How to make the right decision every single time


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 147

How do builders like us make a dramatic difference in the lives of our students in spite of all the obstacles we face? How do you keep your vision for your school from being held hostage by resistant teachers, uncooperative parents, ridiculous district policies or lack of time, money or resources. If you're facing those challenges right now, here's where you'll find the answers, strategies, and actionable tips you need to overcome any obstacle you face. You don't have to wait to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. You can turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. Let's get started.

Hey, builders, welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robin Jackson. And today we are going to continue our exploration of the school hierarchy of needs.

So far, we have talked about the purpose component and the people component. And today we're going to talk about the pathway component. And what you're going to learn today is how understanding this component almost gives you like a crystal ball, where you should be able to once you understand this component, you'll be able to look into the future and see what problems you need to be handling and in what order. And people are going to look at you and say how did you know that and you're going to look magical. But it's not magic. It's really about understanding a very simple principle that you learn in the pathway component that helps you make really good decisions very quickly. And those decisions bear out.

So before we talk about that, a couple of quick announcements. First of all builders wrap, the tickets are now on sale for the summer, and they're already going pretty fast. So we've only had tickets open for about two weeks now. And we've already got people buying tickets, the summer one usually feel sells out. And I believe that it's going to happen again this year. So you want to get in your ticket purchase sooner rather than later. And here's why you want to come to builders lab. When you are trained as a leader, work can feel very overwhelming. If you're not sure what to do, you're not sure how to do it. Well, a builder slab we show you how to take all of the stress and confusion that usually surrounds your job and make it make sense. And the way we do that is through teaching you the builder ship hierarchy of needs.

So a builder slab, you're going to go in deep, we're going to show you how to establish your purpose, and what that looks like. And then we're going to show you strategies for helping your people get on board, develop the will and skill of your people, then we're going to show you how to chart your pathway and how to identify the right pathway for you. And finally, we're going to leave you with a plan. But that's not it. It's not just three days of learning. And then you just go about your business.

At Builders lab, we also follow up with you for the next 90 days sending you reminders and prompts and supports to help you take that plan and turn it into action for your school. The idea is that by the time you're done with that 90 day process, you see some tangible difference in your school. That's our that's our pledge to you. And so build your slab that's happening June 26 through 28th 2022. And if you're listening to this sometime in the future, you go to the same website and you can find out when the next builders lab is happening. And the website is mind steps That's mind steps

Okay, that's the first thing. Second thing is builder ship University. So builders lab is where you learn how to apply the school hierarchy of needs. That's how you you learn the whole process start to finish, we call it the builder ship model, and you learn that they're built a ship University is where you implement that builder ship hierarchy of needs. Now some people wonder, do I have to go to builders lab before I go to build a ship University? No, you can. If you're ready to jump in right away and get started working towards that 100% vision for your school than build a ship University is the place you go. So build a ship University. It's all about implementation. And what I like about it is that while there are supports, you can work in your own pace in your own time. So at build a ship University, we still go through the same thing we we take you through what we call the six levels of builder ship. And what we're doing is helping you move from being a leader to being a builder and putting things in place in your school to achieve that 100% success for your students and three years or less. So build a ship University is about getting the support to do that. So you don't have to do that on your own. If you have a vision already in place for 100% of your students, but you're wondering how do I make that happen? Build a ship university is a place to find out

So level one, we show you how to get your vision, mission and core values established and how to create alignment in your school. Level two, we show you how to get your people on board by implementing what we call the four disciplines of builder ship. So feedback support accountability and culture, we show you how to get those systems in place. And level three is where we show you how to kind of be a better planner, and how to kind of figure out what your plans are going to be in and create plans that you actually can achieve and are the right plans for you. And level four, we're really showing you how to execute on those plans with discipline and put a discipline in place in your school so that you're not just making plans, and then oh, wait, I forgot about that plan. Instead, you're actually executing and you're seeing a victory every 90 days, we get you on that 90 Day planning cycle. And level five, we really show you how you can start to build other builders and Level Five is around the time where you hit that 100% goal. So you're putting those pieces in place. And when you get to level five, it's really about what do we need to do to close that gap so that you hit that 100% goal. And that's where we celebrate. And then level six, that's really about creating your legacy now that you've hit that goal, now that you have that credibility, what's next for you, and helping you figure that out how to stay and step inside your zone of genius and figure out what the next opportunity should be for you and how to step into that opportunity and take advantage of that opportunity.

So builder ship University is about helping you become the builder who not only puts the systems in place, but has a true success story to tell because you've hit 100%, your 100% goal, and then helping you to transition out of that, leave your school in good standing, and then step into your next opportunity. So if you want to, to join us and build a ship University, the way you do that is you're going to go to build a ship

And if we are not open, usually we go in cohorts. Because when you start we start everybody together in a cohort, and we're working to help you get to level one in 90 days or less. So how do you achieve everything in level one in 90 days or less, that's why we have a cohort. So if there's a cohort open, and I'm telling you right now, if you're listening to this in real time, our next cohort is going to open in April and you do want to be a part of that cohort. Because think about that April, didn't you have the month of April, May and June, by the end of the school year, you have some things in place that send you into the summer strong. And so you want to be a part of that cohort and that's at build a ship University calm.

Alright, third announcement inside of builder ship University, if you're if you can't get into a cohort, we have a free level of builder ship University where you can get started and get ready for joining that next cohort. And the free version of builder ship University is where we do our vision workshops. So once a month, if you are don't have a vision, but you need one, you can come in to build a ship University at that free level. And you can develop a vision and I teach that workshop, it's live, it's an hour. And during that hour, I teach for say 10 minutes, but the rest of the time I'm coaching. So if you have a vision you're working on and you're not sure about it, that's a great place to get some feedback on it. If you're not sure where to start, and you need help getting started. That vision workshop is a great place to do that. So that vision works if you joined builders University, that's the only way you can get access to that free vision workshop. Also inside to build us up University at the free level we have asked Me Anything session. So if there's a challenge you're dealing with right now that you need to get out of your way, come to that Ask Me Anything session and we can help you get started, get get on, we can help you untangle that challenge so that it doesn't hold you back. And again, that's on a first come first served basis. We do that once a month you can join for free if you are a member of builders University, and then we have a workshop every month.

So this month our masterclass is really around how do you build a healthy school culture? And what is some of the hidden signs of toxicity that that may be lurking in your current school culture. And so that's happening inside of builders University, it's free to join, if you're a member, the free tier builds up University and if you are not a member, what are you waiting for, go to builder, ship and join the free tier and get access to all of those free trainings and tons of free resources inside to build a ship University.

Alright, that now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the pathway. Level, the pathway, high level in our in our school hierarchy of needs. Now, with the with the purpose level, that is really the starting point, because that helps you set the direction for where you're going and it helps you get everything in alignment. If you're misaligned in any way in your school, it's really hard to get all the other pieces together or if you don't have clarity around your direction, then it's really hard to do anything else.

That's always where you start. 

And once you've once you have that purpose level in place, you've got everybody aligned, you've got a clear direction for where your school is going and everybody knows it and everybody buys into it. You've built that belief that foundation of belief that you need to carry you through to, to success. Now, the next level is the people component. And in that people component, it's really about building the will and skill of your staff so that people problems don't derail your progress. When you put the people level in place, and you take care of things about people level, you get all of the adults in the building focused on doing the right work the right way, even when you're not looking.

So instead of wasting all of your time chasing, checking and correcting people, people are just doing the right thing. And if someone acts crazy, it doesn't stress you out. Because you have a process you have you have you have you have frameworks in place, that are designed to help you deal with people who act crazy, without it, derailing your progress towards your vision. So those two things are there. And if you haven't listened to episodes, 144 and 145. Go back and listen to those episodes, because we talked in detail about what you need to do to get those components in place and how when you're thinking about building your school, why that's so important, why you can't get any further than that, unless you get the people component place.

Now the third level the hierarchy needs is the pathway level. And the pathway level is really about helping you make good decisions, helping you deal with crises, helping you weed through all of the things that are demanding your time, and make sure that you are focused on the right work at the right time. And it's the least understood level.

It's where when I'm going into schools, and I'm trying to help diagnose, once we get the purpose and the people stuff out of the way, things should be moving smoothly. And yet schools still kind of get stuck. And a lot of times the reason they get stuck is because they're solving the wrong problem at the wrong time. Or they may even be solving the right problem, but doing it at the wrong time. And the pathway component, it's about figuring out what is the right decision to make right now. And when you get this part straight, it's almost like, you know, set this at the beginning, you have this crystal ball, people look at you and they're saying, How did you know that? How did you know that's what's the solution? How did you figure that out? And it's not that you're clairvoyant, or you're magical.

It's that you understand pathway. 

And when you understand pathway, you can make really good decisions very quickly. And they're always the right decision. You see the public component, I like to think about Stephen Covey talks about how we work so hard to climb a ladder, only to realize once we get to the top that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.

How many of you feel that way? How many of you feel like you work really hard all year long. You you, you have programs in place, you spend a lot of money. And then at the end of the year, you realize, we did all that work, and we don't have anything to show for there were these other problems that really needed to be addressed, and we never addressed them. That's what the pathway component will help you avoid. Instead of working hard and not seeing results, the pathway component helps you figure out what's the right work right now.

Now, in order to do this, we use something called the Builders Blueprint, the idea is that every 90 days or so you are sitting down, and you're taking a look at all of your data, and not just your numbers, not just student achievement data, you're looking at your climate data, you're looking at how people, you know, are they happy? Are they thriving in your current environment, you're looking at your observational data, not just classroom observational data, you're observing kids in the halls, you're observing kids at recess, and at lunch, you're observing parents at the pickup line, you're observing everything and taking it all in. And then about once every three months or so once a quarter, you're sitting down and you're looking at that data. And you're saying, alright, what does this data tell us in terms of how we are making progress towards our vision, our mission and core values?

Notice, if you don't have vision, mission and core values, this will never work. That's why vision, mission and core values, that purpose component comes first. But you're sitting there and you're looking at that and you're trying to figure out, Okay, what does the data tell us in terms of how we're making progress in these three areas? Are we moving steadily towards our vision? Is there something blocking us for achieving that vision for 100% of our kids? Is her work on mission? In other words, are we doing the right work for the right reasons is is the way that we are pursuing our vision, in alignment with our mission. 

Let me let me give you an example of that. Let's say that your vision is that you want all of your kids performing on grade level in reading and math. And your mission is that you want your students to find joy in learning and and to and to be to become more responsible for their own learning. Well, you can get kids on grade level in a lot of different ways, right? You can get kids on grade level by drilling and killing them. You can get kids on grade level by giving them the answers to the test so that they test on grade level. There's tons of ways you can do it. But doing it in those ways takes you off mission. You see if if you get kids on grade level, but you don't do it in a way that also develops their their love for learning, and develops their own independence and ownership of their learning, you are off mission. So sometimes you'll look at the data and you say, Hey, we're making progress. But then when you go into classrooms, you realize a teacher is spoon feeding everything to the kids, the kids aren't owning their own learning. You see kids kind of sitting there and performing math and performing reading activities. But they're not readers that they don't know how to think mathematically and solve problems. Well, that tells you that even though we're making gains on our vision, we're doing it in a way that's off mission. The third thing you're going to ask yourself is okay, are we making progress, sufficient progress, the progress we should be making towards our vision? Are we doing it in a way that is on mission? 

And then the third piece is, are we doing it in a way that's in alignment with our core values. So let's take our example I want kids reading on grade level, I want to do it in a way that develops their joy and their ownership of their own learning. And our core values are, keep it simple, center the child in every conversation, and always assume the best out of people. Okay, so we've got kids, you know, making progress towards our vision we're doing in a way that creates joy and ownership. But we've created a program that has 25 different pieces and staff members are having to stay after work and and put in extra two hours off the clock in order to be able to maintain the program. Well, that lets us know that even though we're making progress, and even though we're doing it in the way that we said we want to do it, we're in violation of our core values, because now it's not simple anymore. 

Now it's gotten more complicated. 

And so then it shows us that we can't sustain that work over time. And we're not going to get to 100%. If we do something that gives us short term games, but at the expense of our long term happiness and contentment and the capacity and wears out the capacity of our staff. So then the thing that we need to focus on is not let's add another 27 elements to this already complicated program, but what can we take away from the program is still having the results that we're looking for, and still stay on mission, so that the program can be sustainable. That's a very different process. For for thinking about the challenges ahead and being strategic than you were taught as a leader, as a leader, you know, look at the way we do set plans right now, it this drives me nuts, right? So we do this root cause analysis. 

And so we sit down and we ask the five why's, what when you ask the five why's I used to love the five eyes to teach the five why's but I got very frustrated very quickly. Because in the wrong hands, the five why's you can make it say whatever you want it to say. I'll tell you the first time I realized that five why's wasn't getting it for me. I was doing a workshop and I was trying to help a school figure out why their kids were unmotivated. And so I tried to take them through the five why's. So the first why Why are kids on motivated? And they said because kids don't care. Okay? Why don't kids care about school? And they said, because their parents don't care. And I said, Why don't their parents care about school? And they said, because all their parents want to do is is collect welfare and live off the system. And they don't see the value in school. So now do you see where we're headed? Why do parents want to live off welfare and not see the value in school? Because they're lazy? Why are parents lazy? It's a generational thing in our community. And we got into a solution. No, all we've done is we've said we can't solve the problem because we have a generational laziness problem in our community. 

You see how like doing that five? Why's that? Maybe that's an extreme example, maybe you don't do that. But that's what happens when you use the typical root cause analysis tools that we've been taught to use, right? You can get to the point where you back yourself into a corner, and there's nothing you can do about it. I've heard schools say, well, it has to be something the school can control. And so then we come up with a five why or you know, something that says, oh, we need we need to to do a remediation program because our kids are to grade levels below. Maybe you're guessing and in most cases, that's what happens when we sit down and we try to solve problems. 

We look at the data, we realize kids are two grade levels below where they need to be. And then we kind of guess well, what do you do for kids who to grade levels below grade level? Oh, there's a remedial reading program that promises to get kids on grade level by the end of the year. Let's do that. And we never think about whether or not that remedial program is the real solution. You know, is that the problem we should be solving right now? And does that remedial program align with our vision, mission and core values? We never asked that question. And so we end up investing a lot of time and energy and money in programs that may be great programs on their own, but they're I'm not the right program for us. 

But the pathway component, you never fall into that trap. 

Because of the pathway component. We always start with our vision mission and core values, we remind ourselves, what is it that we're trying to accomplish? In what way and aligned with which core values? And so we start there, then we say, what is the data tell us in terms of how we're doing that a lot of times when people look at data, they do these complicated data analyses where they just you know, pick the numbers that are in red, and they're like, oh, we need to do something about this number, because it's red, maybe we don't even know whether that number being red is the result of something else, one of those green numbers may be causing that red number, we don't know. And we don't have a really good way of looking at data, especially if you're not a numbers person. 

I mean, how many of you are just not a numbers person, you don't, you don't see the world in terms of numbers? Well, if you do the way that if you look at data, the way we were traditionally taught to look at data, then you're just kind of randomly picking a number that you're hoping is the right number to address. Or you're picking a number that the district told you was important, but may not be the right number to be looking at for your school to move your school to where it needs to be for 100% success. So the data, the way we are taught to look at data is really confusing. And it doesn't lead to better answers and better solutions. It just doesn't. 

So, as a builder, what you do is you need a way of looking at numbers very quickly, and understanding what they mean. A lot of the people though the administrators and coaching right now we get to the point where we have to look at some numbers, we we need to see what the numbers are telling us. And they're always amazed when we look at the numbers because I can glance at them very quickly. And I can say, Oh, here's your problem right here. They're like, how did you do that? I've been looking at this data for months. Again, I'm not magical. I'm not a mathematical genius. But I know the pathway framework. And what I'm doing in my head is I'm sifting those numbers, through your vision, your mission and your core values. And the vision mission and core values tell you what number is important. You could do that too. 

Once you learn to think this way, you'll be able to quickly look at all of your data that you're getting on a weekly or monthly basis. And rather than being overwhelmed by that data, the data will start to make sense. You'll know what numbers need to be moved, you'll know what numbers are important for you to look at right now. And that's important thing. It's not that all the numbers are important. But what's the most important number for you right now? What's the number that gives you the most important information you need to make the decisions that are going to benefit your school right now. That's what the pathway component teaches you how to do. And when you can do that you can quickly identify where the challenges are, and where the challenges are going to be showing up. 

You know, I love that Wayne Gretzky, quote I said least attributed to Wayne Gretzky, and he says, I don't play to where the puck is I play to where the puck is going. I love that. And I think that if you're going to be a builder, who's going to create an environment where 100% of your students can be successful, you've got to learn to play to where the puck is going. And that's what the pathway component helps you do. It helps you figure out, okay, these are the pain points we're experiencing right now. But not everything that hurts needs to be addressed right now. You know, there's an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, well, it may be squeaky, but that may not be the thing that you need to be focused on. If you're just listening for the squeakiest wheel, you're going to be chasing your tail. And many of you feel like you're doing that right now. 

I was talking to principal the other day, and he was saying, well, the superintendent wants us to really focus on our literacy. She's got a literacy initiative. And then the superintendent went in front of the board. And the board says, Well, yeah, you've got literacy, but I'm looking at these math scores. What are you going to do about the math score? So the superintendent came back from the board said, Alright, the board is on me about the math scores, you guys need to get the math scores up. So the school shifts, so they, you know, they've been working on literacy, but they abandon literacy, and now they're going to focus on math. And then a couple of months later, the superintendent went before the board again, and the board said, alright, but what about graduation rates. So now, they're shifting again, to focus on graduation rates and doing things even at the middle school in the elementary level, to impact graduation rates. So if you don't have that anchor in your vision, mission and core values, then you find yourself just spinning with every new initiative, or every time the board decides to focus on something that becomes your focus. 

And that's an exhausting way to live. 

Many of you are living that way right now, where you feel like every two months, there's a new initiative, there's a new thing you need to focus on. There's a new emergency. 

And one of the things that distinguishes builders from leaders is that builders don't have that common Have whiplash builders are very, very focused and, and they're able to stay focus not because of some some character trait, you know, builders who have all kinds of personalities and characters, we have builders who have, you know, who have a DD and they're just kind of all over the place. But when you have this pathway component, you can stay focused. And you can stay focused on the right work. 

And it doesn't matter where you're getting, you know, people are demanding we were in office hours the other week and Sue, one of the builders in office hours said that, that her district was asking her to do something that took her off her vision, mission and core values. Now in the past, she would have just said, well, the districts asking us to do it. So let's at least pay lip service with the district is asking. But this time, what she's doing is she's pushing back against the district a little bit. And she can do that, because she has the she has the numbers to be able to support her work, she can explain to them why that initiative is not going to work right now. And what she's also doing is she's turning that that district demand into something that is actually going to serve her school more. 

When you are clear about your pathway as a builder, you can do that. And you can do it with confidence. Because you have data to back it up, you can trace it, you can show how how what you are asking what exemption you're asking for whatever it is, you're you're saying we don't want to do right now you have data to show why that can hurt your progress and your forward momentum. 

And when you do that, your staff starts to trust you more because they know that you're whatever you ask them to do is going to be designed to help you pursue your vision and and do it in a way that aligns with your mission and do it in a way that also honors the core values that they have set out as a group and a community. 

So now people trust you more, they trust you more, because they know that the decisions that you make are driven by something more meaningful than just random numbers. And were meaningful than some crazy district initiative. They're, they're driven and anchored in your vision, mission and core values. 

But here's why they also trust you, they trust you. Because once you do this a couple of times, your decisions actually result in major gains for your school. They trust you because your decisions bear out, when when you get to that pathway level, you start to learn how to make good decisions that create a track record for you of good decisions. And the more decisions you make, the more people begin to trust your decision making. And your staff starts to be less stressed out. Because you they know that you are going to use a process that sifts every demand every distraction every piece of data through this very simple pathway process. And you're going to make a decision that's for the best for the school, and for the best for them. That's what understanding and getting this pathway component right does. And then not only are you going to know what problems to solve, when you have the pathway, right? 

You'll know what solution is the right solution to the problem because you understand the problem. 

Take my example earlier, oh, kids are behind. They're below grade level in the reading. So what do we do about it? Let's say that really is the right problem for you to be solving right now. Well, how do you solve it? I don't know yet. Because I don't know why kids are below grade level. And so the Builders Blueprint process helps you figure out why are kids below grade level. And it uses a very simple framework. And so you don't have to kind of explore all the whys. Instead, you have seven things that you're going to sift your problem through. And they're in order, right.

 So those seven things are the seven principles of effective instruction. And I wrote about that, in my book, never work harder than your students how you can very quickly understand whatever instructional problem you have in the building, it's always going to be at its root, it's going to have its roots in one of these seven principles. 

The first principle is start with your students are so our kids below grade level, because our instruction is not pitch to where they are. It's not meeting the kids where they are. And it's not just instructionally meeting kids where they are. It's really considering their social emotional needs. Are we why are we teaching students in a way that is actually reaching them? Are we starting where our kids are? 

The second thing we need to ask us, okay, we're doing that, but they're still behind. Alright, do we understand what what were they going? Do we know where they're going? Do we know what on grade level instruction looks like? And a lot of schools get stuck right there because they the T when you talk to the teachers, even though they're teaching the curriculum, and even though they're working very hard, a lot of times they don't really understand the standards. They don't understand what it will take to get kids on grade level, they know they're below grade level, but they don't really understand why. And so if kids are below grade level, you're getting stuck getting them on grade level, that may be where your problem is. 

The third thing is you got to expect to get them there. And this is really about teacher efficacy. So teachers understand what kids need, teachers understand where kids are going to teachers believe that they can get the kids there, do they believe that the kids can get there that year, a lot of schools get stuck there. And they don't realize that they just jumped to a program without ever addressing teachers, belief systems, teachers sense of their own efficacy. And a lot of times, you need to build that first before you can go any further. So start with students are know where students are going expect to get them there.

The fourth one is support them along the way. And that's really about being proactive, we're not going to be remedial at this point. 

What supports do we need? 

So we're teaching on grade level, but kids are here? So how do we bridge the gap? How do we how do we get kids from from from from where they are to where they need to be? And then what supports can we put in place that are proactive rather than reactive? We shouldn't be waiting for kids to fail before they get support? How do we put supports in place to prevent failure from happening at all? And then after that, are we giving kids the right kind of feedback? Are we are we helping kids? Are we helping kids move by giving them the right kind of feedback that helps them grow? And are we looking at what kids are doing and using that as feedback to help us get better? So it's about using feedback to help you both get better? And then are we focusing on quality versus quantity? Are we sequencing and pacing in a way that is going to support their growth this year? And then finally, never work harder than your students? Or the students doing the cognitive heavy lifting in the classroom or the teachers? And you can look at that in order you can go into classrooms and look at your data and then see and then you can go back to the in order. Right. So are we starting where students are? Do we know where they go? Do we start with students are? Yes. All right. Do we know where they're going? Yes. And you can go back and see where the break is. And that's your solution. 

So kids are reading below grade level? Are we starting with students are actually we're not? Well, then don't get a reading program. First, you got to understand what's going on with your kids, you got to understand where where the breakdown is for them. That's what you're going to spend your time doing. And then you're going to devote the next 90 days to solving that problem. 

When you solve that problem, it may not be a literacy program, it may be that you're teaching teachers how to investigate what your kids need, you have to decide, but it doesn't always mean a program. And then in 90 days, if you solve that, that's the bottleneck that's keeping the kids from getting on grade level. And you you you remove that bottleneck, and all of a sudden kids are growing in ways that feel dramatic, and it's not dramatic, it's just that they were stuck. And you remove the sticking point, the obstacle, and now they can they can learn in the way that they're hungry to learn. And teachers can teach in a way that they're hungry to teach. And you did that. You figured that out. And you remove that bottleneck. And now you've opened up the flow of teaching and learning. 

When you have a process for doing it, that's what the pathway does. It helps you say, Okay, what's our biggest issue? And you look at your data through the lens of your vision, mission and core values to figure that out. And then you say, why is that an issue? What's happening instructionally that is making this issue an issue for us right now. The seven principles help you figure that out. 

The last piece of the blueprint, is you want to then say, okay, we know right now that we've got to help teachers start with students are, what do I need to be doing? And only four things that you can do to move teachers practice? We've talked about this in the podcast before. There's feedback support, accountability and culture. So which one do you need to focus on right now? Maybe teachers need more feedback to help them understand that they're not meeting kids needs. Maybe they need support, they understand. But they need support on how to meet those kids needs. Maybe there's an accountability piece that's missing that that the teachers know how to meet the needs, but they're not doing it on a regular basis. So how do we get them to do it on a regular basis, or maybe there's a cultural thing that we need to fix where there's a belief that's present in our culture that says not all kids can be successful or it's too late once they get to two great levels below greeting and we need to address that in a culture.

Those four disciplines we talked about them in the people component, but those four disciplines are really about what you need to be doing to get your to support your people so that they can address the instructional hole that's there so that they can move that data and get you towards your vision, mission and core values as a school. That process going through that process. And and having the discipline to go through that process every 90 days. helps ensure that you are always making the right decision at the right time. 

When I go into school, and I'm trying to help them figure out why are they stuck? Why aren't they achieving 100% success for every kid? The thing that that that I always come back to when I'm when I'm looking at the school hierarchy of needs, the thing that I come back to is always this. First, do you have a clear vision mission and core values? Yes. All right, purpose level a straight. Alright. Second, do your do your do the adults in the building have the will and skill they need to pursue their vision and mission and core values? Yes, okay. All right. So you've got people excited about the work, you've got people willing to do the work, you've got the work clear, you know what it is? Why aren't we being successful? Well, the next thing you want to check is, are we doing the right work at the right time? are we solving the right problems in the right order and in the right way? And if the answer's no, then the solution is very, very simple. 

You just need to take time to understand your problems more deeply. 

And that's what the pathway level helps you do. It creates a system for you to always look at anything that you're hammered with as a school, and to be able to figure out is that something I need to address right now, and if so, what's the solution that will eliminate the problems for good, see, a lot of us are exhausted, because we keep solving the same problems over and over and over again. And not only that, every day we're heading, we're hit with a new problem. And the thing is, when everything is important, when everything is urgent, nothing gets done, all you do is you wear yourself out playing this giant game of Whack a Mole trying to try to solve 25 different problems at once. And you're not only exhausting yourself, you're wearing out your teachers, and you're stalling your school. Because you can't move forward, if you're trying to spin all these plates. 

And when I talk to administrators, they keep telling me all the time, but that I just feel so exhausted, I feel like I'm working really hard, and I'm not seeing the results. And that is not right, you should be able to do work and feel the and enjoy the gains from the work that you're doing. If you're going to give up your weekends and your time with your family. Shouldn't that work result in something that that that makes you feel proud?

Well, if the builder first of all, you don't give up your time with your family and your weekends, you have to recharge as a builder, you understand that. So you put systems in place to help you solve problems very quickly.

And here's the difference. Builders don't work on, on just solving problems, they work on eliminating problems, he has a leader to solve a problem, which basically means you're just going to put that problem to sleep for a little bit. And hope it doesn't wake up until you've dealt with all this other stuff over here.

As a builder, you're going to say that's the problem, it keeps showing up over and over again. Let's get to the root of it. And let's just solve it, let's just resolve it for good so that it never shows up again, let's let's eliminate the problem.

That's what the pathway levels about helping you do. 

So if you feel like you are stressed out, if you feel like you are our victim, every time we try to get something going, the district throws a curveball your way and takes you off your your your focus and distracts you or closes off avenues that you're trying to pursue. If you feel like you're working really hard, but you keep solving the same problems over and over again, if you feel like you're just kind of overwhelmed, and you can't give anything more and yet, it feels like it's gonna take more work to solve that problem. I want you to know that there is a solution. Because those are issues, builders don't feel it when you become a builder, that stuff goes away because you have a way of solving problems and eliminating them for good and evil way to take the stuff that's coming in all the time. You know, you can't stop that you can't stop the district from a new initiative or you can't stop the the issues that show up with kids and parents. You don't have any control over that. But you do have control over how you prioritize those issues. And when you get this pathway level down pat, it gives you a superpower to be able to sift through all of the noise and all of the distractions and say this, this is what we need to be doing next. And that's what people need in schools right now. They need someone to help them make sense of all this chaos and still be able to do something meaningful. That's the super power of a builder. Because builders can see I always say I can see inside the matrix. That's what happens. You win when you're a builder you get to you can see through all of the noise and make sense of it. And that's what the pathway component helps you do. 

So here's my challenge for you this week. Just try it. All the things you're dealing with, just list them all, you know, on a sheet of paper, and then start trying to prioritize them. Which one is, is the biggest threat to our vision, mission and core values right now which one, if I didn't, if I if everything else say stayed the same, but I solved this problem right here, my school gets exponentially better. And you'll find that even knowing that simple exercise that's not the Builders Blueprint, but even doing something as simple as that will help give you a sense of, of calm and certainty and control. Because you recognize this is the thing I need to be working on the most. It helps you prioritize things. So that if you're going to work hard, you actually see results. And when you do that, you begin to to, to to have a bigger, a bigger understanding of things and how they work. And you also make really good decisions because you are starting to make decisions, like a builder. 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 builder ship University. It's our exclusive online community for builders just like you were 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. Inside 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 builders ship University, just go to builder ship 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.