Archive for April, 2013

Locked Out

It’s 2013.  It’s the 21st Century.  It’s not 1983, when there was no internet in schools.

When I was in high school, we didn’t have computers.  I had to take a class called Typing, and we used typewriters (which I don’t know if they even make them anymore).  We went to a convenient store to play Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man.  Every so often they would get a new game.  Galaga, Asteroids, Frogger, Space Invaders are the ones I remember.  When we wanted to watch a movie, we had to go to the movie theater.  There was no Netflix or YouTube.

I had a U.S. History teacher who put his notes on an overhead for us to copy.  Page after page!  We had a test every Friday.  We couldn’t talk or ask questions.  Remember this … read the chapter and answer the questions at the end of each section?    Teachers checked attendance and put the paper on a clip outside the door.  What’s scary is that there are some teachers today who would still like to be like this!!!

Remember, there was no internet back then.  But today, we are fortunate to have access to the internet and it is a great tool.  (Thanks Al Gore for inventing it!!)   Students today have grown up with the internet.  They don’t know life without it.

Luckily it’s now 2013.  We have access to the internet and it is a great resource for the teachers and students.

Let’s lock it down and see what happens.

I can tell you what happens.  It creates a lot of turmoil.  It creates a lot of chaos.  It creates uncertainty with teachers and students, who have been fortunate enough to have an almost all access pass to the internet.  They do not understand why this had to be done.  Our filter has taken care of the bad sites for the most part.  Now, though, it was totally locked down but is gradually allowing certain sites to be allowed.  All this has been done for a reason, but most people don’t care what the reason was.

Many of us have taken for granted what we have and how fortunate we are at my school.  What I am afraid of, though, is that the loss of most of our internet access will set us back.  Maybe not as far back as the 80’s, but at least a few years.  Back to a time where the teachers didn’t feel comfortable using technology.  What I’m afraid of is that we’ve lost a year’s worth of technological progress in just one week.

I hope not!

positive

My heart goes out to the victims and their families from Boston.  I pray for quick recoveries and emotional healing as everyone tries to recover from this senseless tragedy.  We live in a world today where violence is everywhere … just look at the news as they report on the explosions at the Boston Marathon.  I understand that it’s their job; however, I know that there are positive stories intertwined within all of the negative stories.  I would hope that people can focus on these positives while at the same time not downplaying or forgetting what happened.

As I was coming to school this morning, I was thinking about how one person can do something bad and that is all that we talk about.  We forget (or ignore) all the good.  I am guilty of doing this.  I fail to recognize all the good that goes on at my school on a daily basis.  I really need to apologize for this.  I am fortunate to have a great faculty and staff and great students, but I don’t do enough for them to let them know how great I think they are.  I tend to focus on the small percentage that is the negative.  Every organization has its good and bad, and in my case, I tend to only focus on the bad.  Why do I do this?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that I need to change.  I need to recognize and publicize the good more.  I can’t ignore the bad, but I have to put the good first.

As we move forward from this tragedy in Boston, lets all try to do a little more good today that we did yesterday.  Lets all try to positively recognize more people today than we did yesterday.  Lets try to not focus on what’s wrong with something instead lets focus on what’s right.

Lets make today better than yesterday, and then tomorrow better than today. 

 

good not bad

Just watch the news tonight.  It doesn’t matter if it is your local news channel,  Fox News, or CNN, you will see something negative.   I’m not in the “news” business so I can’t say why they choose to focus on the negative stories, but sometimes, very rarely, they do have a positive story to share.

Here’s a story that will touch your heart.  I hope that it affects you like it did me.

 

 

This is just a simple act, but it proves that there is good in the world — that there is Something Positive … In a World Full of Negatives !!

 

 

helping-hand

It doesn’t matter what type of leader you are, you want to be successful, and your success as a leader depends on the success of your team.  We all struggle at times, and when one struggles, the entire team can be affected.  So it is best to create a team that has consistently high performance.  How do you do this?  There are three factors that can boost the performance level of your team.

What Factors Make Consistently High Performance?

  1. Expectations — expect your team to excel.
  2. Responsibility — give your team members more responsibility.
  3. Feedback — give your team members more supportive feedback.

As the leader you have to believe in people, hold them accountable, and give them a supportive environment.   It is your job to create an atmosphere of high performance by improving your communication with your team members, paying attention to details, and improving cooperation between your team members.   It’s about using these three factors all together, and by doing so, your team will respond positively.

EXPECTATIONS

Positive expectations have to be communicated to others.  Everything you do and say must communicate your positive expectations and these expectations must begin with the current reality of your of your team and organization.  Recognize the facts and accept the reality.  Acknowledge things as the are or it will be impossible to move forward.  Your expectations will have a significant impact on others so remember to communicate clearly and consistently through words, tone of voice, and body language.  When you expect the best, people will respond.

RESPONSIBILITY

There has to be accountability both as a leader and as a team.  Lack of accountability paves the way for mediocrity, and without accountability, nothing gets done.  You must have clear-cut goals and make sure everyone understands what these goals are.  When the team is engaged in setting the goals, developing the plan, and measuring the progress, the more accountable they become.  The goals need to be proactive, not reactive.  This will create the focus for the team.

FEEDBACK

Feedback tells us how well we are doing, helps us stay on track, and make progress toward our goals.  Feedback is essential to helping everyone on the team grow.

Positive feedback should be motivational, energizing, and validating.  It makes you want to accomplish even greater things.  It serves as reinforcement. Negative feedback can also be motivational; however, it can be less energizing and validating.  Sometime it may seem as punishment so you have to be careful with what you say or how you say it.  Bringing out the best in your team means recognizing good work and reinforcing the desired behavior.  It’s about giving them positive feedback that makes the team want to keep doing the good things they are doing.  Not everyone will be great, but everyone can be better.  It is our job to help people improve.

team

Creating a team that consistently functions at a high performance is the job of a leader and the leader is only as good as his/her team.  In order for the team to be a high-performing team the leader must do these three things well …

  1. Expectations — expect your team to excel.
  2. Responsibility — give your team members more responsibility and hold them accountable.
  3. Feedback — give your team members more supportive feedback

And when done effectively, the team and team members will will thrive.