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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 198.

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 I want to know if this sounds at all familiar to you, you have been trained as a leader and you've been doing fine, you've experienced some success as a leader. And then all of a sudden you discover builder ship and build a ship is something brand new. And you start to hear about builder ship, you start to to understand what it's about. And then you start to apply it to your work and you start to see a few successes, and then you want more and more and more. And then all of a sudden, instead of feeling exciting about builder ship, you just feel overwhelmed. Because you realize that builder ship isn't just a technique or strategy. It's a whole different approach to the way that you do your work. And it can feel overwhelming, you look at all the things that that you thought were true that you're now realizing may or may not be true. And yet, that's how you were trained. That's how your school is set up. And you know that that's not working, and you want to make changes based on what you're learning about builder ship, and you feel like you need to make all the changes right now. And the more that you you understand about builder shift, the more you want to change, the more that you want to change, the more overwhelmed you feel. Now, have you ever felt that way? Or are you feeling that way? Right now. If you are, then today's episode is for you. And I have one message calm down. Now I'll talk about in just a second. But before I do, if you want some targeted support around your builder's ship journey, because you really want to implement this in a systematic way, and you want to implement it not only the systematic way, but in a way that isn't stressful in a way where you get all the support and the feedback and the accountability that you need to make sure that you're doing it the right way. If you'd like to get a curated curriculum so that as you're implementing and learning about builder ship, you're learning about things in the right order, then I want to invite you to join us a builder ship university, you see built a ship University.

Once you join, you can relax. 

And the reason that you can relax is because we've already mapped it out for you your success path is clear. The moment you join, build a ship University, we start you on your builders ship journey because frankly, it takes about a year to get all of the pieces of the builder Ship Model fully established. And so during that year and builders that first year builder ship University, we're helping you do that we're helping you create your vision and your mission and your core values and get them established in your school. We're helping you develop an alignment architecture so that everything in your school is aligned, we're helping you develop a one plan that helps you get focused on what is the right work for your school. Right now. We're helping you develop a feedback system and a support system and an accountability system and a culture architecture that can help you put these things so that your school starts running smoothly we we show you how to begin to plan and think like a builder in those 90 day cycles. And then we also show you how to build other builders so that the work isn't just on you. And everything is done in these small bite sized chunks. So you're never feeling overwhelmed. Instead, you just want you just trust the system and trust the process and and we're there to support you along the way. We have live coaching calls, you get individual feedback on your work. So as you are building these systems before you put them out in front of other people where they're giving you feedback so that when you get in front of your staff, you don't have to worry about whether or not you did it right because you've already gotten that feedback ahead of time. Now build a ship University is currently close to new members. We bring people on and cohorts so that you we can onboard you and then we can spend our time focusing on supporting you and making sure that you have a successful start. 

However, every once in a while a spot will open up and builder's ship university so if we're in between intakes, you can go to Bill readership,, click on Join the waitlist. And if a spot opens up, we will reach out to you and you can grab that spot. And then stay tuned because we're going to be doing another intake in another month or so and so you can be a part of that intake by joining the waitlist you'll get, you'll be the first to be notified. So you can get your spot before we open it up to the public and make sure that you get your spot in that cohort. So again, filter ship, and then click on Join the waitlist and join us there. Okay. Can we have a frank talk? I mean, literally, today, I don't want to do a big presentation. It's just me and you. And we're getting together. And we need to have a talk. And the reason we need to have a talk is because I'm seeing something happening inside the builder ship community, people who are in builders ship University, people who are in the school leadership reimagined Facebook group, people who've read the book, people who have decided they want to become builders, and I'm seeing a trend. And even I'm even seeing this trend for people who haven't discovered builder ship yet, you know, everybody's really stressed out. Now, if you are stuck in a leadership paradigm, I get why you're stressed out right? Leadership is stressful. And this is a stressful time of year. If you are a leader because everything is falling on you. The pressure is mounting, you're trying to make gains, you haven't made the gains you wanted to see in the first half of the year. Now you gotta get some things done in order to be able to hit your SIP goals, so you don't get in trouble or yelled at or get the side eye by your central office. Speaking of central office, they're putting a lot more pressure on you to do things a particular way. You're getting pressure from teachers who are burned out and tired and frustrated, you're getting pressure from families who are, you know, also frustrated and want the best for their children and are trying to advocate, you are facing increasing amounts of pressure to just get some things done. 

What's even more is that you're now probably in the swing of teacher evaluation season, right? 

So you're you realize you're behind and in in your teacher observation. So you got to get into classrooms, you got to get all those write ups done. Oh, and there's also the spring band concert and the spring play and the spring sports season is starting and grades are just in and the data doesn't look the way it should. And we're third trimester and testing is about to come up and just talking about that makes me stressed. So if you are a leader, you're dealing with that kind of stress, and it is feeling overwhelming. If you're a builder, you're facing some of those same stressors. But if you started this process in this journey, you know that listen, there are systems that you can put in place to alleviate your stress. So at least if you're a builder, you know that there's hope it doesn't have to be this way. And herein lies the problem. Because if you haven't quite started at your builder ship journey yet, or if you are just at the beginning of your journey, you know that hope exists, and you want it right now, and I get it like the pressure is high, you know, there's a solution, give it all to me right now, because I'm dealing with this pressure. But what happens is when you do that you are putting additional pressure on yourself, alright, the leader has enough pressure, but then take that pressure that the leader is feeling, and then put the pressure that we put on ourselves, we got to get this done right away. I'm so behind, I'm not doing what I should be doing. I need to have my vision, I need to get my mission. We haven't done core values yet. And the year is almost over. And you add that on top of the normal pressures that you're facing already as an administrator. And now you have just, you know, it's I'm just amazed that more of you aren't in the hospital, because you listen, this is what this is the paradox of being a builder being a builder says you can see the possibilities. And the challenges once you see the possibilities you can't unsee them. And when you look around at your current reality, it doesn't look anything like the possibilities. And as a builder you are straddling where your vision is where you know your school needs to be versus where your school is. And you want to cross that divide in one step. And it doesn't work that way. So if you are feeling that pressure, or if you're putting that pressure on yourself right now, I want you to stop because being a builder is not a quick fix. 

You're playing the long game here. 

And one of the reasons why we started builders ship University is because we started seeing people who saw the builders ship model, they they heard me talk about that builder Ship Model and they were like yes, I want it. They read the book, stop leading start building and they're like, yes, this makes sense. I want to do this. They came to builders. lab and, and learn the process and they go back to their schools and are like, I want to do all of it tomorrow because it makes so much more sense and my life is going to be better. And the process takes time. And so when the reason we started building up University is so that we could take that process and map it out, so that people can make steady progress by doing the right work in the right order, without getting stressed out. Here's the challenge, though a lot of people are like, I don't want to take the time to do it, I need the help right now. And they want to just, you know, they're feeling the pressure, they're feeling the pain of their current situation. And they want to fix it all right now. And first of all, you can't, but second of all, you wouldn't even want to because if you did, if you if you just threw everything that you knew about builder ship into your school right now you would break your school, you see leadership and build a ship don't really think they can't really coexist. And if you try to take everything that everybody's always known and throw it away, so that you can put this new thing that you're still learning in place, right away, you're going to break the system, you're gonna break both systems, right? Because if you're a new builder, like I like to call them new booze, right? So if you're a new builder, and you are starting the process, there's still so much you don't know, there's still so much you're learning. And if you immediately try to put everything in place when everybody's looking at you, people don't like change anyway, right? 

So you're coming in, and you're changing everything about everything. And then once you do that, if you don't really know what you're doing yet, then people are saying, Okay, we did it, we change now what and you're like, I don't know, I haven't read that chapter yet. And now you're stuck and your credibility is gone. And there are balls getting dropped, and you're feeling more pressure to get it right. And it's it just creates a mess. Here's the way that I recommend you do it. So the builder ship journey takes about three years as some of your like up, stop, hold up. I don't have three years. I'm in receivership right now, I don't have three years I'm going to retire three years from now I plan on being superintendent somewhere, I don't have three years, my kids are failing. Now, guess what, three years is going to come whether or not you start the process or not. And to do it well, it takes about three years. But just because it takes three years for the completion of the process, doesn't mean you won't experience wins along the way. One of the things that I love and build ship University, we have in our we have something called bu Commons, which is a private platform where we communicate and talk. So instead of putting something on a Facebook group, public, we own the platform. So it's exclusive, it's private, it's only for other people and build a ship University. And we have a thread there called the wins thread. And on the wins thread people are you know, they talk about their wins. And what's so crazy is that people who have been in build a ship University for about a month, they're already starting to post wins, because they're seeing the process work. So even though the process takes about three years for its full completion, you get wins immediately and on going. Okay, so let me talk to you about why three years, and what does what happens during those three years. So the first year is what we call the established year, it's going to take you about a year to put in all new systems in your school. And so you don't want to rush it, you don't want to just you know, over the summer, just blow up everything and put new systems in. 

Because if you do those systems, well, you have to gradually onboard people to those systems. 

So the first thing you are going to do is you're going to create your vision, your mission, your core values. And then once you have that in place that becomes the foundation of the work that you do. From there, you're gonna say, all right, is our work in alignment is what we're currently doing an alignment, where are the areas of misalignment? Where are the things that are really undermining our vision, mission and core values, you're going to identify those right away so that you can start working on phasing those things out. And then you're going to create something we call the one plan. And you've heard me talk about that on the podcast before. And basically you're gonna say, Listen, let's pare it down to what's most elemental for our achieving our vision, mission and core values in the next three years. What are the things that are most elemental, and so you create this one plan that streamlines your work and gives you focus? Listen, you're going to do that and build a ship University. It takes, you know, nine to 12 weeks to get all of that done. And when you do that, you have such laser focus, you have such clarity you have you're more efficient immediately your work is more focused as a school, you already have experienced transformation and a win. Then you're still establishing right after you establish those then you're going to start putting systems in place to support your vision, your mission and your core values. 

So if you are in bill to ship University, That's level two, a bill to ship University. So the key systems you're gonna put in, you're gonna put in a system around feedback support accountability and culture, that process usually takes nine to 18 weeks, so three to six months to put those systems in place and get them running well, every time you get a new system on board, you see immediate results. And you build the system once build it right, and you don't have to build it again. And what happens during this phase is the system start doing the work for you. And stuff gets easier. The school your school starts running more efficiently, you start reaching teachers who have been here too for unreachable, you start seeing change happening in your school, there's a momentum that you create around it, are you completely bare yet? No. But you have taken your school along way. The next thing you need to do is you need to start instituting those 90 Day planning cycles. So you've got your vision, mission and core values, your foundation, you know what you need to do to get everything in alignment, you've got systems to keep everything and every one in alignment. And now you can start removing some of the biggest obstacles that are keeping you from your vision. And so 90 Day planning cycles help you identify what's the most important obstacle that needs to be removed right now. And then how do we remove it in 90 days. And here's what you'll discover the first time, it might take you a little bit more than 90 days, maybe 90 days exactly. The second time, it gets faster, you get better at it. And your school becomes this well oiled machine where you're focusing on doing the right work, you're focusing on doing the right work the right way, you have systems in place to ensure that everybody's doing the right work the right way, and you start seeing even more results. And then the last thing that you need to establish is you need to build other builders, you need to take other people in your organization and help them to start making this whole builder ship process work. So everything doesn't fall on you. 

And so there's a whole process that we teach and build a ship University for how to do that, and to onboard people to this work so that the work keeps going even when you're not there. Now that takes a year to get all of that established. So those of you who thought you could read the book or, you know, go to a workshop and get it done in two months, no not going to happen. Nor should it happen, right, you need time to learn, you need time to get the systems established, you need time to walk people through the change process. And so establishing all of the systems that helped make builder ship work in your school takes about a year, sometimes it takes 18 months. But it's not wasted time. Because if you build it right the first time, you don't have to keep rebuilding and redoing everything over and over again. So builders play the long game, we put those things in place. The second phase of builder ship, and usually this takes another year is now we have to, we have to take what we've established, and now we have to execute. 

So the second year is about execution. You're not building anything new. You're taking the things you've built, and you're now executing that that should be a relief, right? Because in a leadership paradigm, it's like okay, what's the next thing I need to do? Alright, what's the next thing, or what's the next thing and build a ship, we're saying first year, let's put some systems in place, let's put some processes in place. The next year, let's execute on those systems that we put in place. Because you need time to make the systems work, you need time to refine the systems. So rather than learning anything new, we're going to go back and we're going to take a look at our alignment, architecture, architecture and get our school even more alignment. We're going to go back and we're going to take a look at our one plan and see what did we learn from our one plan? Once we have it? What else do we need to do? How do we need to refine it now that our school is growing, and we're going to refine that one plan, we're going to take a look at our feedback support accountability and culture systems. And we're going to really put them in place and let them work. Give them time to work, refine them, learn from them, make mistakes, and get better, tweak it make it more your own. And we're going to do that. And then we're going to be looking at those 90 Day planning cycles and getting better at that. 

And it's not going to just be a school wide thing. 

Now, let's take it down to grade levels of departments and let them to start identifying their roadblocks with those students and and removing those in 90 days. And we're going to just create this rhythm and this momentum in our schools. And our schools are going to become these well oiled machines. And we're going to see progress takes about a year because you need a whole school year a whole cycle to go through where you just execute. You're not doing anything new. You're just executing on what you've done. All right. The third year is the year that we Call embed and extend. Okay, so establish your one, execute your two, your three, embed and extend. By year three, you will have learned some things, you'll know what works for your school, what doesn't, you will have refined things. And now it's time to take the things that are really working. And you're going to do more to embed them in your culture. But you may not be at 100% success yet, because this is where we get into the nuance, it is often harder to go from 80% to 100%, than it was to get from 50% to 80%. It's a different kind of work. So in your three, we're taking the work we're already doing, and we're extending it so that we can cross that last divide, so that we can close that last gap and get to 100%. And this is where it becomes surgical the work that you're doing. It's not about big sweeping changes. It's about tiny, small refinements that get you closer and closer to 100%. It's about building on what you now know works to make it work for every body. Now, that's three years, but over the course of the three years, you're not continually gobbling up new information, you're not continually doing new stuff, you are that first year, if you give yourself time to get establish that first year, and you do a solid job of establishing that first year, the other two years get better. But if you rush, you're gonna have to go back and redo the work. And quite frankly, most of us have spent a large portion of our careers redoing stuff, because we didn't do it right the first time or redoing stuff because we rushed into something without thinking it through first, and realize that wasn't the right direction. 

So now we have to backtrack and go in another direction or where we're doing stuff because we we we, we said okay, I'll take care of that later, and then later shows up. And now we have to redo what we've already done. If you calm down and slow down and establish things, right, you don't have to redo it, then you can really focus on refining it, then then the work gets less and less and less overwhelming because your systems start doing the work. And you can focus on the strategic thinking and the forward thinking that only you can do. So if you are anxious to get started and build a ship, if you if you're frustrated, because right now you're starting your journey, and it feels overwhelming, or maybe you've been in it for a while you're like I thought I'd be done by now, I want to reassure you that your work is not in vain. But you need to trust the process. 

You need to trust the process, it works. But you're playing the long game. And that's a shift for a lot of us because as leaders, we're taught to think in your cycles, right? So every year over the summer, we do a new CIP plan, we grab new strategies, we implement a new program, we do this, we do that we do the other. And then we get really stressed I gotta get all my teachers, you know, doing guided reading, I need all my teachers to to put learning intentions on the board I need. And we stress out over this one little strategy. Because we think that if we just did that, then everything would change. And the truth is, rarely does that happen if ever. And we push and push and push and push for a tactic or strategy or program. And then we say at the end of the year, it didn't work. Next year, we're going to do this new thing, or we're going to stick with this program. But we keep pushing the program, we don't take time to really be thoughtful about how we get it established. We want to start the program and see the results within 30 days. It doesn't work like that. Build a chef says take your time. Do it right the first time. You're not wasting time. So think about that argument. Kids are failing now. Right? Okay. How many times have you really changed if kids are really failing? How many times have you turned that around with a strategy? Maybe for some kids, but then there are other kids that don't get served and you're rushing through trying to push it through. And then 5% of your kids improve? And you're like, Well, you know, we hit our 5% Mark, that's good. And meantime, you're leaving other kids behind, because you were rushing. And you didn't take time to establish this so that everybody could benefit. 

But my school is in receipt receivership. 

Well, listen, I've worked with schools in receivership. I've worked with schools that were about to be taken over. Guess what happens? Everybody floods the school with resources and bodies and opinions. And they do all these things. And let's say you get out of receivership, most of those schools are back in and three years because they didn't do things that fundamentally change. changed how they did things, they didn't rebuild the school. The difference between being a builder and a leader is that a leader, it doesn't have to make anything he does onward. Let's go this way. Let's go that well, let's go this way. A builder says, You know what, we'll go ahead and scope out the land. And then I'm going to start building here. And I'm going to invite people to something, rather than trying to take them this direction this year, oh, that didn't work. Let's go this direction next year, that didn't work, let's go this direction the following year, a builder says, nope, one place, and I'm gonna take time to figure out where that is. And this is going to be the right place. And then we're going to stay here. You can, you can relax, you can settle in, this is where we're going to be. And we're going to build, start with the foundation, we're going to make sure it's strong, we're going to make sure that we can count on it. And then we're going to establish all of the infrastructure and the framing and, and, and I know you want to decorate yet, but let's make sure that these windows will hold before you start hanging curtains. Leadership says, hey, look, I got these pretty curtains, I want to use them. But we haven't put the windows in yet. So what Let's just hang the curtains, we can put the windows in later on, let's just hang the curtains because it looks so drab around here. And then what happens the moment the rain comes, those curtains get blown off and damage and you end up having to buy a new set of curtains. So builder, you're saying listen, I know you want to hang those curtains. But let's get the windows in first, let's make sure that the windows will hold. And then when we put the curtains up, we'll never have to take them down again. They'll be there for years, we can enjoy those curtains for years. 

So if you're feeling pressure, or you're putting pressure on yourself, which is probably more likely, I want you to calm down. And I want you to slow down. You are now playing the long game. And it doesn't mean you're wasting time. And I know there's a lot of pressure and you want to get stuff done right away. But if you trust the process, you will see more results. By trusting the process than rushing and trying to grab results today those results are ephemeral. They're temporary, they don't last, you often make things worse. If you just trust the process, the results will come I promise you. And you may be thinking Robin how you promise me you don't know my school. I don't know your school. But we've been teaching builders ship for a while now we've helped hundreds of people and build a ship University at this point. And it has always been true. Do you know who the people are who flame out to build a ship university or come to builders lab and they're no better off a year later? Do you know who those people are? They're the people who don't trust the process. They're the people who see one strategy, they love it, they try to bolt it on to what they're already doing. Or they get frustrated because they can't get the instant gratification of an instant change. Because you still have a leaders mindset. So they're looking for a quick fix. And then they go and they try to do it quick fix or they don't stick with the process. And a year from now they're in the exact same place they were the year before or worse. You know, the people who actually see the kinds of results that I always tell you about those huge gains? Do you know who those people are? 

They're the people say, All right, I'm gonna trust the process. 

They're the people who are thoughtful about their vision. And they don't just grab a vision that sounds great. They spend time thinking about what is it that they really want. They spend time making sure that their vision passes the tingle test, they make sure that their vision really includes on 100% of their students. And then they take time to make sure that they get everybody on board with their vision. They make sure that their mission aligns with their vision, and their core values support and align with our vision and mission. And then they make sure that they go through their school and they take a hard look at everything in a yes, this is the way we've always done it. But it is out of alignment with our vision, mission and core values. So we're gonna have to do it a different way. And they do the work of getting in alignment. They they start trimming away all the fluff of the school, all the things that they're doing, and they really narrow down to what is most important and they just do that. And it's boring, it's not sexy, and yet they start seeing progress. In the meantime, their culture solidifies the families get reignited in their support, the students could reinvest it in their own schooling. The school starts running more smoothly, they feel better about their work. And and that high that good feeling It doesn't go away in the next crisis, that good feeling sticks with them, they, they begin to feel more and more confident. And I was talking to a builder the other day. And he was saying I had to make a tough decision. And in the past, I would have agonized over whether or not I was making the right decision. But this time, the decision was really easy. I went back to my vision, my mission, my core values, and it was clear what I needed to do. And so I made the hard decision. And I didn't agonize over it. And I yeah, I got a little pushback on it, but I was able to defend it and support it. Why? Because I had it anchored in a vision, mission and core values that we've all adopted. 

So sure, there's the normal stressors of you know, moving, you know, doing things around and logistically arranging things to support the new decision. But I don't have any stress about it, I go to sleep at night, and I don't have a single worry about it. That's, those are the intangible benefits of being a builder. So if you are stressing out and freaking out, oh, you know, I've got to get it down again. Stop, calm down. Calm down, and slow down. You'll get there. You just have to trust the process. Stop putting pressure on yourself. Stop looking for that instant gratification. Just trust the process. And when you do, you will not only see results, but you will establish something really incredible in your school that will last long after you leave because you took your time. And you did it right. 

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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