Summer Rewind: All Money Ain’t Good Money


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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined episode number 118

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 today we are continuing our summer rewind series. Now we only have a few more weeks for these reruns. But I have to tell you the the reaction that that you've let me know how much you appreciate revisiting some of these favorite episodes has been overwhelmingly positive. So this is news for us to go forward when we have the season breaks to start replaying some of the rewind series and continuing to revisit some of our favorite episodes. Today we're going to talk about an episode that we did in the season where we talked about mind steps isms. Now mind steps, isms are things that we say over and over around mind steps sayings, but they have such truth that informs your builder's ship journey. And the one we're going to revisit today is one that I find myself saying all the time, it originally appeared in Episode 64, which is all about all money ain't good money. And the idea around that was that not everything needs to be pursued right now that one of the things that distinguishes builders from leaders is that leaders, they go forth and they try to do all the things and many of you are feeling that right now as you begin the school year, you want to do all the things. What builders do is they realize that not all money is good money. Not every not everything that could be done should be done.

Builders are very intentional about where they spend their focus, and their time. 

So in today's episode, we're going to talk about all money ain't good money. And please enjoy this summer rewind. Tape builders, welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robin Jackson. And today we are going to talk about another mind step system. Now, many of you are still dealing with the fallout that's come from this covid 19 pandemic. And a lot of you are asking questions like, you know, what tech platform do we use? It's going to even be open for the rest of the year. If it isn't open, should we continue to send work home? Is it fair or equitable to expect students to turn in work? What kind of work should we be sending home. And I bet that a lot of you are inundated right now with pitches from different software companies, or you're trying to kind of weed through all of the options that are out there all of the free options that are out there to figure out how you can best deliver instruction to students remotely. Many of your teachers are probably waiting through curriculum, or they're desperately rewriting curriculum. Maybe your districts are sending you resources and links and you're sending those home to students every single day. And right now it just can feel a little overwhelming and chaotic. Well, if you're feeling that way at all, if you are just kind of overwhelmed with all of the options and you're trying to figure out how do I take school and still be able to deliver quality instruction when I have to do it remotely, then I've got a mind step system for you. It's one that I plan to talk about anyway, but it's even more relevant now that we are all trying to figure out what it's going to look like in our schools in the days ahead. And the mindsets ism is this one we say all the time. It's probably one of the most popular ones we have at the mindsets office. And here it is. All money ain't good money. And I'll tell you how this one came about. So when I was younger, my parents taught my sister in me how to play dominoes.

Now this is not the namby pamby dominoes where you're just matching. I shouldn't call it namby pamby some people like it though this but this was hard core dominoes where you are playing for points you are playing to score. And the object of that hardcore Domino game is that you're trying to make all of the ends of the domino add up to five and I remember when I was first Learning the game I got so excited because I was able to put my Domino down and all the ends added up to five. And as I was putting my Domino down, my mother warned me She said, All money ain't good money. And I didn't know what she meant, I thought she was trash talking, because trash talking is a significant part of hardcore dominoes. And so I didn't know what the trash talking meant. But I put my Domino down. And I triumphantly declared, five points, give me five points. And my mother said, I've warned you when she was next, she put her Domino down next to mine, and she got 10 points. And then my father came after her, he put his down and he got 20 points. And then my sister came after him, and she put hers down, and she got 25 points. So they all laughed, and my mother said, All money ain't good money. And what she said was, sometimes you are so focused on winning that point, that you actually create a situation where you might get five points, but you will give all of your opponent's multiples of five points. And you will actually be worse off by playing that Domino there, I was so focused on getting those five points that I wasn't paying attention to the fact that earning those five points, what's going to also set my my opponents up to earn way more points than that. And I was actually further behind as a result of playing that Domino. Now and the mindsets offices, this is something that we say all the time, when people call us and want us to come in and work with them.

We know that we work best with a specific kind of client. 

Sometimes people will call us and ask us to come and do something in their schools. And we know that it's a fool's errand. I do not like to work in schools, who are just calling to fill a day, and they're not really going to commit to doing the work, I want to work with schools that are actually going to apply what we teach them. And they will see results as a result of working with us. And so we have a saying that a client will call and they'll say, Hey, can you come on this date, we have the state free, and we want you to do a workshop with our teachers. And they call the office and ask for that workshop, and we start talking to them and finding out what they're trying to do and realize that, you know, all they really want to do is just kind of fill a day, but they're not really committed to transformation, then we say all money a good money, we're not going to waste our time, just grabbing money. And you know, filling the calendar with days, if we don't think that we can actually help that school move forward. We're not interested in that kind of work. Now, it also works with internally, there are software packages, or there are shortcuts that we may take. And it seems like a good idea at the time. But then when we look at the long term consequences, we realize all money ain't good money. And what does this have to do with you? Well, right now, everybody's in crisis mode. And so we are grabbing solutions. Everybody's jumping on zoom, and zoom is fantastic. It's great. But it may not be the right platform for everybody. Everybody is jumping in and doing Google Classroom stuff. And the Google Classroom has a lot of bells and whistles, and everybody's applying all those bells and whistles.

All money ain't good money. Everybody's looking for websites with learning opportunities for students. And they're sending parents, these emails with this list, you can go here, you can go here, you go here. And here's another web page that has 25 more resources. All money ain't good money. And the problem is, when we are in crisis mode, a lot of times we are grabbing solutions, and we are not thinking about the long term consequences of those solutions. Here's what I know to be true. The habits that you form now will be hard to break later on. And so I really want you to be strategic about what you're doing. I get it. Everybody feels like we need to do something right away. We have parents who are calling every day and saying what do we need to be doing with our kids you want us to, you know, work with them at home, we need materials we don't we are not teachers give us something and the school district is saying we need to remember to continue to support our children and to be able to provide them with a good education and society saying we don't want to pay taxes for people to sit home, you need to be out there serving our kids. And so we feel this sense of urgency.

We are grabbing the best solution at the time. 

What I want to caution you to do is to wait. Just because everybody's saying we have to do something right away, doesn't mean that you really do. And if you grab a solution now and you say okay, this is what we're going to do as a school, you are creating a habit. You think that you're just providing a short term solution to a problem but you are creating and building a long term how Let me give you an example. A lot of teachers are being told get work to kids. And so they are grabbing work, they're they're reverting back to worksheets and to, you know, to really non meaningful kinds of work, where kids are just kind of completing things, but it's not connected to anything. And we're telling teachers, that's okay, because we're so busy trying to just get work out to kids, that were actually sending a message, you know, all that conversation I had about making work meaningful, I didn't really mean it, because in a time of crisis, I'm telling you, it's okay to give kids and meaningful work, because we just have to get something out there. Rather than encouraging teachers to take a step back, don't forget what we were building as a school. Don't forget what we were trying to do, does this work align with that I know it's remote, I know, we're gonna have to get creative about it. But let's not give up on the thing that we were saying that was so important two weeks ago, if you don't do that, if you just say, just get something out there, don't worry about it right now I know we're all trying to do our best. And you don't take the moment to step back and make sure that it's a line, you're building a habit. And the habit is them have to be aligned. They're really important. It's a luxury, it's a nice to have, it's not necessary. The habits that you build now are going to be hard to break later on.

A lot of us are just grabbing technology, oh, this is free. And this is free, and we're sending it out. You're building a habit, you are committing to a technology, a lot of technology companies know that. That's why they're saying Yeah, use ours for free. Because once you start using that technology, it's going to be really hard to switch to another one later on. So before you get everybody on a technology, you need to ask, Is this something that I can see us using six months from now? And if the answer is no, you shouldn't be using it. Remember, all money, ain't good money. So I want you to take a step back now, and really evaluate everything that you're doing. And I want you to ask yourself three questions. The first question is, does this align with our vision, mission and core values? Does the software align with that is the way that I'm asking people to use the software? Does that align with it? If the answer is no, you shouldn't be doing it. It has to align with your core values, vision and mission, or you shouldn't be doing it. And here's why. If you start choosing things that are out of alignment, what you are telling people is that that core values, vision and mission stuff that we talked about before not really important, and a time of crisis, we can discard it, it's a luxury, it's not necessary, you have to make sure that everything that you are doing is in alignment with your core values, vision and mission in times of prices, or they're not worth the time that you spent creating them.

Your Vision, Mission and Core Values are guiding you through this crisis... they are your anchor. 

In last week's episode, I talked about anchoring in the outcome, you've got to anchor in the outcome. And so you want to sift every decision you make through your core values vision and mission because they will help you decide is this something that we should be doing or or isn't it? And if it isn't something that you should be doing? Don't waste time on it, move on? So the first question, how does this align with our core values, vision and mission? Here's the second question. I know that I'm grabbing this thing right now. Because we are trying to just stop the bleeding. We're just trying to kind of grab something so that we can get people through this crisis. But what habit is it creating? I'll give you an example. I was looking at a couple of schools and what they're putting out and the kinds of things that they're sending home and they are Indian dating parents with a ton of resources for at home learning. I get the impulse parents are panicking. They're saying wait a minute, now I have to supervise instruction and I'm trying to work and I'm not a teacher. And I haven't done algebra since high school or whatever it is. And so you want to give parents things that reassure them. But if you start throwing resources, at parents without context, you are creating a habit. You are not inviting parents to be partners with you. You are throwing things at them in order to make them shut up, or you're hoping that they will have to figure it out. Is that the habit that you really want for your teachers when they go back to school, however long it's going to take for us to get back into schools? Do you really want your teachers just throwing random resources at your parents? The answer's no. Don't start it now. Because any habit that you create now, it's going to be very hard to break later on. is another habit I've seen. A lot of teachers are being asked to kind of do you know zoom as a way of instructional delivery? And as a result of their discomfort with zoom, a lot of teachers are moving away from interactivity and engagement back to lecture, I just record a video where I'm lecturing on zoom. And I send it out to kids or I invite kids to come and watch me lecture that I haven't you really want to create? Because guess what, if you get teachers adjusted to doing that, when they get back in the classroom, that's exactly what they're going to do.

So if you're talking to people about using zoom or some other platform, you need to be talking to them about how do you do that in a way that still keeps students meaningfully engaged in learning. Otherwise, don't use it. It's a habit you cannot afford to establish now, because it's going to be too hard to break later on. All money ain't good money. Here's the third question, I want you to ask. What are the short term trade offs? And what are the long term consequences of this decision that I'm about to make? Let me give an example. A lot of schools are having tons of meetings right now. Now, the short term trade off is, you know, we have to have a meeting. So because we have to get ourselves organized. So let's get everybody in these meetings. And let's just, you know, kind of everybody just jumped together, throw out ideas, or I just sit and I'm going to tell you, this is what's been decided. And you know, you need to get on board and get going and go now go go go go vote. So the short term trade off is while we have to do this, we have a crisis, we have to get everybody mobilized, but here are the long term consequences. If you start just kind of saying Go, go, go go. And here's what we have to do. And we don't have time to talk about it. And here's what's been decided, and you don't get people engaged and involved in those decisions. The long term consequences are that people will become more and more disengaged from your vision, mission and core values, because those weren't driving the decisions when it mattered most. So yeah, I'm trading off right now, we don't have time to talk about vision, mission and core values. Somebody actually said this to me this week. I don't have time for that right now. I'm trying to save my school. And I'm saying save it for what?

If your Vision, Mission and Core Values aren't driving your rescue efforts, what are you going to have when you're done? 

Is it even going to be worth saving? They have to be at the foundation. So the short term trade off is all well, we'll go back to that later on. But the long term consequences are, by putting that off, you have conveyed that it's not important. Good luck trying to get back to it later on. Because you've already shown people that this is a nice to have it's a it's a bowl, it's not the cake. I'm mixing metaphors there, you get my point, it's the icing on the cake. So you really have to think about the short term trade off versus the long term consequence. I don't want you to just think about the decision you're making right now, I want you to think about what is the impact of that decision a month from now, or six months from now or two years from now. And I know that's hard to do when people are looking for answers right away. But just because everything feels urgent doesn't mean that your response has to be immediate. Take some time, think about what you're doing. Remember, all money ain't good money. And so you're going to need to look at the short term trade offs, weigh that against the long term consequences, you're going to need to sift your decision through your core values vision and mission, you're going to need to think about what habits you are creating right now. Because any habit you create right now is going to be very hard to break later on. But if you do that, if you sit there and weigh the consequences if you don't just kind of grab the quick fix. And instead you think about what are the long term consequences. If you are deliberate about making decisions right now, you actually have a huge opportunity right now. You see education is being disrupted right before our very eyes. And you have an opportunity to be a part of that, you have an opportunity now to actually establish good habits, habits that you may have been fighting to establish all along.

Now in the midst of crisis, the decisions you make right now may actually help you establish those habits in your culture, so that not only are they serving students now, but when we get back to school, they are serving students, then you have an opportunity right now to really double down on your vision, mission and core values. And all those people who thought that that was a waste of time when you talked about it before, or they thought that that was just something we put on the walls, but it wasn't actually alive in our school. Now you're demonstrating to them the power of that you now you are anchoring in that so that people can start to see now this is not a nice to have, this is who we are, this is what we're building. This is why it's important. And they begin to buy into that. You have a real opportunity right now to make some strategic moves in your school, where you are actually introducing new ways of instruction that are going to take off When you get back into the classroom, but it all depends on how you handle the next couple of weeks. If you're just grabbing solutions, because you're trying to put out fires, or you're trying to alleviate some of the pressure that you're feeling, and I get it, because we're all under a lot of pressure right now.

If you grab at solutions, you're going to look up six months from now with a lot of regret. 

But if you are deliberate, if you think through the long term consequences if you don't just grab solutions, but you actually think about what do I want my school to look like on the other side of this, and you start building that now, you have an opportunity to transform your school to set your school up to thrive not only now, but to thrive in the long term. All because you sifted those decisions, through your core values, and your vision and your mission, all because you thought about the habits that you were building, and you were deliberate and intentional about that, all because you weighed the short term trade offs against the long term consequences. That's how you manage crisis, like a builder. So that's it for this episode. But before we go, I wanted to say to you how proud I am of the way that so many of you are just stepping up in this time of crisis. In the midst of everything going on in the midst of our own fears and concerns, you are standing in front of a group of people and you are exercising true builders ship, you are allowing the fears of your students and your parents, you are getting your staff organized. You are redesigning your school with only 48 hours notice, you are dealing with uncertainty. And I know it's hard. I know that many of you haven't slept in a while I know that many of you have all these other unanswered questions, you're worried about your students, you feel horrible about those students for whom the school year has been cut short, you're missing that that sense of closure, you're worried about your teachers, you're worried about your parent educators, you're trying to figure out how to feed students who have to stay home and who relied on school for meals, you're grappling with issues around equity, and figuring out how to give direction around grading so much.

I just want you to know, first of all, I am so very proud of you. Because in times like these, you are the heroes. And unfortunately, in many ways, you're the unsung heroes. But I want you to know that I see your herculean efforts. And I know that this is hard. And I want to applaud those of you who have stepped up, those of you who are are figuring this out, I don't have all the answers, nobody does. So don't put any pressure on yourself to feel like you have to have all of the answers. Nobody has them. Be gentle with yourself. think strategically don't get caught up in crisis mode. I don't care what your district is saying or what your state is saying, I don't care. You know how many people are crying, but the sky is falling, you need to stay focused, because we need you right now. So make sure that you're taking care of yourself, make sure that you are not so busy serving everybody else that you your health deteriorates, make sure that you are taking time away from this, it's been time with your families or pursuing hobbies and interests that you have, make sure that you're getting enough rest. And know that for as long as this crisis is going on. And for all of the bumps that happen afterwards. I'm here if you need me, Do you want my help and support? The best place to find it is inside of our mindsets pop up group, it's free. I'm not selling anything in there, you have to worry about the kind of long term commitment.

This is a short term support strategy to help all of you get through this. 

If you want to ask my question about the specific challenge that you're facing, we have office hours. If you aren't sure how to get this started, we are putting a lot of free resources and training inside of the group. If you want to reach out to me directly inside the group, you can send me a direct message and we can correspond that way. Just know that my team and I, we are here for you. We're going to get through this together and we're going to get through it like builders, I'll talk to you next time.

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.

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