential campaign, his speeches to the Senate, and his farewell message give me hope that others will follow by his example. It is […]

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