The 4 Types of Builders


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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 196.

Welcome to the School Leadership Reimagined 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, Robyn Jackson. And today I want to ask a question, what kind of builder Are you?

You see, I was listening to a podcast that featured an interview with a gentleman named Anthony truck. And he is a shift expert. And I'll slow this down because I didn't say what you think I said a shift expert. And he gave this great breakdown of the four different types of kind of people in this world. And I love that break down. I've been thinking about it ever since. And I started applying it to builders and the insights that came through when I started applying it to builders was so interesting that I thought I would share it with you.

So we're going to talk about that today.

But before we do, I just want to talk about builder ship University, we are in the thick of things now with this new cohort. And this cohort is on fire. I mean people came in they are so excited, we're seeing wins already. I just I just love I love the kind of people who are a part of builder ship University. I love the type of people who are attracted to build a ship University. And I love the spirit that they bring. Now we're not opening up builders ship University again until later this spring, possibly but they're oftentimes when slots open up. And so the best way to get those slots if you're ready to join right now if you don't want to wait until our next spring intake is to join the waitlist at builder ship University and you can get on the waitlist waitlist at builder ship And when you join the waitlist if a spot opens up, we will send you an email and let you know that this spot is opened up. And then you'll have 72 hours to join before we go to the next person on the waitlist. So if you're ready to join bill to ship university right now you don't want to wait until the next intake, then go to build a ship and join the waitlist. All right, now let's talk about these four types of builders. So again, this is not my concept. I got this from a gentleman named Anthony truck and you can look him up. He's on Instagram and other places. But I love this this framework because I think it really applies to builders, especially this time of the year.

So the first type of builder that we're going to talk about today is the dreamer. This is a builder who believes in builder ship they they've heard listen to lots of podcasts, you've you've read the books, and you can see that vision you can see that that 100% vision and you're so excited for it because you can you really you really relate to what your school could become if you apply the builder ship principles to your school. But the problem is you spend all of your time talking about it you spend all of your time wordsmithing your vision, you know, should I use is our does it need to be a semicolon or comma, you spend a lot of time talking about the potential a builder ship, but you never take action. You might even come to a lot of the free trainings that we do and download the free resources and you consume them. You listen to the podcast every week, but you never actually do anything. And the challenge when you are a dreamer is that there is some incongruency between your reality and your dream. And you never take action to move from your reality into your dream. And so year after year after year, you're talking about yes, at some point, I'm going to try and build a ship university. At some point. I'm going to take this vision and start aligning the work to the vision at some point I'm going to do all of that. But year after year passes by and you never do. Now. If that's you if you are a dreamer then first of all, I don't want to make you feel bad because I get it there's some people where the dream is is is very compelling. You believe in that but you just can't seem to get started. And so if that's you if you You are a dreamer that I want to challenge you that over the next week, you take one action towards your dream. Don't just talk about it don't just wordsmith your vision. But what can you do? 

What is one thing that you could do this week that would make that vision more and more of a reality? 

So I don't I'm not asking you to go whole hog. But what's one thing you do, let me give you a couple of examples. You've created your vision statement, it's time to share it with other people don't build a ship University, we show you how to create your vision story. So you can share that vision with other people. So that vision catches fire and other people get excited about their vision and want to be a part of the vision. But even without the vision story, just saying it aloud to your staff starts the clock ticking because you're saying three years from now 100% of our students. So don't wait until you've gotten it all perfect. And everything, just start stating that even if it isn't pretty, here's another thing you can do to take action, you can take a look at your vision and start going through some of the key systems in your school to start figuring out if those systems are aligned to your vision and where there is misalignment, now's a great time of the year to start getting things in alignment. 

For example, we're about to enter a master scheduling season many of you are already in master scheduling season. So now is a great time to take a look at your master schedule and say, well, this master schedule that we're building, will that master schedule, move us closer to our vision and if not make adjustments now. We're about to go into hiring season. So shifting your hiring process, so that it's an alignment with your vision would be a great step. Another thing is that you're looking at where people are going to be assigned for next year, realigning your staff so that it is more in alignment with your vision and can move your vision forward. Great step, here's the idea if you are in that dream or phrase of your builder ship journey where you are excited about that 100%. But you haven't taken action on that yet, that I want to challenge you in the next week, not the next month too far away, the next week, take some action, and every single week, commit to taking action so that you can get out of that dreamer stage and actually start building that dream and turning that dream into a reality. All right, many of you may not be a dreamer. So the next kind of builder that's out there is someone who is the dabbler. Now the dabbler has a vision or is thought about a vision and a mission and a core values. But the dabbler has looked at the the this whole landscape of build a ship and they love the idea of build a ship. But they haven't committed to doing any one thing. Instead, they kind of dabble with this a little bit. They dabble with that a little bit. 

So you're a dabbler if you haven't listened to this podcast for a while, and you get excited about some of the ideas on the podcast, and you go and you start them out. But then a week later or two weeks later, you've abandoned it, or you've gotten sucked back into the vortex that is your school district's requirements. And even though you know these, this is the work you should be doing, you're you you get sucked into what the district requires you to do. Because you don't know how to bridge that now and build a ship University. The way that we help you prevent that is that we have office hours and we have study hall. And so people bring things to that that's where we do our coaching. And so people bring things that the district is demanding. And they say how can I make this work with my district and we show them how to honor the district demands but still move their builders ship vision forward. So if you're in build a ship university, you don't have to worry about this. But if you find yourself starting something and then getting sucked into what the district wants to do and abandoning it, or if you find yourself, you know, maybe you're not unbilled to ship university, but you come to all the free stuff, and you get excited about it, you just went through the accelerator, but you haven't done anything with the accelerator work since then, or you grab a piece of the accelerator work. And then you try to add that to another piece of thing that you're doing that you learned over here, you try to add it to another piece over here, and you're trying to kind of take together a model for how you're going to move your school forward, then you might be a dabbler. And I say this all the time. And it doesn't sound great. But I don't know another way to say it. And that's that builder ship does not play nice with other people with other ideas with other strategies. It's not that builder ship is the mean bully on the block. But builder ship is an all or nothing proposition. You can't have one foot and builder ship and the other foot and leadership. 

It doesn't work that way. They're contradictory ideologies. 

And so if you are going to be a builder, you've got to be a builder all the way. But if you find yourself kind of like I'm a builder here within I'm a leader here and sometimes you just have to be a boss here. Or if you find yourself trying to take a piece of builder ship and tried to tape it on to something you are already doing. Then the solution is stop, pick a lane. Either you've got to commit to being builder, all or nothing or you can come commit to being a leader all or nothing, or you commit to being a boss, all or nothing. Now you know where I want you to come, I want you to come on over to build a ship all the way across the line, don't even look back. But if you don't do that, then you are everything and nothing all at once. Right? If you become a builder and you set 100% vision, but then you use the same strategies you learned as a leader, which are designed to get you incremental gains, instead of getting into 100%, you're never going to get to that 100% vision. So it's not enough to create 100% vision, if you're not also going to commit to 100% action. If you're a leader, and you've committed to being a leader, and you know, chasing and checking and correcting people, and then you hear this great strategy about build a ship that really relies on you empowering people to do the right work, even when you're not looking, then you are going to you're going to try to start empowering people, but then you're going to mess it up by coming in with this leadership strategy that's designed to chase check and correct people, you can't do both. And so if you're a dabbler My advice to you is to pick a side. And it's okay. If you say, You know what, I'm not ready to be all in as a builder yet. I would rather you do that, than dabble with builder ship. Because won't you will become more frustrated, because you'll try one strategy. And that strategy will work great for a little while. But then when you you'll mess it up. What by bringing in a leadership strategy or trying to attach it to a leadership strategy. I talked to so many people, and they're saying, Well, I tried it and it didn't work. And when I start asking a couple of questions, I realized they didn't go all the way they take took one strategy, one idea from builder ship, and try to make it incorporate with all of the stuff that they already were doing for leadership. And they created more work for themselves and more frustration, because it doesn't work that way. 

So you got to go all in. And if you're not ready to be all in as a builder, that's fine, keep listening. But don't try to take a piece a builder ship and dabble and build a ship and then run back over to being a leader and then run back over to being a boss, you're wearing yourself out. It's exhausting. Just pick something and stick with it. And even if you stick with something like leadership, you if you just stick with it and commit to it, you can you can go places you're not going to go to 100% leadership is not going to get you 100%, but it will get you incremental gains. But if you waste time, I'm a builder today or I'm a leader about this, what a builder about this, you're actually going to put yourself start going backwards after a while and you're going to be exhausted. So pick a lane now, I hope you pick build a ship. That's what I really hope I want you in the builder ship lane. But if you're not quite ready for it yet, then just keep listening. Just keep immersing yourself in it, a lot of times you have to undo the thinking that comes from being a leader. And that's okay, everybody's journey looks different. So if you are not quite ready to be a builder yet, then hold off before you start implementing the strategies, because they just don't work well with leadership strategies or boss ship strategies. Or as we like to say, boss whole strategies. They don't work with them. Don't try a strategy yet. You'll just be frustrated. Just keep listening, just keep and then when you finally make that decision, I'm going to go all in on being a builder, we're ready for you. We we will embrace you and love you will love you even if you don't do it, let's be real. But when you're ready to come on over to the builder side, we there's so much here that's waiting for you. And so you got to make that decision. You can't straddle the line, you got to be all in. All right. So we talked about the dreamer, we talked about the dabbler. The next person is what Anthony Chuck calls the defender. And this one was hard for me because I find myself being the defender sometimes, and maybe this is true for you. 

A defender is somebody who has achieved a certain level of success. 

And they don't want to rock the boat. They don't they they this is working. It's good enough, let's just leave it alone. And they get so focused on defending the ground they've already gained, that they're unwilling to take the risk that it takes to achieve even more to get to that 100%. And so this is for those of you who have been builders for a while and you've tried some things and they've worked. And so you're feeling really good. Maybe you've actually done more than your colleagues. Right. So when your colleagues were going backwards, you achieved 5% 10% during COVID. And so everybody's kind of looking at you like you are the the person the man the woman though you are it right you have achieved so much. And you're starting to feel really good about that because you're you know you're walking tall, you're doing better than your colleagues And so you stop pushing. Because you're so far ahead of everybody else, that you start, you start looking backwards to see how far you are ahead of everybody else, instead of looking forward to see how much further you need to go to get to 100%. And the danger about this defender, identity, this defender position is that you start to settle for good enough. And you when you do that, you never become great. And so I have to, I struggle with this myself, because a lot of times I find myself in that position of being the defender, you know, I see how far we've come. And then I get scared, I get scared to take risk, I took the risks that were needed to be taken to get to where I got. But then once I get there, I'm worried about defending holding on to what I have. And I get more worried about that than I do about what else there is to gain. And so if that's you, if you if you find yourself being a defender, you've made progress you're doing well, let's just leave it alone, let's just good enough is enough, then here's my advice for you. 

I want you to spend some time looking at what's left. And I And I'm telling you now it's going to be scary, but I want you scared, right? Because the further you get down this builder ship journey, and the more success you have in your school, the more high stakes it becomes because you said 100% vision, and people are satisfied with less than 100%. And so why keep putting yourself out there why keep asking more of your staff, when everybody is celebrating you, for less than 100%. And so I want you to turn your gaze on what's left. And I want you to name your fear that I just did this recently. I mean, this is something that I personally struggle with. So if you're in this defender mode, I get actually I've been all of them, I've been the dreamer, I've been the dabbler, I dreamed about building ship University for years and never did anything about it. Then I dabbled in different kinds of memberships and supports, and never really fully committed. And then recently, we said we're going all in on build a ship university because this is the most important work. And so then if then you do that you go all in and then you start to get nervous, you start to get scared, you start to not push things. And I did something that was outside of my comfort zone. And somebody was asking me to do something outside of my comfort zone, so that we could bridge the gap between where we are and our vision for helping every single person who joins builder, ship University, achieve their vision for 100% of their students. And we're gonna try to do it in three years. 

And so that's, that's scary for me to say aloud, because we're not there yet for every single person. And there was a step that I had that I had the opportunity to take that would get me closer to that. But I was nervous, I was scared. And it was stressing me out. And then I did something that I've talked about on the podcast before and I went back to it, because I found myself in that defender space. And when you are defending you can't grow because you're too busy trying to keep what you have, that you're not willing to extend yourself to what's what's next. And so I did that I I was feeling in that space. And that space is very stressful. It's very scary, especially when you turn your gaze away from what you would the ground you're trying to defend to the ground that's left to take. And I was thinking I don't know how to get there. i It was hard enough getting to this point. I don't know how to get to the next point. And I started telling myself all these things and making excuses. And so I decided to, to question my assumptions. And you've heard me talk about that on the podcast in the past. So I got a pad and a pen. When my office I closed the door. And I wrote down everything that was keeping me from taking the next step, every fear, everything that I thought was fact, every every worry that I had every concern, every obstacle, and I just wrote the list. And just sitting down and creating that list was a huge relief, just getting it all out on paper and looking at it. And then I went through each one and I said is this really true? And what would happen if it weren't true? What would it look like if it weren't true? So I said I don't know how to do this. And then I asked the question a question. 

Okay, I don't know how to do this right now. 

But who does know how to do it hasn't been done before? What would it take for me to learn how to do it? What do I not know? And what do I know already? So where am I learning gaps and then who or what can I consult to be able to, to to close those learning gaps? And those learning gaps? Are they big enough to keep me from getting started? And I started just questioning and challenging all of my fears. And let me tell you, when I did that, a lot of the stress just started to melt away. And I realized that I was playing scared. Have you ever done that? Have you have you been, you've been avoiding making decisions, avoiding asking teachers to do more, because you're worried about the pushback, avoiding pushing a new program, because you're worried that the district isn't going to support you avoiding making changes in your master schedule, because you don't want to rock the boat, avoiding the pushing students further, because you're scared of what the parents are gonna say? Well, I would suggest you do the same thing, right. Because if you know that you should be doing something and you're not doing it, because you're scared, then you're in the defender position, you're you're more worried about defending your, your reputation, or that you're defending the ground you've already gained, or defending your own ego like I was doing, and you're not taking risks. And you know, what happens when you do that, it infiltrates into your staff, you see, you've asked your staff to take a huge risk to believe in 100% vision, and they are putting it on the line. And when they see you playing scared when they see you adopting a defender position, then what what you are telling them is that your vision wasn't as big as as as as you told them, it was your vision wasn't as powerful as you lead them to believe. And they stopped believing in your vision to they need to see you be brave, they need to see you believe in your vision more than your fear. They need to see that because they need that. That's what helps them believe your vision too. And so if you're in the defender mode, challenge that so first of all, list the assumptions that have you defending, challenge those assumptions, and then make a decision to do it anyway. And I'm scared, do it anyway. And I did. I just got to work. I focus not on all of my fears. 

But I focused on what was ahead of me. And I didn't do it perfectly. I made mistakes. And then when I made those mistakes, all those fears came up all over again. Oh, see, I told you I was gonna mess it up. And oh, look at this. It's going to be a mess. But because I focus on my vision, my vision pulls me forward. And I said, Okay, I've messed up. What have I learned from this? How can I do it better? How do we recover and get right back on track. And I'm going to tell you to so liberating when you do that, it is so liberating, when you can can can play scared and do it anyway, instead of sit instead of withdrawing and holding back because you're scared, move forward through your fears. And I say through your fears, because on the other side of your fears is that exultation the other side of your fears is a relief. The other side of your fears is confidence. So that's what I challenge you to do. If you are in that defender position right now. Write down what's holding you back everything, challenge those assumptions, and then develop a plan to move forward. Anyway. So we talked about the dreamer, the dabbler to the defender, and lesson we're going to talk about the driver. And the driver is the builder who has a vision and is refusing to stop until they achieve that vision. And when you can get in the place of being a driver. Can I just tell you how freeing it is that some of you are there, some of you said 100%. And so when you make those gains that everybody else is celebrating, it's out, you're like, that's great. I'm glad I'm celebrating too, but we're not there yet. 

And we're not going to stop till we get to 100%.

And when you can get into that position of being the driver, when you can assume that builder ship identity, nothing will stop you nothing. And it's not only is it freeing but you know the more you do it, the more confident you become. And the more confident your team becomes because they're watching you and they're seeing that nothing is going to stop you and you just keep getting better and better and better and better and better. And more and more and more of your students benefit from that. And the more you stay in that driver mode, the more confident you become right now, being a driver is just like being a driver right? So when you first started driving every little thing that you did in the car, you have to think through, it's very conscious, you made a conscious decision to ease up off the brake and press down on the gas, you made a conscious decision to signal and driving felt exhausting, you might go around the corner, and it felt like you were flying at 25 miles per hour and you went came out, you got around the corner safely and without damaging the car. And then you just had to pull over and take a nap because it was that exhausting. And then the more you learn how to drive, the more that the work of driving becomes automatic, to the point where sometimes you leave work and go home and you don't even remember how you got there, you just end up in the driveway, because you're driving and it's so much on automatic pilot that you can be thinking about something else. While being a driver builder is the same way. 

The first time you start adopting this opportunity that's going to get to our goal, no matter what everything you do feels conscious, every decision you make, you have to make a decision to say listen, I'm not going to listen to that fear, I'm not going to rest on my laurels, I'm not going to worry about that, I'm not going to be distracted by that shiny object over there, I'm not going to dream and not take action, you have to be conscious about it. And it can feel frankly, exhausting. Because you're you're building this new identity, you're building the skill. But if you keep at it, it becomes more and more automatic, to the point where every day you go to work, and you move your school towards your vision, almost without thinking about it. And think about how exhausting your work is right now. Wouldn't it be so much more freeing if every single day you were going to work and you were putting in systems and refining those systems. So the systems were doing the work, not you every day, you are building your people, so they become builders, and they begin to shoulder the load with you. So you don't have to carry anything, everything all by yourself. If every day you went into work, and you took kids and families who wanted to believe in your vision, but didn't have any hope. And you gave them more and more hope. And so students are taking more ownership over their own learning. And they are growing and and families are are getting more involved because you shown them how to do that. And they are buying into that vision and feel like they're a part of your vision. What if you went into work every single day, and your boss stopped writing your back, because you what you're doing is working. They left you alone, maybe there's a district initiative over here. But they don't bother you with that because what you're doing is working way better than anything else they have going on. What if every day, at the end of the day, you could sit down and feel the satisfaction of knowing that you are really making a difference. And by the way, what if the end of the day wasn't at 789 o'clock at night, but the end of the day happened before the sun went down the end of the day happen in time for you to get home and have dinner with your family or your friends. The end of the day didn't leave you exhausted, I left you exhilarated and there was time enough for you to unwind and do the things that you wanted to do. 

That's what it means to be truly a builder. 

So if you're starting out, you're still in that dream, restate, take action. If if if you've been here for a while, and you're dabbling commit, if if you're defending because you've gotten some gains and you're worried about losing them, then you have to push through your fears and challenge your assumptions and do it anyway. And if you're a driver and you're starting out as a driver, but it still feels awkward and you're wondering if it will ever feel smooth. Yes, I promise you that it will and it gets easier and easier and sweeter and sweeter. Because everything you do, you are now doing it 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 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. 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 and get started writing your school success story today.

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