Michael Frino, Ph. D, Director Organizational Development at Boston Scientific | WSJ Bestselling Author | Performance Researcher. Over the last 25+ years he has worked with Fortune 500 companies in the areas of sales, sales training and leadership development. I am passionate about building high-performing teams and organizational cultures.

He enjoys publishing research on human performance, sales and the euphoric state of flow. His experience has also given him the opportunity to work closely and lead teams responsible for multimedia production, organizational DE&I strategies and marketing competency development.

Katie Desiderio, Ph. D, Assistant Vice President, Corporate-Educational Partnerships | Tenured Professor of Management | Partner in Learning | WSJ Best Selling Author | Mama. Katie counts her blessings starting with the people in her life, which guides her approach to work where her focus is on every organization’s most important asset – you! Her personality and behavioral attributes emphasize collaboration and all things that keep human beings in focus, which fuels her intrapreneurial spirit.

As an athlete, she found flow in sports and later discovered flow at work to fuel her professional trajectory. After working for several years in corporate marketing, Katie chose a second career in higher education, where she celebrates the honor of being the first female chairperson of the Economics and Business Department at the sixth oldest institution in America and first to educate women.

As the mama of two extraordinary girls, she is committed to the development of rising leaders, namely in the spirit of leading from any seat. Along with her work as a tenured faculty member at Moravian University, Desiderio is Principal Partner in Learning of Proximal Development, LLC, an authorized DiSC partner, specializing in leadership development and the advancement of performance through learning.

Upon completion of her doctorate in Organizational Learning and Leadership, Katie has been co-authoring scholar-practitioner journal articles, conference proceedings, and now this book with her learning partner and friend. Join them on this journey to inspire how you will pollinate the world!

Show Highlights

Unceremoniously squash the queen bee of your hive to put productivity front and center.
Embracing messiness in leadership is essential for generating new ideas and encouraging diverse perspectives.
Learning and unlearning are vital components of value creation and collective progression when creating change.
Encouraging people to lead from any seat to create influencers around you to engage your entire community.
Maximize production in your “hive” with a hexagon shape collaboration.
Place yourself the center of someone’s growth to create the honey in your bee hive.
Get your FREE growth guides that encourage learning in the space of curiosity for deep level diversity.
“There’s an opportunity here to think about change agents. As Ruckus Makers, we have to continually turn the lens to be able to self reflect, to think about value creation.”
- Katie Desiderio

“We can’t let that serve as a blind spot for us to think about the impact on the collective whole. For all of us to be able to hit the pause button to say, ‘I probably could have done that better,’ or ‘how could I rephrase that or how could I look at this from a different lens to try to do it different or to bring someone else that might be more effective than I am in this space.’”
- Katie Desiderio

“If you don’t have a philosophy that you can share how you’re going to lead the good, the bad, and ugly and share it, then the environment that you’re creating may not be one that’s vulnerable and authentic, and people will just see you as kind of a hierarchical leader. And that’s not what we’re trying to encourage. We’re trying to convert, encouraging buyers where everybody can lead from every seat. It’s okay to bring your best self to work, come as you are, choose the lens you want, but let’s all work at this together.”
- Michael Frino

“When we think about being innovators and disruption and demonstrating a ruckus, you have to go through a process, and it has to be messy. It can’t be so rigid. The best ideas come when the process is messy, and you have to allow yourself permission to do that. Some people are really uncomfortable in that space, but getting out of your comfort zone, whiteboarding, brainstorming, being messy, will bring to life brand new ideas, brand new concepts, and probably allow people who have really great ideas to speak up that may not otherwise be heard, be messy.”
- Michael Frino

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Read the Transcript here.
Leadership Lessons from the Beekeeper

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Thanks for hitting play. Do you feel like a square bag trying to fit into the round hole of education? If so, you’re in the right place. I’m Danny Bauer, and this is the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast, the original Ruckus Maker podcast for visionary leaders who want to do school differently and make a legendary impact on their campus. Thanks to Ruckus Makers just like you, this podcast ranks in the top 0.5% of over 3 million worldwide shows. In today’s show, I speak with Katie and Michael, the authors of the Beekeeper, and this is a book that is highly recommended for you to check out. In our conversation, we cover topics like listening and unlearning embrace the messiness that’s inherent in leadership and why learning to be proximal is a game changer for leadership. Once again, thanks for listening, and we’ll be right back after a quick message from our show sponsors.

Hey Ruckus Maker, I’ll make this quick. If you’re listening to this message right now, you’re missing out. When you subscribe to the Ruckus Maker newsletter on Substack, you get access to micro books focused on how to do school, different tools and other resources that will help you make a ruckus and do different stories and case studies of the worlds most legendary Ruckus Makers of all time. Access to my calendar to schedule coaching sessions, and you’ll also get bonus podcast content that won’t be released on the main podcast feed and podcast episodes without any advertisements. Love this show. If it’s helped you grow and you want access to more tools and resources that will help you make a ruckus and do school different and become a paid subscriber at RuckusMakers.substack.com. That’s Ruckusmakers.Substack.com. The secret to peak performance is not complicated. It’s a plan on how to optimize the five fundamentals found in the Ruckus Maker mindset tool. This simple tool will help you consider where you are now and where you want to be in the next 90 days. For each area, you can complete the tool in five minutes or less. Download it for [email protected]/Mindset. If you could differentiate instruction in 20 minutes or less, would you do it for your students? Well, you can with IXL. Over 1 million teachers use IXL because it empowers them to use effective, data informed instruction. Get started [email protected]/Leaders. That’s ixl.com/leaders.

As a principal, you can’t be everywhere at once. So how can you help support every teacher in the building? With Teach FX, teachers can gather their own feedback without relying on classroom observations alone. The TeachFX instructional coaching app is like giving every teacher their own instructional coach whenever they want it. Imagine teachers gathering their own objective, private, research supported feedback with just the push of a button. Learn how TeachFX could help your teachers get students talking by visiting teachfx.com/ruckus. That’s teachfx.com/ruckus. When you work with quest food management services, you’re going to feel good about the food you serve your students. That’s because the food is real and it’s made from scratch and locally sourced. Learn more about quest food management [email protected] or follow Quest food on social media. That’s questfms.com. Michael and Katie, welcome to the show.

Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Yeah, thank you for having us, Danny. It’s good to be here.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Oh, for sure. I know the BeeKeepers had tremendous success. I know it’s going to definitely be a book that Ruckus Makers want to pick up. And I think a great place to start our conversation is can you bring us to the moment and tell us the story of watching a beekeeper squash the queen? Which I can’t imagine why you’d never do that. But it’s not my subject.

That Katie was involved, she tagged us on. It was a great story.

I should probably say Mike and I actually went back out to the hive that we kind of learned in while we’re writing the book. And went back with copies of the book to revisit the BeeKeepers when this experience of squashing the queen happened. It was even profound then because it was very unexpected that this happened. We’re kind of searching through the beehive and the beekeeper was kind of looking through all the panels and realizing that the queen was not producing. And so she started to share some concern right as she was going through, she’s like, ‘oh, this is not good. And so as she was going through each panel, she finally got to the last panel where she found the queen. And she said at this point in the season I’m just gonna have to squash the queen. And she pinched the queen and dropped her to the bottom of the hive. And were almost like, speechless. We leaned in, we’re like, did that just happen? And she really unceremoniously squashed the queen. And as Mike and I were reflecting and talking to her about this process, there’s so many things akin to how we think about this in our organizations that oftentimes we have people who aren’t producing or aren’t contributing. And she shared with us, if she left the queen there, all of her bees would be dead by the end of winter. She had the opportunity to make the decision to say, I squashed the queen, drop her to the bottom of the hive, so her pheromones are still there, so they feel the sense of safety, and then I’ll be able to combine hives so that they’ll be able to thrive through the winter. And so this undertone of decision making, sometimes tough decisions that will help the collective whole are ones that were like, wow and so it really had us reflecting on that and, too, on the health of the hive. That we’re putting that front and center.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
I love that because the collective right, what’s good for the group is paramount to that decision. And you mentioned that the queen’s not producing. We got to make a change. Unceremonious. There was no parade.. No greatest hits from the queen and that kind of thing. But some interesting stuff happened there: the pheromones and the idea of safety within the organization. An interesting metaphor. And the other piece, too, is, the science behind it and that kind of stuff, but bringing the other panel in and maybe the other queen or whatever, but so there was some transition. And that the hive wasn’t just left to fend for itself without the leadership and that kind of thing. But I don’t know if there’s more.

Mike, do you want to talk a little bit about how they combine hives?

Absolutely. It’s very common in organizations and very common in teams is that when there’s new leadership. Sometimes someone has to step in. Teams need to kind of collaborate differently, work together with different groups. And the beekeeper who’s kind of overseeing all of this kind of had to make that quick decision, but knew immediately that if they didn’t do it and didn’t combine hives and put these kinds of hives together, that none, that hive wouldn’t survive at all. And so for the betterment of the team, I think we have to looking out for the team, this case, the bees and whoever was in leadership, that is no longer, obviously, in that position, allow for other leaders to step in, kind of create an environment where the bees can thrive, or in this case, our teams can thrive rapidly. So there’s no disruption in performance optimization. There’s no disruption of what we’re trying to accomplish. Goal attainment. Because the longer things are disrupted, the more people question their safety at work and safety in the hive. That could be quite disruptive to production.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Absolutely. I would think that the Ruckus Maker listening might identify with the beekeeper the most, potentially that they get to make the tough call, squash the queen or not squash the queen. But what if the Ruckus Maker listening is the queen? I’m wondering if you have any frameworks or questions or challenges for the Ruckus Maker listening to consider if you’re producing or not.

I think there’s an opportunity here to think about change agents.As Ruckus Makers, we have to continually turn the lens to be able to self reflect, to think about value creation.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
I think Ruckus Makers listening to that story probably think that they’re the beekeeper and get to make the tough choice, but the odds are maybe they might be the queen, and reflection and being able to get a pulse and understanding if you’re providing value or not seems really important. I’m just curious if you have anything on that in terms of reflecting and seeing how you’re contributing to the organization.

It’s such a great question. And there’s an undertone throughout the book that is encouraging ongoing learning and growth. In how bees pollinate and help things grow. But in the spirit of that, what’s coupled with learning is unlearning. And unlearning is much harder for adults than learning is, because we’re habitual creatures and we see what we see. And two, we can think that our intentions are sound. And so there is this opportunity, as change agents, to continually self reflect and turn the mirror and start to think about value creation and start to think about the whole. In the spirit of our collective progression. And so I think it’s important for us, as we have momentum, and I think there’s a lot of energy that comes in change and the creation of change. And probably in the heart of Ruckus Makers.

We can’t let that serve as a blind spot for us to think about the impact on the collective whole. For all of us to be able to hit the pause button to say, ‘I probably could have done that better, or how could I rephrase that. Or how could I look at this from a different lens to try to do it differently or to bring someone else that might be more effective than I am in this space.’ From a leadership perspective, we recognize that it’s about encouraging people to lead from any seat and to create influencers around us. Sometimes that means we’re hitting the pause to kind of engage the people around us.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Love the idea of leading from any seat, because to me it helps, right, if you have a title in a corner office and that kind of stuff. But leaders are everywhere. It’s really about making change happen and being of service. Any tips, advice for folks that might not, they want to have that type of contribution and to lead from any chair, but maybe scared to take that first step. What would you tell them?

This goes back to the environment that we’re creating at organizations. I think it pressed the first start with the leader recognizing and demonstrating a little bit of vulnerability, making it okay, and giving permission for people to kind of challenge the status quo. One of the chapters that we talk about in the book is ‘be challenging’. How do you challenge the status quo meaningfully, where you can bring your best self to work, your opinions to work, and not have a fear of any kind of consequences? First it starts with the environment, and that’s why beehives are so interesting. They really got the optimal environment with this hexagon shape to perform at the highest level. And so mathematically, it provides stability, it provides opportunities for collaboration. It also provides opportunities to maximize production. We have to kind of treat our teams, organizations, and schools like a hive where everyone is contributing, collaborating, and bringing their opinions and ideas to work. And if the leader is fearful to hear maybe something negative or maybe something that is opposite of their perspective, then that work needs to be done. I think Katie mentioned it a little bit on the leader. We encourage leaders to do a lot of self reflection, and understand how they show up. There’s plenty of assessments and tools you can use to take a look in the mirror and say, what are my natural styles? What’s my personality style? How do I show up each and every day? How do I show up to the people around me? And what are my blind spots? Once you know that, articulating it and sharing it is very important so your team knows that you’re well aware that you may come across this way and that you’re working on it. But it builds trust with your team to allow them to then communicate effectively and challenges that as well.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
What you’re talking about. I was talking to a principal of mine here in upstate New York and a former football player. He shows up physically as a bit intimidating, let’s say big guy. But he’s really a big kid inside. On the inside, he’s like, I love my students, my staff. I’m happy. I so enjoyed my work, but people ask me all the time, like, so and so you okay? What’s wrong? There’s incongruence sometimes. Our face betrays us. Is that what you’re talking about? And then.

Absolutely not only kind of just the way maybe you show up with nonverbal cues, but also your verbal cues. Like, I mean, it’s very even alluded to in the book when we talk about the protagonist Catherine’s disc style. She shows up a very certain way, and her disc personality style enables her to kind of feel a sense of harmony. She wants support, enthusiasm, and that’s great, but not everybody is like that. She needs to be aware of how she shows up. And so the work needs to be done internally. Personally, I show up as very questioning and skeptical. That doesn’t resonate with everybody. I need to understand that so I can do a better job of flexing and responding to others in a meaningful way, but vice versa. Teams need to know that. I want them to challenge the status quo. I want them to push back, be candid. But if I am committed to questioning and skeptical, that doesn’t mean I don’t want their challenge. Or their feedback. I want them to give it to me. I just may respond in a way, and I don’t want that to be an inhibitor, but that’s kind of where I go. So it’s kind of a two way street. I need to know that about myself. Take a step back and allow them permission to do that. But they also need to know that Mike may ask a few additional questions about this. It doesn’t mean that my idea is not good. It’s just that’s what he needs for clarity to move forward. That work needs to be done in any organization.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Yeah, that’s great. Katie, you mentioned an idea I want to revisit. The idea of unlearning, which I think is super important to being a Ruckus Maker and certainly creating change. One of my coaches and mentors, he teaches on this idea called category design. He says one of the biggest things with folks that he supports is they are willing to unlearn because there’s just so much garbage in the way. Can you riff on learning a little bit?

And I love this idea. That we should get stuck. As humans, we unconsciously limit our ability to be able to see. So I want to make a little thread of what Mike just talked about our natural personality styles. We have these opportunities to unlearn the lens that we see a situation or a person or an idea. And that prompts us to kind of hit the pause button to say, okay, my natural automatic response is this, but pause. Let me listen, and let me not listen to respond. Let me listen instead to understand. And in the space of listening to understand, that’s where learning occurs. Oftentimes we’re leaning in with curiosity to say, tell me more about that. I’ve actually never thought of it that way. Or it goes back to what Mike mentioned. In many ways, intention and impact could be misaligned. My intentions and this principle that you mentioned, intentions are, I care so much, but the impact is your face is telling me that you’re not okay. And in that space of unlearning. There’s a place for us to say, like, insert smile right now, like, I’m feeling this emotion inside. Let me pause. I want people to acknowledge the presence of how I’m here. And it goes back to that, how we create an environment that’s welcoming people to be vulnerable, people to lean in with and question people to also learn along the way. For us as leaders, we have to be able to model some of that and the level of vulnerability. To say such a good point, I would have done it this way. Thanks for prompting or encouraging me to look at it from a different lens. And to look at this in a new way.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
What you’re talking about, Katie and Michael, the idea of being curious, open minded, and also vulnerable. What’s interesting, I don’t know how much of that’s taught in leadership school, so to speak. It seems like a foundation to leadership success. Any tips or tricks around how we develop these areas so that we can serve and run organizations that we’re proud of?

A lot of the points that we’ve been talking about really kind of manifest in leadership development programs through the creation of your own personal value system and your own kind of leadership philosophy. When leaders. A lot of challenges occur in organizations when we talk about this, when values get compromised, their personal values are compromised. People don’t see things eye to eye. To answer your question in leadership development, I think value creation of what your personal values are and core values are, is really important. And then not only writing them down, but sharing that. Because that’s when people get stuck, when someone’s core values get. Get compromised on both ends. Shared values on a team and an organization, a school are really important, that really encompass a lot of individual personal values they can rally behind. And then creating a leadership philosophy is. Is a must have. And if you don’t have a philosophy that you can share how you’re going to lead the good, the bad, and ugly and share it, then the environment that you’re creating may not be one that’s vulnerable and authentic, and people will just see you as kind of a hierarchical leader. And that’s not what we’re trying to encourage. We’re trying to convert, encouraging buyers where everybody can lead from every seat. It’s okay to bring your best self to work come as you are, choose the lens you want, but let’s all work at this together.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
My leadership philosophy is to be an intentional catalyst. I’ve realized things could go much better or much worse depending on my energy and how I decide to show up. I don’t know if either of you have one that you’re willing to share with the audience.

I love that. Being an intentional catalyst and that space of being intentional, I think is important for listeners. What we give our time and energy to grow. And I think sometimes that goes back to the idea of unlearning, as we can become very habitual to giving our time and energy to things we don’t want to grow. But when we’re being intentional, we’re saying, nope, I’m not entertaining that, but I’m going to shift over here and give time and energy over here because I want to see this grow. And so I love that as kind of as a Ruckus Maker, but also in you kind of working smarter toward your goals, I think. And that stems from a lot of what Mike said in alignment of your values, but one that I’d like to share. And Mike really made me think about it as his response is to be proximal. And this is really at the heart of our discipline. Mike mentioned organizational learning and leadership. But to be proximal means that you’re putting yourself at the center, at the heart of learning and growth, but that you’re also putting others at the heart of learning and growth. And so when Mike asked us to reflect on, like, what are your core values? What would your leadership philosophy be? It always starts there. When we’re thinking about how we grow as leaders, there’s that constant self reflection of who am I choosing to be? And how do I leave people feeling after an interaction with me. How am I influencing the way forward? But then what does that mean at the group level?

How are we encouraging others to do the same? And then when we think about the hive. Those individuals coming together to add to the collective of this deliciousness of moving forward. If I think about the honey, the production of what we could do together is really magical. But a lot of times we don’t give our time and energy to do that. We think more task based, . More tactical, as opposed to the like, let’s get to the heart of the human, right, and then the humans around us to help us do amazing things together.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
That makes sense. I’m really enjoying this conversation. We’re going to pause here just for a second to get some messages in from our sponsors. And when we come back, I’d like to revisit this art of learning to be proximal and maybe a shift that a Ruckus Maker can use to get closest to the heart. What makes an assessment effective? I would argue giving teachers access to quick, reliable, and useful results that inform the next best steps for teaching. And that’s where IXL really stands out. Teachers get powerful insights into student performance on a daily basis so they can address issues the moment they arise. Imagine that, ingesting instruction in real time before it’s too late. Your teachers have a tool that helps them to be more effective and your students continue to grow. Check it out for [email protected]. Leaders that’s ixl.com leadership leaders. In post pandemic classrooms, student talk is crucial. And when classrooms come alive with conversation, teachers and students both thrive. Teach FX helps teachers make it happen. The Teach FX instructional coaching app provides insights into student talk, effective questions, and classroom conversation quality. Teach FX professional development complements the app and empowers teachers with best practices for generating meaningful student discourse. Teachers using Teach FX increase their student talk by an average of 40%. Imagine that. 40% more ownership over the class by students. Ruckus Makers can pilot and teach FX with their teachers. Visit teachfx.com/betterleaders to learn how. That’s teachfx.com/betterleaders. For some students, the meal or two you serve them, that’s gonna be it. That’s what they get for the day. Which means we’ve got to get this

Quest food management Services elevates the student dining experience, serving scratch made meals using high quality ingredients that are sourced locally and responsibly. Now, you might be thinking, okay, Danny, I get it, the food’s high quality, but do the students eat it and enjoy it? Bottom line, students love the food. Quest is one of the fastest growing companies in the school food service industry and has been consistently ranked in the top 50 food service providers by food Management magazine. Learn more about Quest food management [email protected], or follow Quest food on social media. That’s questfms.com. We’re back with Katie and Michael, authors of the Beekeeper talking about the art of learning to be proximal and being closest to the heart. Katie was talking about the heart of the work and then the heart having people be at the center of what we do as well. But either you, Katie or Michael do you have anything in terms of how to make those shifts to be closest to the heart? Again, I think what I keep hammering in this conversation is like, feels difficult. How do we do it?It’s so important, yet how do we do it? Who teaches us and all of that?

I think just building on what Katie said, this concept is kind of a, a fresh concept. And if you want to talk about making a ruckus, that’s kind of what we’re trying to do with this art of learning to be proximal because it is difficult, to your point, And especially going back to not everybody can prioritize the human being, it’s just not innately in them. They think about other things, like paths like Katie mentioned, and processes. I think that awareness of who you are and where you need to stretch is really important.
But when you think about placing yourself the center of someone’s growth, it is not only understanding what their goals are, understanding what they’re trying to achieve, but also understanding that, look, there’s going to be ups and downs in any kind of relationship, whether it’s at work, at home, personally, professionally, and your commitment to navigating through those and not taking things personally. When you hear feedback about something, right, or feedback’s a gift. We say it all the time. And it may be something you don’t want to hear, but it’s something that you have to understand in real, true alignment on how this person wants to grow and what they need and what fuels them. Katie mentioned tasks, and I’ll just go back to, a lot of the motivation for people to do great work depends on the emotional connection with another individual, whether it’s your manager or leader or someone on the team. And if that emotional connection doesn’t exist or that personal connection, or that person doesn’t feel like you’re doing it for the right reasons, then that could stifle the relationship, that could stifle performance. I think espousing it is really important. Letting people know that you care is important. And then understanding what the other person needs to show a sign of solidarity, like, hey, I know this is what you need.

I’m going to do my best, even though this isn’t my, maybe my natural tendency to show you no one place in this whole set of your your growth story. But it’s asking. It’s like, what do you need? And then trying to do your best to accomplish that.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
I think what I’ve heard and you say, too, and work with school leaders, and we have a group community experience, and there’s not really a curriculum that I can define. If I’m pitching it to a district, there’s some broad strokes and ideas, but what I try to tell leaders who are thinking about joining, you’re the curriculum, The challenges you face. It’s all unique to the context of your school. We can’t make it all up, so we’re going to help you solve that number one challenge. Is that what you’re talking about? Being that dialed in hopes, dreams, and aspirations, goals of the people you serve?

You have to care about your people. It has to be genuine, authentic. If people think you’re just doing it because it’s something that is written on a poster at some kind of conference, then it’s not gonna. You’re not gonna make a difference. It has to be shown authentically. I do care. But some people, to your point, don’t know how to do it. It requires a lot of self work to say where are my blind spots? Where am I strong? What can I show my team that I’m gonna leverage my strengths, but also commit to working on the things that, you know will make me better.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Obviously, if a Ruckus Maker listening wants to start this work, step one, pick up the beekeeper. Consider doing it as a faculty read or a leadership team read that. This is a great book to discuss. And what are the implications, applications for our school community. But what would you say if you had an ask of the audience? What would you want step two to be?

Kate, you want to take that one?

Yeah. You certainly pick up the beekeeper, but then have a discussion. As a group. We have a lot of schools who have adopted the book. In the spirit of that, Mike and I have created growth guides on our website that are free to our members. And so if you become a member for free on our website, you have access to all of these growth guides. But it encourages learning in the space of curiosity. And we start to identify that even as you go through each chapter with each b mindset. And this is where deep level diversity emerges. We see that the people around us have different responses and different resonance with certain things within those chapters. And it allows us to start to appreciate the deep level diversity, differences among us, but to welcome diversity of thought and voice in those spaces that as we identify be mindsets, it might look completely different in the way I operationalize a be energizing, be mindset than how you would Danny or how Mike would. But we have to acknowledge that when you’re being energized, people have to appreciate the authenticity of it being you. We often have people in the space of saying, like, I don’t want to not be me. And so the goal is not to not be you, but how are you articulating and being able to effectively communicate any misinterpretation of some of those things? And so the step two in that dialogue or social learning that happens, helps in heightened awareness, but also creates that environment.

Of psychological safety to say, wow, we see that differently. That’s pretty cool. And we want to create that in our classrooms, by the way. Because that’s how we’re starting to learn about the differences of others. And social learning and unlearning opportunities as we progress.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Brilliant. Some questions I love asking all the guests. We’ll start with the school marquee. If you could put one message on all marquees around the world for a single day, what would your message be? I’d love to hear from both of you on this one.

I’m going to pull one out of the chapter from the book, but I think the chapter will be messy. Would probably be my number one message for the marquee. When we think about being innovators and disruption and demonstrating ruckus, you have to go through a process, and it has to be messy. It can’t be so rigid. The best ideas come when the process is messy, and you have to allow yourself permission to do that. Some people are really uncomfortable in that space, but getting out of your comfort zone, whiteboarding, brainstorming, being Mass City, will bring to life brand new ideas, brand new concepts, and probably allow people who have really great ideas to speak up that may not otherwise be heard, be messy.

I’m going to go to a marquee around the world. And really, that’s in the space of everyone thinking about how we keep learning at the heart of all we do in that space of ongoing learning and growth, and in that space of being proximal. As Mike was talking about this earlier, the goal is for us to think about how do we surround ourselves with people that push us out of our comfort zones to learn? And so Mike and I are growth partners. We could not be more different. We could not see the world more differently. But in that space of being proximal, there’s a commitment and an accountability that we hold each other to in moving out of our comfort zones to say, oh, that didn’t really land or interesting that you see it that way.
Here’s how I see it. How do we kind of tease that apart to gain understanding? But the goal then is, and we could see this with students and we see this with people in our organizations, is that we want people to then be able to do this on their own. We want to create some sense of self direction, In their belief and their ability to speak up, to be messy, to challenge whatever it is. But that’s always at the heart of, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m committed to this art of learning to be proximal, where I’m going to keep at the heart of everything I do, ongoing learning and growth.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Let’s say you build a dream school as growth partners. And you’re not constrained by any resources. Your only limitations, your ability to imagine when building maybe the beekeeper dream school, what would be one guiding principle each of you would bring to the table?

That’s a good one, I think for me, ‘be energizing’ is also kind of one of the chapters in the book. And I think thatI’ll steal kitty uses all the time. But, like, the emotional contagion you can bring to an environment, like really creating fuels that environment, and you have to bring your energy so people know that you care, so that they can kind of rally behind you a shared vision. And so I think ‘be energizing.’ If you’re going to create the beekeeper school or the hive of the future, then that need to be energized.

I love that. I’ll say the mindset of being calm. I think for Ruckus Makers, there’s an undertone of being a change agent there. And so your ability to be calm amongst a storm, to be able to effectively create that environment where people feel safe and they can lean in and come along with you into that nebulousness and the space of the unknown, I think is really important.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Let’s just stay with you as we end. We discussed a lot on today’s show. Of everything we covered, what’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?

We want them to really remember in the spirit of learning to be proximal. In addition to learning, that means unlearning and so be able to hit the pause button. Give yourself permission to say, I didn’t like how I authored that page today. I want to author it differently tomorrow. I’m going to look at this from a different lens. I’m going to call a member of my star system or a growth partner or someone else to help me kind of choose that lens to replace habits that aren’t working with new ways of seeing and being.

Chief Ruckus Maker Danny
Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast, Ruckus Maker. How would you like to lead with confidence, swap exhaustion for energy, turn your critics into cheerleaders and so much more? The Ruckus Maker Mastermind is a world class leadership program designed for growth minded school leaders just like you. Go to betterleadersbetterschools.com mastermind, learn more about our program, and fill out the application. We’ll be in touch within 48 hours to talk about how we can help you be even more effective. And by the way, we have cohorts that are diverse and mixed up. We also have cohorts just for women in leadership and a BIPOC only cohort as well. When you’re ready to level up, go to betterleadersbetterschools.com/mastermind and fill out the application. Thanks again for listening to the show. Bye for now and go make a ruckus.



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