21-22 Leadership Stories Stagen-Geisel Notes

Another Summer, Another Reboot

My best productivity comes with the chance to reflect on my professional practice and share my wondering/wandering on this blog. So I am headed back to the blog posts this summer, and I’d like to begin now.

Trust Formula

ModelThinkers.com

As I read through the documentation that the Stagen Leadership Academy offers to my cohort, I am trying to puzzle through formula in order to consider ways in which my team could utilize it better. However, I honestly have trouble seeing the overall picture. The main issue is how to look at the document as a snapshot assessment when my professional relationship with my team is in constant, and intentional development. I see my team’s function as a product of a series of interactions, all which happen in large number throughout a given week. I don’t think this formula can output a number that is valuable for more that a few days, at best. That being said, I see the power in the snapshot (I am an educator who utilizes standardized testing, so I would be lying if I didn’t!); however a consistent revisit to the metrics of this formula is required for me to use it well over time.

As an example to the free-flowing usage of this formula, I have canceled my weekly “official” meetings with my Associate Principal and Counseling team because they don’t add value; we are speaking to each other constantly and work very hard to be on the same page with addressing the needs of the faculty in my school. At the same time, the trust that I have in each of them is similar to a daily visit to the gym; we are breaking and remaking our understanding of each other constantly. As muscle fibers regrow as they are used and torn, so does the relationship I have with each of my team members. This consistent rebuild requires some good “pregame” creatine powder to maximize the workout. My team’s honest approach to working together inspires trust to be rooted in our interactions and offers a sense of dependability on the strengths each player brings to the table. More on teamwork below…

High Performance Teamwork

Miracle from Walt Disney Pictures

Miracle is one of my favorite movies. My cohort had been given the film as an assignment to watch and post a reflection on the value it portrays with respect to to teamwork. My favorite scene occurs when Coach Brooks (Kurt Russell) has the players doing sprints on the ice. Coach Brooks blows his whistle time and time again to get the players on the starting line and prepare for yet another sprint. It is a gruesome display of coaching discipline and physical trial. While the young players complete a ridiculous number of sprints, the purpose of the exercise is not to develop cardiovascular strength. Each of these kids comes from the best and brightest programs in the country, and their ability is never in question; rather, the best and brightest will have to come together as a new team of rivals. They must respect and depend on each other while they are on the ice. That is the challenge – when the tension is at its highest, a great team cannot be made up of individuals who work independently. Instead, a great team is comprised of an autonomous group of high performers ready to do his or her job to the best of his or her ability. All players are cogs in the machine with very specific roles to play. And an athlete cannot maximize his or her job without knowing that teammates are also playing their own part to the highest level.

A rising tide lifts all boats.

John F. Kennedy, 1963

I think that high performance is a little like “flow theory” when this idea is applied to a team. When I am really feeling the flow, it can’t be because I have closed my door and shut out my teammates so that I may focus. Instead, flow comes to a team when we are all working together, moving in the same direction while investing in and/or depending on the maximum effort of those around us. My best work comes when I can focus, that is for sure. But I can focus best when those around me are giving their best effort. The collective flow is better than any singular feeling of success I can achieve on my own.

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