Summer Rewind: 5 Traps that Threaten
the Success of Your School Improvement Efforts this year


Note: School Leadership Reimagined is produced as a podcast and designed to be listened to, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined episode number 115

Welcome to the school leadership re-imagined podcast where we rethink what's possible to transform your school if you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stay tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now here's your host, Robyn Jackson.

Hey Builders,

Welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robin Jackson. And we are continuing our summer rewind, by revisiting some hidden gems of past podcast episodes while we're on our summer hiatus. And this week, and next week, I'm going to be sharing with you two hidden gems. I mean, I even forgot about these episodes. And when I went to revisit them, I thought, Oh, my goodness, these are gems and so I want to share them with you. This week, we're going to revisit Episode 15, where I talk about five traps that threaten your change efforts. As many of you are working on your school improvement plans right now over the summer. These are traps that you need to be aware of I am seeing this over and over and over again with many of my clients as they're trying to develop plans for the year. And these traps really do hold us back. And so I want you to listen to this episode. And then I want you to think about your own school improvement efforts for the year and tell me if you see any of these traps happening, I bet you do. But because you see them now you have the opportunity to avoid them. And to keep these five traps from derailing your efforts this year. So enjoy the episode. And then next time I'm coming back with a follow up episode, which is Episode 16, which talks about the systems that you can put in place to avoid some of these traps. All right, I'll see you next week. Hey, builders, welcome to Episode 15 of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robin Jackson. And today, today we're talking about the five traps that threaten the success of your change efforts. Any change effort you have even your school strategic plan. So I want to start by telling you something that happened to me the other day.

The other day, somebody asked me if there was ever a time when you shouldn't be a Builder. 

In other words, aren't there times when you just have to act like a boss? Well, it's an interesting question. And I think that we're all attracted to the idea of builder ship, but it still feels like this really lofty ideal, doesn't it? I mean, sure, we all want to be builders. And in a perfect world, that's exactly what we would do. But sometimes there are people or or situations that that just call for a boss move. I mean, what do you do if you have someone who shows up to work high or drunk one day? Or? Or what about a teacher who's refusing to implement a new change? I mean, in those situations, Isn't it better to just be a boss. I mean, at least that's the argument I hear all the time. But here's the thing about builder ship, it's an all or nothing proposition. It's not a hat that you can put on and then and then take off when it's no longer convenient or expedient as a builder, you can handle any situation you face. Like a builder, there is no time ever when you need to be a boss hole. So I wanted to start off this episode. But just kind of reminding you of that, even though Today we're going to be talking about those traps. And I'll get to the traps in a minute. I just want to make sure that you understand that when you commit to being a builder, it's an all or nothing proposition. You can't just be a builder one day, then be a boss The next day, and then maybe sometimes you're a leader, it doesn't work that way. You're a builder, 24 seven. Now, the other reason that I bring this up is because a lot of times we start out thinking like builders, when we sit down for any kind of change effort, or we're doing strategic planning, or when we're ending the year and we're beginning another school year, we say to ourselves, this time I'm going to do with like a builder. I'm going to write a meaningful strategic plan, I'm going to shoot for those 100% goals. And then real life happens, stuff happens and then all of a sudden, we stop acting like a builder. And we start pulling on our old leadership strategies or we go into boss mode. And and we shed the builder ship when things get hard.

So there's a real reason why we do that there's a reason why we often don't follow through on our big plans. There's a reason why we slip into leadership and boss ship, when we are trying to put our, our strategic plans together. And that's what I want to talk about on today's episode. In fact, there are five big reasons I call them traps that seriously threaten the success of our change efforts today, and that forces us to move back into leadership or boss ship instead of fully occupied are called roles to be builders. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to go through these five traps one by one, and I'm going to show you why they are so insidious, and exactly what you need to do to avoid them. So if you remember, in Episode 13, I talked about five non education books that you should be reading this year. And if you haven't listened to that episode, you really need to check it out. It's one of the best ones that I've ever done in terms of the book list that I create, in my very humble opinion. And so I'm gonna put the link to Episode 13 in the show notes, but you really need to check it out. Anyway, one of the books that I mentioned on that list of five books was a book called influencer, and it's by the smart people over at vital smarts. Now, this book is so rich with insights on how to influence others to bring about wide scale, pervasive change. And we're talking about eradicating common diseases of dramatically reducing aids in a region, cutting the number of prisoners who returned to prison within one year by almost 75%, or 90%. I mean, we're talking about big, life altering, world changing changes. Well, in order to have this kind of wide sweeping impact, it means that you're going to have to get people to change their behavior. And this is, frankly, where most of us give up, we don't really believe that we can influence people or change their behavior. But what I love so much about this book is that not only does it make a really compelling argument that you can change or influence people's behavior in a very dramatic and amazing way, it also lays out exactly how you can influence people's behavior, and it does it step by step. So I'm going to link to the book in the show notes. And you'll have to get the book in order to see the exact steps I can't, it'll take me too long. To go through here, I'll basically just be reading the book to you. And you really can be reading the book for yourself.

It's a powerful read. So I really encourage you to do it. 

As I was reading the book, I also noticed that there were a few subtle traps that if missed, well, it could seriously derail your change efforts. So the book is full of stories and strategies. And I started noticing that, if you don't pay attention to these traps, well, then you're not going to have the big kind of influence that you're hoping to have. So what I want to do in this episode, I want to go through these traps and talk specifically about how they can keep you from realizing your big, audacious goals. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to do this Letterman style. So I'm going to count them down from the smallest to the biggest trap. And I'm going to start with number five. Trap number five, starting from scratch. I once worked with a teacher who every single year would destroy his lesson plans and start from scratch. He said that it kept his teaching fresh. And all I really meant quite frankly, was that he just kept repeating his first year of teaching over and over and over again. Now, as ridiculous as that sounds, many of us do the same thing when we're planning for the coming school year. So every year we create a brand new CIP plan for the coming school year with brand new goals. In fact, I believe that's why the CIP process can be so excruciating. I mean, we're always coming up with these new goals or new ways to reach goals. And I'll tell you something else. It's also why people don't get really excited about our CIP plans, because they know every year it's going to change. So people just wait it out. Because if I don't like this plan this year, I'll have to do is wait because next year it will change.

And so what we do is we just keep reinventing the wheel. I mean, sure, well look at last year's data, but that's all we do is kind of look at it. We don't interpret it. We don't learn from it. We don't use it to help us analyze what went well and what didn't go well or and figure out how to do things differently the next time. And then what we do is we go through all of that, and then we still we come up with a brand new goal. We write it in our plans, and then we move on. So it's no one That we can't get any momentum going. So instead of starting from scratch each year, why don't we build on what we already have? Well, I'll tell you why we don't do that. Most of the time, it's because we set such tiny little goals to begin with that there isn't much room to build on. I mean, how do you build on a 6.7% increase in students reading proficiency, I mean, that's such a little goal, it doesn't leave us any room. But if you have 100% goal, you know, then Okay, it makes sense. Because you can build on a 100% goal. You can say, look, last year, we made 20% gains towards our goals. So let's examine that 20% gain, let's really understand what contributed to it, and what kept us from achieving even more, and then let's figure out how we can build on that and get the rest of the way to 100%. I mean, see how much more meaningful that is, how much more inspiring it is. So instead of starting from scratch, we really need to build on what we already have. And in order to build on what we already have, we need bigger goals to begin with. So I beat that horse. Last time, in Episode 14, I'll get off of that. But here's something else. The other big way that we start from scratch is that we spend all of our time focusing on what isn't working, and then trying to fix that, instead of paying attention to what is working. I mean, that's the real meat.

That's the value, we hardly ever think about what is working, we always are just focused on this doesn't work. This is wrong. 

How do we fix that? So I remember a few years ago that one of my consulting clients was an alternative school. And what they were trying to do is they were trying to increase student engagement. So when I went there and started working with them, we spent the first hour or so talking about all the ways that the kids were disengaged, and just kind of making a list of this isn't working that isn't working. And they don't do this. And this isn't happening. And after about an hour or so of doing that I finally asked this question. I said, Look, I hear all of the things that aren't working. Why don't you tell me what is working? That's done them a little bit. They couldn't answer it first, because they had never stopped to consider what was working. They were so busy focusing on all the things that weren't working. But after a few minutes, someone suggested that well, the way that they got students engage one on one when they were working with them on that actually worked, what's better than what they were doing inside the classroom. So students were producing more work when you sat down with them and gave them individual attention. So I wrote it on a board. But as soon as I did people start saying, Well, wait a minute, we can't individually tutor all of the kids. And they were right. But that's not what I was asking them to do. All I wanted to know is what's currently working. And then we could tease that apart and find ways to replicate it and scale it since we know it already works. We don't think about that when we're sitting down. And we're trying to plan for change, or we're trying to address our challenges. We don't think about looking at what will work, we just kind of focus on what doesn't work. So with this school, what we did is we we've started looking at why one on one tutoring was working and why whole class instruction wasn't working. And what we discovered was that the students, and the one on one tutoring, they needed a lot of reassurance before they would even risk attempting to work. I mean, after all, these are kids who have a history of Stark failure.

So they were getting a lot of assurance and that one on one tutoring, but they weren't getting that assurance in the whole class instruction. So we made a few shifts and how teachers were delivering whole class instruction so that the kids could get those assurances throughout the whole class instruction. And guess what? engagement immediately went up? Now, if we hadn't done that, if we hadn't spent a lot of time and energy, thinking through what did work? Well, we would have spent a lot of time and energy and impossibly money, instituting new engagement strategies or programs that may or may not have worked. But by focusing on what was working already and building on that, we solved the problem more quickly and quite frankly, more effectively than if we had done otherwise. So don't just focus on what's not working focus on what is working. Before you go out and try to find new resources, you really need to build on what you already have. So that's trap number five. Now, trap number four is tinkering with change. Now, I addressed this one a bit on episode 14, where I challenged you to set big, audacious goals but it's worth revisiting here. Because a lot of times we tinker with change instead of committing to it all the way. So here's what I mean by that. I once worked with a high school that had several serious issues. I mean, the absentee rate was, it was unbelievable. In fact, most first period classes had at the most three to five kids every single day and not the same three to five kids. But that's all he got in first period. And then attendance would increase throughout the day as we get closer to lunch. And then after lunch, it would drop off again.

It was a huge problem. 

The other thing was the kids were skipping classes, referrals were through the roof, the graduation rate was just embarrassing. There were tons of fights happening in the hall, and the school had like, I don't know, 47 different interests. So it was pretty porous. And that meant that a lot of the issues that were happening in the community, like gang violence and drugs, they were leaking into the school, the teachers were just totally demoralized, the kids were demoralized, it was it was just a mess. So do you know what the principal decided to focus on first? uniforms? You heard me uniforms, she instituted a uniform policy. And she said she was doing it so that she could cut down on the number of non students in the building every day. And you know, she kind of made some vague argument about being able to catch kids who are ditching class, especially because if they were out in the community and uniform, there'll be more easily identifiable by the school resource officer, you know, whatever. But what she was really doing was just tinkering with change, she wasn't really committed to tackling the big issues in her school. So she focused on uniforms instead of dealing with the bigger problem. Now, as ridiculous as that sounds, how many of us are doing the same thing? How many of us are tinkering around the edges of change? Instead of committing to full scale change? So are you focusing on? I don't know, increasing achievement by a few percentage points each year, you're tinkering? are you attacking the symptom? Instead of addressing the problem that's tinkering? Are you chipping away at your issue and telling yourself that you need to deal with it bit by bit instead of taking it all on at once? I hate to tell you this, that's tinkering.

Are you spending more time making sure that your goals are smart compliant? Or you're spending more time kind of crafting the right vision statement and playing around the wording of your strategic plan? It's tinkering? Are you stretching your timeline to give yourself more time to, you know, quote, get organized, it's still tinkering. Are you out looking for additional resources or waiting until you have everything set up before you begin? tinkering? So the point is this hear me when I say this, you will not realize change by tinkering. Unless you're committed to take time on the issue to take it head on full scale, unless you commit to a full scale change, you will never be successful in your change efforts. Now I get it. big change is daunting. And it may seem better to bite off as much as you can chew. But no more. I mean, after all, you've heard the saying, How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. But here's the thing, you've got to take the bite, when most people are busy setting the table selecting the right fork, wanting to target to get matching napkins, not actually sitting down and taking a bite of their issue. You will never eat an elephant if you don't take the first bite. Now, by the way, my apologies to all elephants, I love you. I would never encourage anybody to eat an elephant. But you get my point. The reason that people tinker with change is that they're afraid to actually get started. I mean, that's the truth. They don't really believe that change is possible. And more importantly, they don't believe that they have what it takes to make the change happen. I see it all the time I see it in my workshops. And it's a legitimate concern. But you got to face that you've got to you've got to face that fear.

Frankly, that fear is really at the heart of a lot of the traps that I'm talking about.

At the heart of it is that we doubt ourselves, we don't really believe that we have what it takes to make change happen. So we tinker with change, then, instead of actually committing to full scale change. So we can stay busy but never actually do anything or face that fear. So the first step is you got to deal with your own self doubts. If you find yourself tinkering with change, you have to ask yourself, What am I afraid of? What am I worried about? Because that's what tinkering is, is a sign that we're afraid of tackling something bigger. And then the next step is take the bite. Even if you don't feel ready, take the bite. Stop tinkering with change, commit to full scale. they'll change. And you will surprise yourself at how much you'll be able to accomplish, you got to take the bite. Alright, so that was trap number four. So now we're moving our way up. This is trap number three. And I call this one prescription before diagnosis. And to be real, this one's pretty pervasive. I mean, as educators, we do this a lot, we prescribe a solution before we've properly diagnosed the problem. So let me give you, for instance, I was working in a small school system recently. And they were really trying to raise student achievement across the board. So for years, the school system, the whole system, they really struggle to raise student achievement. They're in a high poverty district, they have a lot of student mobility, they have trouble with their teaching staff, like 30% of their teaching staff is either not certified or provisionally certified, or they have a lot of long term subs. And they have a hard time recruiting teachers to this district because it's such a challenging district to work in. And their pay rate isn't isn't all that high. They have a huge dropout issue. They have very low graduation rates, kids are dropping out, you know, typically by Middle School, they're at the bottom of their state in terms of test scores. In other words, they're just, they're facing some pretty big, important challenges. Well, they just got awarded this huge grant, I'm talking millions of dollars over the next five years. And do you know what the first thing is that they wanted to do to spend their money on tickets? Oh, wait, I'm sure you're thinking about something really important. But it isn't. What they wanted to spend their money on was computers. And their argument was that their students didn't do their homework because they didn't have access to computers.

So therefore, they wanted to buy the kids computers, and now they have the grant money to do that. And, look, I'm not arguing that a lack of computers may be a barrier for kids. But I did ask them the question, if you put a computer in every single kid's hands, if you did that tomorrow, would that immediately solve the homework issue? Would it solve any of the other issues that you're facing? Well, if the answer's no, then why are we focusing on computers? First? they're not the only ones. We all do it, we prescribe the answer before we spend the proper time diagnosing the problem. kids aren't reading on grade level. So it must mean that we need to buy this reading program over here or, or discipline problems on the rise. So that must mean we need PBI s, our graduation rates are low. So we need credit recovery, or there's a fundamental lack of rigor in the classroom. I know let's go buy avid let's do become avid schools, or teachers aren't teaching the way that they should be teaching Oh, I know PLC? Well, you would never allow a doctor to examine you and give you a prescription without first hearing the diagnosis. So why are we allowing ourselves to prescribe a solution before we really understand the problem. And I suspect that the reason that we do this that the reason that we're so quick to prescribe before we diagnose is that often the symptoms are pretty painful. And we want to address them right away. That makes sense, I get that.

When we've rushed to prescribe a cure, before we have the right diagnosis, we're going to waste a lot of time, energy, and money. 

And all we're doing is guessing, if you would just wait a bit, if you would just take time to properly diagnose an issue before you prescribe the cure, or you have a much greater shot at solving the issue and solving it for good. So that was trap number three, we have two more left. And trap number two, is what I call change on the cheap. But this trap is lot, it's pretty similar to the tinkering trap that I just talked about. But here's the big difference. When you're dealing with change on the cheap, you know that you need to commit to full scale change, you believe in that. You just don't believe that you have the resources to make it happen. So you know, you're dealing with this trap. When you find yourself saying something like this, I wish that we could do that next year. But and then you can fill on that, but with, we don't have the money or we don't have the time and the teachers or whatever. But we can't do it because we don't have this resource. So we're gonna do this little piece instead, because this is what we can afford to do. And what you do is you try to carve off some small part of this bigger change, because that's what you think you can do right now with the resources that you currently have. And what's so sneaky about this particular track is that it actually may be true, I mean, you may not have all the money or the resources or the teachers have the time that you really need to implement A large scale change right now. But that doesn't mean that you should water down your change efforts so that they fit your budget or they fit whatever constraints you have, it means that you still set big goals and then find a way to reach them. Now, can I get on my soapbox for just a second, I promise I won't stay long. But I need to say this. We overestimate how important money is in achieving our goals. And I'm not saying that money isn't important it is. But what I am saying is that money is not the only way that we have to achieve our goals. I mean, sure, it may be the fastest way. Maybe. I mean, I've seen too many schools get a windfall of money, a grant or, or some sort of endowment, and they have all this extra money. And because they don't have a real plan, they waste that money, and they still don't reach their goals.

So money is not their biggest problem. And I've seen other schools, they haven't had the money. But they have found a way to reach their goals anyway, with the money and the resources that they have. So I'm thinking in particular about one of our clients. And I remember when they first called us, they wanted me to come out. And they wanted me to do a four day series on rigorous instruction. But when we looked at their budget, they didn't have enough money to invest in a four day series. So she said, Well, you know, that's what I really want. Maybe I can find the money somewhere. And he said, Well, wait a minute, you know, let's take a look at what you do have, that's kind of how we work with our clients is we try to figure out how we can give them the solution to the problem that they want with the budget that they have. So we asked her why do you want this training? what problem are you trying to solve with the training. And once he explained to us the problem and what our goals were? Well, then we helped her come up with a plan to reach her goals with the budget that she had. In the end, we did one day a training to kick things off. And then what she did is she bought the staff development kits that we have the rigor staff development kit, so that she and her team could lead out and helping teachers make their instruction more rigorous. But here's the difference. She wanted job embedded training, she wanted this to be an ongoing thing all year long. So we helped her figure out how to do that in a more economical way. And the teachers were able to get consistent job embedded professional development every single week, and do it in a cost efficient manner. And then later on the following year, they hired us to come back and do some coaching with the teachers. But the entire package that we created for them will fit their budget and left them some room to spare. By the end of the following school year, they had completely revamped their school to the point where they went from a failing school to a high achieving school. And they did it in a very short period of time.

I mean, their transformation is amazing. 

In fact, we have a short video that shows you what they did to achieve that kind of transformation in such a short period of time. If you're interested in I'll make sure that I put a link to that video in the show notes in case you want to check it out. But here's my point. They had big goals. And they achieved those big goals. Even though they didn't have initially the budget that they thought they needed to achieve those goals. They didn't let their budget stop them. Now they they focused on the change they wanted to achieve. And then they figured out how to achieve it with a budget that they had. See, we think money is going to solve our problems or resources of some type are going to solve our problems. But in most schools where I've worked, money isn't their main issue. I bet it's not your main issue either. In fact, many of the most powerful things that I've seen in schools, they don't cost much money at all. So don't fall for change on the cheap. Don't let your budget dictate the changes that you want to make. Set big goals, develop a plan, then figure out how to make your plan work with the resources that you already have. So that's trap number two. And now we are at the biggest trap for keeping us from achieving our big goals. drumroll please. Trap number one, no real focus. This one is, in my opinion, the biggest trap that keeps us from achieving big goals in our school. We set a goal. We get all active trying to achieve that goal. And then we miss one important step. We don't focus our efforts. We spend far too little time thinking through to the root cause of the problem that we're trying to solve. Instead, we have a problem, and we just jumped to a solution. In the book influencer. One of my biggest takeaways was how careful that all of the people they featured in that book were about thinking through the problem first, before they settled on a plan to solve it. It's the peredo prints. goal and action really when you think about it. Now, you know what I mean by the Pareto principle, right? The Pareto principle says that 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your efforts.

For instance, did you know that 80% of your student test score gains probably come from 20% of the efforts that you make. I mean, it's true, if you could pinpoint which one of your efforts are producing the greatest amount of gains, well, you could double down on those efforts and increase your gains even more. And the opposite is also true 20% of anything can cause 80% of the problems. For instance, 80% of your discipline problems probably come from 20% of your students, or 80% of your challenges with teachers probably come from just 20% of the teachers on your teaching staff. So if that's true, it means that you're better off spending time dealing with the right 20% of your problems, because if you do, you solve 80% of your problems, you realize an 80% gain as a result. So think about that, if you could pinpoint the right parts of your challenge to work on the 20%, that would make the 80% of the difference. And then if you could solve that 20%, you can accomplish far greater improvement than if you worked on the whole problem all at once. But what we do most of the time is we try to tackle the entire challenge we we write these big bloated change plans or strategic plans, and we're taking on everything and we're giving everything the same amount of energy and the same amount of effort. And we keep working at it all at once. Instead of just focusing on the parts that are going to make the biggest difference. Anytime you want to accomplish big changes in your school. Anytime that you're trying to tackle this, this big challenge, you need to spend way more time than you are currently spending, thinking through the problem thinking about what are the causes? Why is this the problem? Is this the root cause? Or is it something else? And then you have to figure out what is the 20% that I should be focusing on right now? What's the 20%? That will give me the biggest difference? Someone asked me the other day, one of my personal coaches asked me the other day, he said, What is the one thing that you could do in the next 90 days that will make the biggest difference for your company and help you achieve your goals? I love that question.

That question gave me such clarity. It's not an easy question to answer. 

It took me weeks to figure it out. But once I did, I was like, Whoa, that's what we're going to focus on. And we are chipping away at that. And I fully expect that in 90 days, I'm going to be much closer to my goals, because I did that. And then I started thinking why don't we do that at schools? Why is it that we write these huge plans, and we never sit down and figure out what is the one thing that if we were to deal with this right away, would give us the biggest difference? Do that, figure out what the most important thing is to tackle first, and then we will tackle it and we get farther along in our goals. But this is the mistake that most of us make, we don't take time to really uncover the root cause before we go out and try to fix things. And we do this all over the place, not just with our sip plants, not just with our change process. We do this when we're planning lessons or when we're trying to motivate reluctant learners or when we're trying to motivate reluctant adults for that matter. We do this when we go in to teachers classrooms, and we give them a laundry list of things to fix. Instead of focusing on the root cause, we always jump to the solution before we understand the problem. But if we were to focus on the root cause, figure out what the vital behaviors that needed to be changed were, if we took time to really figure out what those are, and then focus on changing just those vital behaviors just addressing that root cause we can make huge lasting and meaningful change in our schools. Remember, if everything is important, it means that nothing is important. So we need to focus, we've asked ourselves, what's the 20% that's going to have the biggest impact, find that first, and then spend all of our efforts focusing on chipping away at that 20% because if you do, you will have solved 80% of the problem. I know it doesn't make sense. But think about it. You deal with the most important things first, a lot of the other stuff that you think you need to deal with. It disappears.

That's what happens. So those are the five traps that threaten the success of your change efforts. And let me go through them one more time just so that I can remind you trap number five was starting from scratch. Trap number four, prescription before diagnosis. Trap number three tinkering with Change, trap number two, change on the cheap. And trap number one, the number one trap, no real focus. That means focusing on the whole problem instead of focusing on the root cause that 20%, that's going to make the biggest amount of difference. Now, here's the thing about all these traps, they're sneaky little buggers. A lot of times, you don't even realize that you fall in for one of these traps, until you're already in the midst of it. But the good news is that once you recognize that you're into one of these traps, you fall into one of these traps, it's pretty easy to extricate yourself and go back to building again, the hard part is recognizing them. And that's because on the surface, they seem really logical, it seems perfectly logical to start from scratch each year, or to do change on the cheap when you can't afford to do the whole scale change.

I mean, at least you're doing something. 

I mean, we can make a pretty good argument for why we have to do things that way. And as long as we look at our change efforts to our strategic planning, on the surface, our excuses can feel and seem totally legitimate. But that's why builders look past the surface. They don't just focus on what's immediately in front of them. They're always thinking about their big goals, and how they can best achieve them. That singular focus that vigilance is the only protection that you have against these traps. As soon as you lose your focus. As soon as you start slacking off, I promise you, you're going to fall from these traps, and you won't even realize it. So stay vigilant, my friends. It's the only way that you can protect your vision from succumbing to one of these traps. 

Hey, if you're ready to get started being a builder right away, then I want to invite you to join us at Buildership University. It's our exclusive online community for builders just like you where you'll be able to get the exact training that you need to turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. You'll find our best online courses, live trainings with me tons of resources, templates and exemplars and monthly live office hours with me where you can ask me anything and get my help on whatever challenge you're facing right now. If you're tired of hitting obstacle after obstacle and you're sick of tiny little incremental gains each year, if you're ready to make a dramatic difference in your school right now, then you need to join Buildership University. Just go to and get started writing your school success story today.

Thank you for listening to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast for show notes and free downloads visit

School Leadership Reimagined is brought to you by Mindsteps Inc, where we build master teachers.