School transformation and really leveraging curiosity and intentional design.
Turn critics into cheerleaders with the “Can If mental model”
Use the nine propelling questions to leverage the constraints and do something powerful within your school.
Use your leadership superpowers and tools and follow the map your biggest critics provide.
- leveraging the knowledge and expertise of your parent community.
- removing X, which will allow us to get to y.
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Read the Transcript here.
How To Use Intentional Design And Curiosity To Transform Your School
Today’s topic is how to use intentional design and curiosity to transform your school. So that’s what we wanna talk about, school transformation and really leveraging what I would call curiosity and intentional design. When you hear intentional design and curiosity. I’m curious, go ahead, type a few things in the chat, but what are some of the things that you think about when you just even hear those words? Do you get excited? Are some of you nervous? Like,”oh, design thinking. I’m not an expert in that curiosity. I wanna be curious, but I don’t know.” Will you take 10 seconds and pop your gut reaction. There’s no right or wrong. And Dan, when people put a comment or two in the chat, will you please read that?
Sure. Open-mindedness from Heidi.
Am posted. Action research strategic steps daily. Yeah. And Amy noted the excitement of potential. Lisa just posted substitution curiosity for conclusions and condemnation.
We’re gonna get you an answer, Kelly, so that’s, I’m glad you’re here for that, and I hope you’re able to stick around for sure. Cool. I think Cheryl might be in the waiting room too, if you’re able to let her in. If you don’t know me hopefully at this point you’re getting a sense of who this guy with the curly hair is. My name’s Danny Bauer. I have a picture of the world’s cutest dog too. That’s Alba down there next to me. I like to say that I serve Ruckus Makers, which I define as a school leader who’s investing in his or her continuous growth, challenging the status quo in designing the future of school now. Like, that’s our jam. That’s what we’re all about. And in 2015, I founded an organization called Better Leaders, Better Schools.
And it was really outta my own pain to want to grow my own leadership in not finding the solutions that I was looking for. And this was just my lived experience in different districts around the states. I went out and I started to interview other school leaders and learn from their stories of success and failure and that podcast changed my life and I will touch on that in a second. I like to say I’m an unorthodox leadership coach, Why follow the rules when you can make them up? I often tell a quick story about this guy, Rich Litpein, who’s coached me and mentored me in some different types of programs. He loves to say, “I help powerful people remember how powerful they are.So why follow the rules when you can make ’em up?” I just wanna remind you as a Ruckus Maker that you have a lot of agency, a lot of autonomy, and a lot of power,
A school leader, man, that position and what you’re able to accomplish. I don’t know if there’s anything that has a bigger impact than that. I was mentioning how a podcast changed my life. Those are old numbers. I’m almost at 2 million downloads these days. And if you listen to the show, thank you for helping it be a success. This podcast changed my life. And if you’re in a podcast and you didn’t know that I have one, then I invite you to subscribe. And one thing I’m very proud of is that out of 3 million global shows in every industry, every niche worldwide the BLBS podcast actually ranks in the top 0.5%, which is just kinda crazy. Certainly a professional milestone. And my latest book is called Mastermind. It tells a story of the community in which I can’t see everybody on the screen, but I know Dan’s a part of this group.
Stacy’s a part of this group. To me, it’s really a way that professional development is being transformed in serving school leaders. I think that Dan and Stacy get a lot of value from it. But to me, I’m trying to impact education and change the game, so to speak, one school leader at a time. We do that through the container of the Mastermind. Another thing, and this is just, again, I’m just trying to introduce myself to you, in case you don’t know me. I’ve designed a first year principal pipeline program for the Delaware Department of Education, and it’s using the mastermind model, but there’s a few tweaks about it. But that was a cool thing that’s happened in my life as well. And then I could say that a lot of people Stacy’s one of ’em too, but a lot of, a lot of leaders that have been in the Mastermind are, are principles of the year.
And so this is just one illustration that I could pull from many, many different people’s histories and put that up there on the slide. But it used to surprise me in the early days. Now, it doesn’t surprise me anymore just because it happens so often. And I’m so absolutely proud of all the school leaders and what they’re able to accomplish in the Mastermind. And believe it or not, a crazy stat is that a hundred percent of leaders who invest in the Mastermind say it’s the number one way that they get their professional development, which is a pretty cool stat. I use this slide because this was a very scary time in my life. Back in 2015. I hadn’t invested a penny, really a scent in my own personal development. And there was this guy, John Lee Douma, he had this thing called podcasters Paradise.
I spent over a thousand dollars to learn how to podcast. And based on some of those things I just showed introducing myself, I think we could say that it’s worked out for me, And that’s helped me from$1,300 to paying my current coach, 15,000 for eight months of work. I only say that, not to brag about how much money I invest in myself, but I’ve seen a correlation. The more I’ve invested in my own growth, the more I’ve been able to accomplish, and the higher I’ve been able to serve leaders that I, I really care about. And so, that’s just something for you to consider. Like, how are you, are you investing in yourself at better leaders, better schools? This is what guides everything. When you get better, everybody wins. And I just love that image.
I love that motto. And it’s really like, very similar to JFK’s. A rising tide lifts all boats, If you are getting better, everyone in your community is also getting better. And so what are you doing? You’re here right now, getting better, which is super cool. Today’s a two-way street. I probably worked, I I almost finished off the slides and it probably took about four hours today just to put the final touches on it. I could tell you that I’m gonna give you my a hundred percent all, but this is an invitation too, to think about what what does your commitment look like throughout this training, So are you taking notes? Are you making sure that notifications are off every other social media site? And you’re here with me just in this moment because it’s gonna pass,
So just thinking about that. Let’s get to it. All right. Today we’re gonna talk about how critics can become cheerleaders. Believe it or not, we’re gonna do a high level overview of what’s called the Can If mental model. And then we’re gonna talk about, the third part is how to use the nine propelling questions. And that’s where we’re gonna apply everything that I teach today. A lot of the content, sorry that slides a little fuzzy, but the book’s called A Beautiful Constraint. I read this back in 2017-2018. If you want to pick up the book, it’s a really good book. There’s a lot of things in there. One concept I’m teaching you is this idea of can if thinking and the nine propelling questions. But the big idea is has anybody read Ryan holidays, The Obstacle is the Way,
Another way that I think about it, and a core value of mine is that there’s two sides of every coin, So there’s adventure on one side, and like fear and scariness and that kind of stuff on the other, sometimes with constraints, Things that are not in our control, and they’re certainly limits to what we can’t accomplish. We see that as a challenge and sometimes think a little bit smaller because we see all the things coming against us. But the thing that this book does really nicely, what if we saw those challenges act actually the opportunity to do something great. Today we’re really gonna talk about how to leverage the constraints to do something powerful within your school. Benefit number one in terms of what you learned today is turning critics into cheerleaders,
There’s a case study there with Chris Jones, something that he’s accomplished. Benefit number two is optimism. I wanna read this to you this. It’s a cool little quote that I got. And basically it says that scientists believe there’s an evolutionary advantage to optimism, So the more optimistic that we are the better that we can do. Optimism is the foundation of progress, if you think about it. And it allows us to believe in a better future and to make it more likely that we’ll actually plan, which is sort of the ideas and the thinking part of stuff, and then take action, To actually make it a reality. So that’s a second benefit from today’s training. And then the third is this mental model, the KNF model that I’ll share.
And the nine propelling questions, which you could see on that slide. We’ll talk about how to actually apply that to your school. So you’re gonna get a very practical tool. And I challenge you, I’m sure some of you laugh. Do any of you have any staff members that are sometimes maybe a little obnoxious or a little bit challenging? And they say, no, that’s never gonna work. Okay. I even see hands going up, So you can use this tomorrow to turn some of those critics into cheerleaders, okay? Or enemies into evangelists. So let me take a little break here, and I want to ask you a question and put your answer either in the chat or feel free to come off mute too. But what I wanna know is given the topic curiosity and design to transform our school what would make today a five star experience?
Because I love asking this to leaders that I serve. I think I have a sense of how best to show up and serve you right now, but sometimes I don’t know. And sometimes you tell me something that will be a blind spot for me, and then I could deliver on it, okay? So either in the chat or come off mute, will you tell me what you need from today’s training to make it a five outta five star experience? And then, Dan, if people do put in the chat, please, please read that out to me.
Danny, I can get started. As I was reading an email today and just kind of cleaning up and getting ready to go for a staff returning tomorrow, it was all things in this email. I just thought it was a good place for me to launch into 2023 and to go in with some new content and some new ways of thinking. I look at everything as a win-win. I think just basically the three things you shared there are what I’m needing. Thank you.
Thank you, Stacy. I’m super excited to see you here. Thank you for being here.
Couple comments in the chat, Danny. Actionable tools and strategies, which you’ve already provided some of knowing how to transform critics into cheerleaders is what I need today. Another comment, I need things to take back to staff tomorrow for a fresh start in 2023.
It’s my intention that you’ll get that stuff, You’re gonna get new ways of thinkingI’ve already highlighted that you’re gonna get some practical tools for sure in part three. We’re gonna talk about how to transform those critics into cheerleaders. I think that’s good. So thank you everyone for providing that feedback so critics can become cheerleaders. Believe it or not, and you may have heard of this, Brene Brown, I think made the quote by Teddy Roosevelt pretty famous. I don’t have this memorized, so I’m gonna read it to you. But he says, “it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error in shortcoming.”
But who does actually strive to do the deeds? Who knows? Great enthusiasms, the great devotions who spends himself in a worthy cause who at the best knows in the end, a triumph of high achievement. And who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. I’m sure many of you have read that in Brene Brown’s works before, but here, Roosevelt’s talking about, like, you’ve signed up for this, You all are in the arena as a school leader. And even more so today with technology and with the political environment and that kind of thing. People have an opinion about every little choice that you make, And that could be scary at times, But it could be a really great opportunity as well to do something remarkable.
And so I just wanna honor the fact that you are in the arena, and have you ever experienced, we already talked about this, do you have critics at school, Everybody should be shaking their head and that’s just, that’s part of the game. Leadership would be quite boring if everybody just believed everything you said a hundred percent of the time, It would certainly be easier. But where would the challenge and fun be in terms of what you can do? It’s something I also wanna just note. Sometimes the worst critic of all who needs to be the biggest cheerleader. I tell this to leaders all the time. And even though you’re at school and you may not think of yourself as a salesperson, you are a salesperson and you have to be sold on the idea, the initiative, the project, whatever you’re making changes hard. If you don’t believe a hundred percent in the direction that you’re going in, Why would anybody else believe? Sometimes you might be that critic. So here’s a question. Again, feel free to come off mute or put it in the chat for Dan to read out. But what is your default response when it comes to answering your critics? How do you usually respond? Feel free to be as honest as you’d like in this moment
While we wait for responses to roll in. Danny, there’s a question in the chat about where previous recordings are available.
Previous recordings of the success series training. Is that probably what the person’s asking?
I don’t know if you’re in our private Facebook group and I’ve put all these recordings there cuz the Facebook has like a little guide section in terms of a private group. And so I will make a note when I’m, when I’m done teaching, I’ll, I’ll put a link if you wanna join the Facebook group. You could also email me because I do know your name and I know we’ve talked before, so if you email me I’ll send you the link as well so I don’t forget.
Tell me more is one response. That’s good, one defense. I appreciate you trusting me enough to bring this to me. Let’s talk. Another vote for progressive discovery through questions. And Stacy noted, I have learned to thank them for their input and then ask questions.
You all are much better leaders than me because usually my default response is, what is this idiot talking about and I might get red in the face. Do you ever show visibly like your face betrays you? Or I might start sweating or my hands might be clenched up. And so that’s about being aware of what’s going on in your body and that kind of thing. And man, there were a number of healthy responses that Dan read from the Ruckus Makers attending today. So kudos to you for that. I just know typically my default response is less than generous. So some think this is more rhetorical, but how do you think the world’s top performers respond to critics? And I think we saw a masterclass of that in the comments.
And then this is also rhetorical, but can you learn to relate to respond to your critics, just like the best in the world do. All right, so here, here’s Chris and I mentioned how he was a state principal of the year in Massachusetts last year. That was a picture of us hanging out at my sister’s house in Foxboro, Massachusetts. But one thing that Chris and I call him Doc, one thing that he’s really learned to do is actually turn these critics into cheerleaders. It’s really an impressive thing and anybody can do it. Some of the things that he’s accomplished in his school, I’ll just give you the wildest. He’s gotten, and I’m not saying that I’m not saying that every school should do this. I’m not saying this is the right thing for every school.
What I am saying is this is something Chris wanted to explore, and he talked to his community about it, and they said, yeah, we actually think this thing that I’m about to reveal is a good idea. And when I share what I’m about to share, this is a radical idea. And when I share what I’m about to share, think about how your staff would respond if you haven’t made this shift. Again, I’m not saying you need to, or should, this is something he wanted to do. He thought midterms and finals weren’t of great value, okay? And he runs a large comprehensive high school in Massachusetts. And that there were better ways to assess what students knew and better predictors for college readiness and that kind of stuff. Chris had the bold idea of getting rid of finals in midterms,
So can you imagine if you even just like, isn’t it funny, you could think a new thought and your staff picks up on it and they’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa, you haven’t even said anything, But if you said to your staff, Hey, let’s get rid of finals and midterms. How do you think they would respond? Probably like, not super positively, but Chris, he turned those critics into cheerleaders. In my view, critics are a gift. And for a number of reasons, one, critics actually tell you how they feel. A lot of people, and they, they call it what the , the conversation at the, at the water cooler and people, it’s like the meeting after the meeting, and they don’t tell you how they really feel in the moment.
And that’s, that’s a sign actually of low trust, Within your culture. If the meeting is happening, after the meeting, at least critics tell you exactly where they stand with you. And now you can do something about it, Another reason that critics are, are a gift is that usually they have influence and sometimes that’s just a function of being loud and talking first, But critics are not bashful about sharing where they’re at, and they’re often loud in speaking first, and that can color the environment and influence people’s thinking. They have influence, which means if you could turn them into a cheerleader, this is a really great opportunity. Critics, because of the things that they say that are wrong, why the idea is stupid, or why the idea won’t work, and so on and so forth, they actually give you a map, a map for professional development.
Cuz what they’re kind of saying is, Hey, here’s all the bad things that I see in your really stupid plan school leader, and what’s left out, but really is what is said. If you actually address this stuff and have a solution for all of these objections, this is a really solid plan. And so now you have a map for professional development that you can offer your staff, which means when you turn around those objections and challenges, what do you think will happen with that big critic? They’ll be on board, So that’s sort of the high level idea of like, how that happens and one of your superpowers and tools that you can use. And I think the comments in the chat really reflected this in the leaders that are present today. But it’s about empathy and listening, which can be difficult,
If we’re honest, sometimes it’s like, man, we have so much to get done, and do I have time to listen? What’s going on in this person’s world? And they really hate the idea and I just want them to love it. Would it be easier? But if you could create that space and sit down with empathy and reflective listening and that kind of stuff and say “Do I understand it correctly?” Somebody said, tell me more. That’s a super question, isn’t it? Anyways, doing that kind of stuff, you can really understand where this critic’s coming from, and again, that provides the map forward. You need a model and practical tools and empathy and listening and that kind of stuff is a part of it. And that’s really all I want to talk about.
Critics can become cheerleaders. It’s sort of a high level idea, but I’m telling you, if you could truly understand why they object with everything that’s going on, that becomes the path. The obstacle is the way. So let’s move on to the Can If mental model. Mental model number one is a paradigm shift in terms of how people, I think default respond to challenges and innovations within education, and then the picture with the woman in the glasses, to me, it’s a new way of seeing as well, It’s a new way of seeing. I’m curious, how does your staff usually respond? We’re gonna get some really honest, I think answers here, Dan, but how does your staff usually respond to a new initiative that they are resisting? They don’t wanna do it. How do they vocalize and respond that they’re not on board yet? What does that look like and sound like within your buildings?
This won’t work because it will silence a lot of questions. They say they’re doing it, but really they aren’t. I don’t always hear the vocalizing, but observe avoidance in implementation. I think that builds on the last comment too.
Often the conversations go on outside the meetings.
Yep, meeting after the meeting. Thank you for that. So in its most basic form, the Can If Model is just one about possibility. We’re gonna flip constraints and obstacles and challenges into the path forward and the way forward and the opportunity there. It’s really about curiosity and possibility. One of the things that I love about the beautiful constraint, they said the best, like they can if they are sort of thinkers and leaders, they love the problem more than the solution. If that kind of thing keeps you up at night maybe it’s attendance or maybe it has to do with equality in terms of student achievement or representation of all the kids in your building within the literature and that kind of stuff. But if you love the problem when the solution, you’re gonna find probably actually a multitude of really great potential solutions.
And there’s five benefits I want to cover quickly in terms of the can if model. So benefit number one is basically what do you see? Do you see impossible or do you see possible? And so with the can if way of thinking, you keep the conversation going, you keep it focused on the right question, which is, how can we do this bold and ambitious thing versus what somebody put in the chat, we can’t do this or this’ll never work because, or thi it’s not possible, So that’s the first benefit, is keeping the conversation on the right question. The second benefit is optimism and curiosity. This is a superpower to me for your entire staff and the culture, but if you keep an open mind, you’re optimistic. Remember we talked about how that’s the foundation of progress.
And you’re curious, like these are great traits for you as a leader and your staff to have as well. Benefit three is a transfer of responsibility. So imagine giving your staff the gift that we are a building that finds solutions versus spending our time and energy identifying everything that’s wrong and all the reasons it won’t work. And there’s actually a time and a place for that. Some of you’ve heard me maybe teach on pre-mortems. I didn’t come up with the idea. Maybe you’ve heard it somewhere else, but a pre-mortem is just identifying all the reasons a project initiative, a plan is destined to fail. And that’s a good way of thinking about why something won’t work, because then again, you uncover all the things you should be planning for, and now you’re a more proactive leader. But this benefit is about responsibility and just saying we’re a group and organization that solutions, which is very similar to benefit for you, tell a powerful story about yourself as a school community,
Who do we wanna be? Who do we wanna be in 2023? Who does our community want to be known for? And so we’re a culture of transformers. We’re a culture of solution finders versus a culture of everything’s wrong, sky’s fallen, and victims of circumstance. There’s a lot out of our control. Are you a victim or are you gonna find a way? There’s a cool a YouTube, you should look it up. Hey, some of you I’m sure have heard of this guy, Jocko. He’s a former Navy Seal guy, totally inspiring, great leader and this kind of stuff. But if you type in Jocko and just the word good, there’s like a you and you can use this, this is just kind of like a little bonus tip. You could use this as a as a video to start a conversation or to inspire your staff.
And really the gist of this good rift that he does on YouTube is basically he goes through all these terrible things that happened to him in the military and experiencing war and this kind of stuff. And you can imagine there’s some really bad stuff. And his response to all the bad stuff each time was good. How’s that? What is he thinking? But it’s mindset and it’s always learning, From a challenging circumstance, okay? And then the fifth benefit in terms of Can If thinking is invested in your mindset. Adopting this model develops your mindset for sure. And there’s gonna be challenges. We know this is school leaders. Like Stacey said, she goes back to school tomorrow, there’s gonna be something that happens that she didn’t predict, and it’s gonna be hard, but she’s gonna figure it out,
When you have this Can If type of thinking and you’re curious and optimistic anytime you feel like you get stuck or you can’t find the answer, that’s okay. Now we’re just gonna use there’s nine Can If questions, propelling questions. So now we’re just gonna use a different line of inquiry to find the solution. Does that make sense? So you get stuck. All right, that didn’t work. Let me try another way. Don’t give up. Okay? And so there’s the model, and we’re gonna, we’re gonna dive deeper in the next section just so don’t feel like you have to write it all down, but that’s really all I wanna say from a high level in terms of Can IF. We’ve covered basically that it’s possible that critics can become cheerleaders.
We talked about the benefits, really, of the Can If model, and that it’s a model of opportunity and possibility. Here’s the nine propelling questions and the following slides have them all written down for you. And feel free to screenshot this stuff too. So question number one, question one for propelling question is we can, if we think of it as, and feel free to screenshot or write that down, any soccer fans here, I think like the World Cup was awesome and I’m not sure if you’re excited that Argentina beat France or not but this is FIFA 13, this is like a decade earlier and Messi still on the cover. That’s how he’s the greatest of all time. The story with FIFA 13 is do any of you, I still play video games, the dirty little secret about Danny Baur, I love video games.
Does anybody here either play video games or maybe their partner does, or maybe their kid does, You probably know somebody that plays video games. So one of the most annoying things about video games is the load screen and the load times, and it could take like forever, And so what FIFA 13 did, this was quite ingenious. And you gotta think about what this looks like in the model of school? But what if we thought of the loading screen as an opportunity for development? Does that make sense? So usually in a loading screen and a video game, what are we all doing? We’re just waiting. What FIFA did 10 years ago is they made little mini games in between where you could learn how to pass, attack on the goal, so on and so forth. Does that make sense?
You could earn rewards and all this kind of stuff. So the first propelling question, we can think, if we think of it as the greatest game of all time, if we think of loading screens as an opportunity to develop our skills, okay? Question two outta nine, we can, if we use other people to, all If we use other people to, and now I want to tell a quick case state Airbnb. Probably most of you have stayed at Airbnb, And one of the things that’s neat about it is that you could stay in some pretty cool spaces in really cool cities and locations at an affordable cost because people host and rent out their homes. What Airbnb found is that one of the biggest ways people decided where they’re gonna stay was based on the quality of the pictures of the property.
That makes sense. Okay, this looks like a great place. I wanna stay there, or this looks like a rundown. I don’t wanna stay there. Here’s the problem. Somebody can be great at being a host and having an awesome property and a really cool experience for you as a tourist or traveler, but they might stink at taking photos. I kind of laugh at this now, my mom and I love her dearly, but if she was in charge of opening her iPhone, turning the camera around so that we could take a selfie and getting everybody situated, it would be a disaster. Anyways, the Airbnb people, who weren’t great at photographing their homes.What did Airbnb do? We can, if we use other people to take pictures of our properties. They hired 4,000 local photographers spread out around the world, and that was just a free service.
We’ll take pictures of your home so we can rent it because they do a revenue sharing to grow their business that way. So that’s question two. Question three. We can do this really cool thing if we remove X to allow us to Y. And the story here is Citizen M. Has anybody stayed at Citizen M by any chance around the world? I did it only once. I stayed in a Citizen M in London, in Apple, just for some reason, I forget what they were doing, but they it’s funny, they had me come out because they probably found my podcast, but I think they thought I was like a journalist or like media type guy, and maybe I don’t, maybe I am, and I just don’t think of myself that way, but I don’t really like cover events. I find myself there and I’m like, what’s going on?
I’m not interviewing anybody. Anyways, I stayed at the Citizen. I’m in London, and it was a really cool experience. And the thing that makes Citizen stand out is that it is trendy. It looks beautiful, it’s designed in a very interesting way, and it’s actually really cheap, believe it or not. How do they do it? They focus on only four things. They focus on the bed, the shower in your room, the technology. The lights change colors and all this kind of stuff. So it’s super high tech. And then the fourth thing is their design, And what do they not focus on? They choose to ignore all the other stuff that you’re kind of used to. There’s no robes, there’s no slippers, there’s no tea and coffee in your room.
In fact, when I came to citizenM Hotel. I checked myself in, I went to a kiosk, entered in my information, I think a key even shot out of, I don’t know, some robot thing, and that was off to my room. They save on staff as well. So we can do this awesome thing if we remove X, which will allow us to y. Question four, we can, if we access the knowledge of. I know we’re in the maximize your margin challenge, that was a six day challenge that I put together right before January, and within that six days. The first day I shared something that I call the Ruckus Maker eight step goal setting tool. In that tool, one of the parts that’s really important is this idea of who, not how. As leaders, we often want to know the plan and we make the plan, and that’s how we’re gonna accomplish the thing.
A better way to think about it potentially is who will allow us to accomplish this thing versus how are we gonna accomplish the thing, So find an expert. , maybe if I wanted to grow a podcast, not how do I get more downloads, but who, who’s like a podcast growth expert? Like, who can I connect with, And so anyways, who can we access the knowledge of? And that’s, that’s a big part of the eight step goal setting tool who is in your network that will help you accomplish whatever the thing is you wanna accomplish. All right, question five. We can do this awesome thing if we introduce a dot, dot, dot. Surf doesn’t matter what you use in terms of detergent, but Surf is an economical choice. Affordable choice, Cheaper choice. And they knew that they couldn’t compete with all the other brands by loading up more science and enzymes and things that actually cleaned the laundry, which is the job you’re hiring it to do, which is kind of funny.
But the way they grew their business was not adding more enzymes that cleaned your clothes. They made it smell really awesome. So if they substitute that I see my clothes are clean, now that I smell my clothes are clean, Does that make sense? And so they invented all these different types of smells just to make you, okay, great. My clothes smell clean. And so we’ve introduced a new idea of evaluating how we clean clothes. Question six outta nine, we can, if we substitute X for Y. What did food trucks do, In one of the recessions in the United States, this is when food trucks really blew up. Y because they didn’t need a brick and mortar restaurant anymore, Which has rent and utilities and all this kind of stuff. Now there’s still costs associated with a food truck, but it’s certainly gonna be probably a lot cheaper than running a whole restaurant.
Plus you have the staff and all this kind of stuff and whatever. So that was something that happened with food trucks. Plus they can announce stuff on social media. They can make it like, Ooh, we’re changing locations, and it could build a pretty cool culture that way. But the idea is they substituted brick and mortar for bringing the food to you with a truck. Question seven, we can, if we can fund it by, At the end, I’ll have an invitation to, to join the principal’s success path. And it’s just an invitation. I hold it with an open hand. And if you’d like to join, we’ll talk about how you can do that. And if not, that’s okay too. But just like the mastermind, the principal’s success path is one way we serve school leaders.
And often school leaders are like, well, I don’t know how we’ll afford it. There’s a million ways you could do it. There’s title monies which are appropriate to use in terms of leadership development. There’s Asser funds. Some people have PD lines and PD buckets. There’s some folks, I know this is a lot less likely these days that have a school credit card, but some schools still fund stuff personally as well. You can write grants and there’s parent groups and some of those parent groups would be quite generous too, because they know, When you get better, everybody wins. So this question is, we can do this really cool thing if we can fund it by… Question eight. I call this the hip hop question, but if we remix it, if we mix together a couple things, so we can do this really cool thing, if we mix together, think of the iPhone.
That’s a remix. It took a lot of stuff that wasn’t usually combined and put it all, smash it together in a piece of technology. And now, can you imagine life without a cell phone? It’s like an email there, it’s a mini computer, there’s a camera, it’s an iPod. It’s changed everything. And so that’s an example of how we can do this cool thing. In this case, Apple grows our business if we mix together this stuff to produce an iPhone. All Last question, number nine. We can do this awesome thing if we resource it by. It’s different than funding question seven or six, whatever that was. We can do this awesome thing if we fund it. That’s when you’re responsible for finding the funding. Question nine is where you think of a way you could resource it for those you serve.
A good example would be Rent the Runway. Maybe you’ve heard of this before, but essentially it makes high design, like really nice fashion stuff that is usually incredibly expensive, like ridiculously expensive. It makes it affordable to the average person because you could rent the clothes, So you resource it that way. Another way of thinking of it ,I’m forgetting her last name, but her first name is Tracy. Tracy Rainier. She’s out in California. And it was introduced to me on the podcast, but the kids pay for nothing at her school. She has a high degree of kids that qualify for free and reduced lunch, and they just don’t have the resources that a lot of communities have. And so she has figured out a way to make everything free from textbooks to prom and everything in between. Now the kids have access to all the cool stuff that a typical American high school person is used to. So that’s question nine. Which question to put in the chat or come off mute? I have ’em all for you on the slide, but which one was the most helpful? Which one gets you the most excited as we went over those
Couple responses here, Danny? Number four, not focusing on the, but rather experts and people. Another, we can, if we mix together we can, if we substitute X for Y, it allows us to take something off the plate and to add something of value. And the first one out of the box thanking, and another response, removing X to allow for y.
Cool, thank you everyone for sharing that. I do love that one access and the knowledge of right, and like the who, not how sort of thinking. And a quick story there. I interviewed Susie Wise from Stanford. She wrote a book called Design for Belonging. Really beautiful book. But I don’t know if it was there or in her quick start that you could download her off her website, but she told a story and you should steal this. I’m giving you an activity to do with your parents, but basically on an open open school, welcome back to school type of night, community night, whatever. She had like two massive pieces of butcher paper, but you could have a whiteboard show ever you wanna do it. There were two questions. Question one is, I would like to learn.
Question two is I would like to teach, And the parents just answered, and maybe they did stickies, maybe they put note cards up there, maybe they just wrote on the paper and then you gotta get the contact info too. That’s a key, key part of it. But then she matched people together and she saw folks that wanted to teach all this really interesting stuff to maybe build on a robot to believe it or not, how to change a tire like a flat tire. And the interesting thing is never underestimate the value of what somebody can create. And there was this mechanic, a dad who was like, man, nobody’s gonna wanna learn how to change a flat tire. But believe it or not, this was actually the most requested, like, let’s call it a masterclass or whatever.
The dude was busy teaching all sorts of people throughout the community how to change a flat tire. A very practical skill so you can leverage the knowledge and expertise of your parent community. But another way you could think about it is that too often we design programs for our students and this kind of thing. And it’s like we forget to talk to the kids or the teachers even, what I mean? Like the people who are right there on the front lines. Let’s say you’re wanting to revamp how you onboard students and families that come in mid-year or something like that, Well, what if you ask like students and families who have been through that process and found out what worked and what didn’t work and that kind of thing, and they helped you design the program,
So that’s just another way that you can live out this idea of accessing the knowledge of, okay, cool. Now it’s your turn. I’m gonna shut up for five minutes and I’m gonna put a timer on. What I want you to do is consider what’s a current challenge you face right now on your campus. So I don’t know what that is, and there’s no right or wrong, but I want you to think about a project or a challenge you currently face. And in five minutes, I want you to try to think through these nine propelling questions and see if you could come up with some potential solutions that you didn’t have prior to being here 44 minutes ago. After five minutes I’d love to have a few group shares. It’d just be cool. What is the challenge that you’re facing and what are some new ways that you’re thinking about it? This is something that you could do obviously with your staff too. Teach ’em the Can If questions and then start having them think through potential solutions. Okay? Cameras on or off, however you wanna roll. But I’m gonna not talk for five minutes and when we come back, I’d love a few people to do some group shares. Thank you.
A couple of folks had to leave for other obligations, and Heidi and Lisa in particular wanted to make sure that they said, “thank you.”
Appreciate that. I’d love to keep these in an hour, but being unable to apply the stuff and being available for getting you unstuck for q and a is really important too. So these days I’ve been blocking off about 90 minutes, but thank you thank you Dan for that. Sweet. Is there a courageous soul who would like to talk about, “hey, this is a challenge that we’re facing on campus, and now that I have these nine compelling questions and the Can If mental model, here’s some new ways I’m thinking about the problem that I didn’t have before.”
I will jump in. I was waiting too. I think for me it wasn’t so much as we’re working on some budget issues in our district, and we’ve started some of the foundational work we know will need to happen to be transparent and for communication to flow effectively. And we’ve started this process, but for me, I was able to name it with this, so it was that we can, if we access the knowledge of, and we’ve got some individuals in our community that we need to bring together to give us some more financial standpoint, but also a way to include staff in that as well. And then using our state level communications support staff. I think for me it was just, I named it with a Can If Model question.
Thanks, Stacy, appreciate you chime in. I’m also curious too, just your comfort level. Like do you think you’d use the nine propellant questions with your staff or another way to think about it if you’re not comfortable yet using it with your staff and that kind of thing, what can we do right now to make sure that you are
I found it was a helpful little brainstorm, and I think practicing out on a couple of more issues or quote unquote problems would be helpful for me to get more comfortable using it. I think that’s something I will do because I do see it as useful for that first staff meeting back, the topic that I was journaling on was indigenizing our school logo. It’s something that I’ve talked about with a parent community. I’ve talked about it a little bit with student leadership at the school, but I have not talked about it a ton with the staff yet. And obviously they’re gonna be some of the most important drivers in making it happen. I think treating it as an opportunity. If we think of it as an opportunity to teach our students and our school community about the importance of why we would indigenize a school logo. I also was thinking about how we can, if we use other people, like for instance, who has the expertise, who has done this already, and I’m thinking of indigenous elders or artists, other schools or principals and vice principals who’ve done this already. And then the other thought I had was about mixing together our old logo with something new, maybe to be determined through, could be a student survey design competition. Or it might come from the indigenous community too. So those are just sort of like first thoughts.
I think you’re spot on too. The more it is like a muscle, the more you practice using these questions and bring them into the environment. When you’re like, okay, what do we do with this challenge? It’s not that it won’t work, it can’t work if we do these things right. And just being able to leverage that I think is a great thing. So thanks Dan.
Danny, I’m curious, when you’re using these questions, do you as the facilitators start with those questions with one in mind, or do you have the problem and just let the participants select them?
My third co-host Alba’s barking, so I’m gonna close my office door and then respond to your questions. I don’t know if you could. I don’t know if you could hear her or not. So just to make sure I got Stacy, I think you were saying like, yeah, how to as a facilitator, like how to introduce these questions and that kind of thing and get people to use them. I’m really comfortable being uncomfortable and I love messy and defining boundaries and letting people be awesome. Knowing how amazing you are, Stacy, as a leader. And then I could make some assumptions about the quality of educators that you end up hiring, Anyways, I would trust them to say like, here’s the model and you’ll have access to this replay if you wanna steal the stories that I used to illustrate the questions.
But long story short, I would just kind of introduce it and let people play within the boundaries of the questions and see what they came up with. But that’s just, I mean, you could be as structured as you might want. But for me, I love, I love people that have a lot of agency. Does that help? I see a thumbs up. Okay. I think people really respond to that too. I think a lot about trust these days. And in the mastermind book that did really well last year one of the research articles I came across regarding trust had to do with three elements. Hopefully I’ll remember them. But one of them was quality relationships. Another was good judgment. And the third is consistency, ? And so I think like, I think creating a space where people can figure it out and saying like, I know you all got this and I trust you for it. I think that hits the first two in terms of building strong relationships and demonstrating good judgment cuz it’s instead of, we all know those micromanaging and like, this is all the ways we have to do it type of leaders versus , versus allowing people to figure it out for themselves. So thanks for that question, Stacy, any other, any other questions before we move on?
Emma posted in the chat that we can, if we think about restorative practices such as restorative dialogue as a way to learn more about our kids.
Emma is a new friend of mine too, so it’s great to hear that you’re using some of those awesome ways of right dealing with kids, especially when they’re challenging and that kind of thing. And it doesn’t always have to be a traditional punitive model. So kudos to you to try and to figure out the restorative model at your school. So far, what we’ve covered, The critics can become cheerleaders of the Can If mental model and then how to use the nine propelling questions. And hopefully many of you need to hear this today, So if you agree, that’s cool. I hope that you got a lot out of it. We were talking about a five star experience and getting something practical and learning how to turn people from critics to cheerleaders.
And I forgot some of the other stuff that we said. Let’s see how to transform. Critics, actionable tools, new ways of thinkingI think we’ve covered some of that stuff. So that was the first part. Critics can be cheerleaders and that they can actually another way of saying it is enemies to evangelists, but they, they’ll offer support. Then the Can If mental model is composed of those nine propelling questions, which is the last part that we covered and then applied some of that. And like Dan very intuitively noted, You’re gonna get better with it the more you use it. And don’t let fear and that kind of stuff hold you back or making mistakes or not being an expert at it yet you become an expert by doing right learning, by doing as a say it solution tree.
What was your number one insight? Come off, mute or put that in the chat, but what was like the best? It doesn’t have to be, I need to hear this question, although it could be the concept of critics. Cheerleaders, I saw it’s always interesting teaching and running these workshops because I see people write stuff down that I know they’re learning something, but it wasn’t like the big kahuna, so to speak. So it’s always really interesting just to hear what was, what was most supportive to you tonight. Will you put that in the chat? What was your number one insight, please?
Danny. Kate posted in the chat that she loves the problem more than a solution or loved the problem more than a solution.
That’s a good one. It could be powerful to share with staff members too. Thanks, Kate.
Kelly posted taking the barriers that critics bring as springboards for problem solving and being proactive,
The obstacles the way. Thanks Kelly.
Taryn posted number one, critics are a gift. And number two, love the problem. Pardon the solution,
My mindset is a powerful thing, What if you, every day you’re gonna have people who are gonna not think your ideas are the best. And what if you’re like every day, wow, these people are such a gift that I have in my community. Why don’t you approach the work a little bit differently? If you started saying that to yourself every day, you would. Thanks Taryn, for sharing
Emma noted the importance of listening to gripes and then turning those into objectives. Cool. And Stacy has several takeaways, but I may be my own worst critic.
We all are. I know, I am.
That’s true. And the Amy criticism is information.
It’s all data, It’s all feedback. So how do we use it? And that was a learning. I’veI’ve just started to mature at 44. I think I started that process as a man at 42, to be quite honest. And now I am learning to take things a lot less personally. We hear that all the time. Is leaders doing it? That’s a whole different ball game, isn’t it? But to not take things so personally and just to see it as feedback, as data, as objective, like, if you can make that shift, that’s a powerful gift to yourself too. All right. That kind of concludes what I’m teaching in terms of intentional design and curiosity and transform your school. But I do wanna invite you to the principal success path. If you’re open to hearing that, feel free to stick around.
Daniel (00:55:58):Principal Success Path. I’m gonna get into it, but it’s a 10 week program in case you wanna work with me a little bit deeper, I guess, So if that’s for you, cool. If not, feel free to log off too. I will practice not taking it personally, but I know since you did, Already spend an hour with me. And some people, a lot of people are still here, I know that you’re invested in your growth. And so I think you’d be interested in this opportunity. This which is funny cuz this is becoming the invitation slash pitch, however you wanna think about it. But you could steal this part too, which I’m about to teach you and use this with your staff as well, Because it is an idea. It’s something that’s been researched too, and it’s something called the Cap Gap.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this before, but essentially you could have all the knowledge in the world. Today you got really great tools. You had the right attitude because you made the space and time, To learn some things that would help you be an even more effective leader. And usually what gets people stuck is the gap between knowledge and attitude and with implementation, which is the practice piece, And so. If you do steal this, use it with your staff and introduce the cap gap. I would just talk about like, what do we need to do as a community of learners here to actually implement the things? Because if we connect some dots, One of the, one of the things that can be challenging and annoying as a leader is when people say they’re doing the stuff and they’re not really doing it well, there’s a cap gap there then they might not even have the right attitude. I don’t wanna get into that, okay?
So steal that little riff. Anyways you’re invited to the principal success path. The promise is really simple. It’s to become an even better leader in 10 weeks or less. We guarantee it, and I’ll talk about the guarantee a little bit later. There’s four parts really that you’re gonna get. So one is you’re gonna level up your mindset so that you’re even more magnetic, impactful, and effective as a leader. Two, you’re gonna learn how to use intentional design to create an even more welcoming and inclusive environment. Wouldn’t you like a more welcoming and inclusive environment? Three I’m sure you’ve heard this before, that success leaves clues so you can follow the clues left by remarkable leaders that you can use to create the school culture your dreams. And the fourth thing in the principal’s success path that we give is that you’ll absorb and practice the foundational actions that the top Ruckus Makers really take to consistently create results that you’ll be proud of and that they’re proud of.
What I call the principle success formula, It’s mindset, design, culture and results. And that’s what we teach. You’ve already seen this slide. Some people see impossible, other people see possible, but from what I know about all of you here, like you’re more of the curious, open-minded, optimistic type of leader. John is a principal in Delaware, and one of the things that he got as a result of the principal success path, we do this project, it’s in the book it have you read the ma the book Mastermind, My latest book in there is a tool called the Mastermind Mindset Scorecard. It has 12 categories of really just great things that the best leaders in my community that we founded all demonstrate. And we challenge the leaders to pick one of 12. Don’t pick 12 of 12.
Don’t even pick three of 12 to grow. Just pick one area and go deep on it, But anyways, John wanted to grow in candor. And so we made a plan that had concrete next steps and was really clear for him what to be doing. And the feedback he received from his staff after a one staff meeting is, John, you finally get us, Can you ma what would that be worth to you if your staff said, you get us, you finally get us design, this is Glenda, she’s a principal of Massachusetts, but after doing one project in the principal success path, her staff were coming up to her and saying, whatever you’re doing, girl, don’t stop. Okay? They’re like, you got a different energy coming into school after this summer, and please keep doing whatever that is. And so that was pretty cool for her.
And the project that she completed was redesigning her school entryway, which is one of the 10 projects in terms of culture. Becky and Monica are at a school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and their culture is pretty rockin. It’s a number four small employer in terms of top, top workplaces last year. And so that was kind of cool to see the result that they got there. And then speaking of results, one of the things that Scott, who’s now an assistant superintendent, started working on. He was an AP, he became a principal and I was an assistant superintendent, but one of the things that he’s loved working with me is getting a real process to make consistently good decisions. So I don’t know if any of you have ever come across and who knows, I’d have to really search the website.
But there is a tool I have that I’m revamping called the decision making journal. And anyways, that’s something that we teach deeply and then really help, leaders within the principal’s success path. So again, it’s a 10 week program and you’ll become an even better leader in 10 weeks or less. I’m sure you’re wondering how much it is. And some of you’ve been training, so you probably already know. When I come and do a full day speaking, no joke, I charge $12,000. This check here for almost 10 was for six months of one-on-one coaching. A half day speaking event is $7,000. And then the Mastermind, currently it’s going up in July, just so not for current members, but for anybody new. But the Mastermind is three 50 a month for $4,200,
So you might be thinking Principal Success Path is like that, but it’s not. I really wanna over-deliver and make this an easy yes for you. So the principal success path is just $2,000, And again, I wanna over-deliver. So I have some pretty cool bonuses. The program dates are January 15th through March 24th. And if you have credit card, personal school purchase orders, estimates, like we could do it all, okay? It’s, it’s, it’s very easy for us. Like I said, I wanna over-deliver. So it might not be new for all of you, but some of you that might not have picked up the book yet everybody who joins the path gets an autograph copy of my bestseller Mastermind, okay? So everybody’s eligible for that. And you could get that on my website. It’s 25 bucks. Then bonus number two is the access to the entire BLBS content library, which has three major online courses, the powerful days course, which interestingly like a bunch of people bought around New Year’s. so that they were ready, like to start 2023 on the right foot.
So there’s that one, there’s the Delegation Masterclass, which is a really great course. And the Ruckus Make a Roadmap by itself has over 40 videos. And so you have access to this for li for Life, or for as long as I’m alive, I would say. And and then the internet is still around, but essentially if you bought all those together on the website, it’s $900 and everybody gets this bonus just for joining the path for the first 20 liters. And it’s some people have signed up, so there’s not 20 left, but there’s still some available a kickoff coaching call, So a 45 minute coaching call to just hear about like your goals, where you’re going, how we can support you, and get you some momentum really quick at the start of the path. And then bonus four are three Momentum coaching calls around 30 minutes.
So once you complete the path basically like what are the next steps afterwards, so you keep the energy and the momentum going and I’m really looking forward to serving some people in that way. And then the last one in Dan for sure is gonna be here in Denver. Dan, we need a picture of you and me at the next live event, and I’ll start using that on the slide. By the way, props to you, man, great co-host. I really appreciate your help. So we’re doing this Live Mastermind event July 14th through 16th. It’s in Denver. I’m teaching something called the Leadership Optimization Compass. I could charge $2,000 for that. And right now I think the discount is maybe down to a thousand. But basically you get a free ticket to this live event if you sign up to the principal success path.
And so that’s really pretty cool too, so that those bonuses are only available. Just so , cuz there’s gonna be emails going out. They’re available till January 6th. So after January 6th, our program starts January 15th, if you choose to join on the seventh, you’ll just get the book and the content library and not the coaching calls or the live event ticket. And you could choose what path you wanna be on, Like we’re all gonna be, Stacey starts tomorrow and she’s gonna have that big smile right now. She has great support in the Mastermind, so I guarantee Stacey is gonna have the smiley face at the bottom row. But like by week two, week three, week four. It gets real school leadership. No joke. You can’t make up the stories that we experience and so I just know that it’d be a lot easier for you if you have the great support and the coaching and mentorship and community to go through the program.
Here’s the Ruckus Maker guarantee. It just means this, if you show up I should say, when you show up, right, and you do the work, right, I believe you’re gonna get a result and that you’re gonna become an even more effective leader. That’s why that’s our promise to you. If you can honestly say, Danny, I showed up, Danny, I did the things and took action on everything you taught, and I just don’t feel like I grew, I will refund a hundred percent of your investment. Knock on wood, seven years in business hasn’t been seven. Yeah, seven going on eight. Nobody has asked for this guarantee yet, but I think that’s illustrative of the type of results and how we serve our school leaders. So at least that’s the story I’m telling myself these days. And just to review what you get, the path by itself is a 10 week program.
You get the autograph book, which is 25, the access to the entire BLBS content library worth 900, the kickoff coaching calls a hundred the momentum calls 1500, and then the free ticket to the live event, 2000, that’s 7,425 bucks of value for just 2000 bucks. And if you go to Better Leaders, better schools.com/success, you can apply. And the cool thing about the application page is you could choose, Hey, I’m paying for this personally, you could take care of it right there. Or if you have a school card, you could request an estimate if you’re gonna do a purchase order. And I’ll get you an estimate automatically. Or if you’re like, Hey, I’m pretty sure I wanna join, but I have some questions for Danny, you could request a call and we’ll set that up. All right, so thanks for listening to that invitation for this pitch to the principal success path.
And I believe that Ruckus Makers are changing the world. I know it, I see it every single week. Again, you can get started at BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/success. So for the rest of the time, I’m just here to serve. There’s 10 minutes if you have questions about what I taught today in terms of transforming your school and the Can If mental model, or if you have questions about the program or you have a leadership question in general, I’m here to serve and I’ve blocked off 90 minutes, so I’ll be here for 10 more minutes.
There was a question in the chat, Danny, and I think you’ve addressed it. Just about the difference, oh, and that person’s logged off now. Between the difference between the Mastermind and the principal success path, I think you elucidated that with the, the bookends and the costs and such.
I’m gonna address this still just cuz there’s people still on the call and because it’s gonna, people who watch the replay the podcast, they might want to hear the answer too. Anyways, mastermind a little more expensive, it’s $4,200. The Principal Success Path 2000 Path is 10 weeks, 10 projects project based. The Mastermind is not project based. Somebody like you Dan, Sign up for the year and then you get great support, I believe for the entire year. Yeah. And it’s gonna be a smaller experience in the Mastermind cuz it’s up to 15 people and that becomes really, like, to me it becomes like a school leadershipRuckus Maker family where you become quite close with your peers and colleagues. Mastermind is very, both, both programs are personalized and responsive to what you need as a school leader. But the Mastermind is a million times more so because there isn’t a project-based curriculum. And so we will read some books and discuss together. But it really is about what does Dan need at this moment? And we try to show up and serve in that way at least when we’re doing it. Right. So is there anything you would like to add, co-host Dan.
I know you haven’t done the Path, but you’ve been on the Mastermind, so I don’t know if there’s anything that you would want to add. You’re on mute, but I know it’s your first time on Zoom.
You are correct. Yeah, it’s been super fun being part of the Mastermind for sure. And I guess today is a good example of I get out of it, what I put into it and, and I, I feel like I’m growing just by participating.
Awesome. Thanks for jumping in cuz I know it’s you and me and Maria, Irene at this point. But thanks for jumping in. , co-hosting was super awesome that you said yes not, not knowing too much of what I needed but that was really cool and I’m not surprised at all. So I wanna honor you again here at the end. This is where, at least for the recording we’ll end it here. So if anybody’s watching or listening on the podcast, we’re here to serve and keep making a ruckus. If you wanna apply to the path, all the bonuses are eligible until January 6th. If you go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/success, we would love the opportunity to serve you.
Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel better leaders better schools.com or hit me up on Twitter at @Alienearbud. If the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode, extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at alien earbud, and using #BLBS. Level up your leadership at Better Leaders better schools.com and talk to you next time. Until then, “class dismissed.”
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