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You're listening to the school leadership reimagined podcast episode 89.
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 faith. 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.
Welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagine podcast. I'm your host, Robin Jackson, and welcome to 2021. I am so excited about this year, we have a lot of things planned for you. And I want to actually talk today a little bit more informally, about some things that we have coming up some things that you can look forward to in 2021. And it's really about setting your vision for this school year. A lot of people at the very beginning of the year they make new year's resolutions or they set intentions for the year, they say this is the year that I'm going to fill in the blank. And of course, New Year's resolutions are notoriously broken by the beginning of February, it's very hard to stick to those resolutions. And the same thing can also be true about some of the vision setting that we do for our schools.
It's January, and it's been an insane school year, this year.
How many of us in August, set a vision for the year and we're already off track how many of us in August of this school year, in 2020, we decided this was going to be the year that we have sometimes what came after the that we was simply survive, or we were going to thrive in spite of crisis. We were going to grow. Or some of us may have even put our visions off because this has been such a crazy school year. And now that we're in January, we're taking a look around and we're realizing we haven't accomplished nearly as much as we thought we would or or maybe we're looking around and saying, Wait a minute, we haven't been working on our vision at all. And so we come back to school with this renewed fervor there. There are all kinds of changes happening even now in schools that that are going to make it really difficult for us to stay focused on our vision, but we want to give it a try. Because we believe our vision is important. So how do you do it? How do you keep from having the same feelings of regret in June that you may be experiencing now in January? How do you make sure that between now and June you actually see progress, in spite of everything that's happening here. That's what I want to talk to you about today.
I also want to talk to you about my own journey with a vision. So you know, at the beginning of 2020, we were riding high, we'd had a great year and 2019, we had all these plans of things that we were going to bring to you in 2020. And of course, once the pandemic hit, a lot of our plans had to be revised, you know, our whole business and mindsets had to change. We were doing a lot of face to face work. And we had to pivot and I hate saying that word now because it's so overused. But that's what we did we we had to pivot to providing the same value but doing it in a virtual environment. And, if so 2020 has what's not the year that we planned in 2020. But we were still able to stay focused on our vision. And that's really the power of your vision. You see, there's a difference between the distinct plans that you make for the year, and your overall vision for where you want to be as an organization. And so I want to talk about that today, I want to talk to you about some things that we have coming up in 2021. And I want to give you a few tips to start thinking about your own vision and how you may need to upgrade your vision a little bit so that it's truly a builder's vision, and it can carry you through whatever 2021 has in store for us.
I want to remind you about Builders Lab and a very important deadline coming up.
So as you know, we are going to be doing builders lab the 360 degree experience happening January 25 through 27 2021 just in a couple of weeks. And for many of you have been reaching out said I'm coming to builders lab in January, and you haven't gotten your tickets yet and I understand stuff gets in the way in the holidays. But I want to tell you that if you want to be sure to get your builders box, which is something that we send you in the mail, it's a physical big box with all of your materials, a few surprises, things that make this builders laboratory Truly a 360 degree experience where we engage your, you know what you see and feel and taste and hear and touch. So I think it's a touch and feel twice, but you get my point we, we want to engage all of the senses. And so we send you a box. And in that box, we have the builders manual, which is you know, people love this builders manual that builders manual alone is a $97 value, and we're sending that to you in the box, we're sending you surprises. So every single day, you're opening up something new inside of your box. And so if you want to get that box, which I think you need to really have the you know, just the the amazing experience, if you want to get that box, you need to register and get your ticket for builders lab by Friday, January 8 2021. That is the last day that we can guarantee that you'll get the box in time for builders lab.
Now, if you buy your ticket after that, we will try to get your box, we can't guarantee it. So you really need to get your ticket. And in order to get your ticket just go to mind steps inc.com slash builders dash lab that's mindsets, inc.com slash builders dash lab, I also want to tell you about the upcoming season of the podcast. So this is kind of a bridge episode. But starting in the next episode, we're going to be starting a new series that I'm so excited about. We've been working on this for a while. And it aligns with one of the handouts, it started out as a handout that we gave, it's a part of builders lab experience. It's in the builders lab manual. People love this handout so much that we thought we would expound on it a little bit. And so we're going to be doing a new season starting next episode, where we're going to be looking at the difference between a boss, a leader and a builder. And you've heard me say in the past, bosses say go and leader say let's go. But builder say come? Well, we're going to talk about that. And we're going to talk about at least 10 other differences between being a boss, a leader and a builder. And so you'll want to tune in to hear how you can stop acting like a boss, how you can stop falling into leadership and stay firmly into buildership. As you approach things, it's going to be a very practical series. So it's not going to be all philosophical, it's going to be looking at some real situations that you're facing right now. And talking about how bosses handle it. And the flaw in that that approach how leaders might handle that same scenario and how the way that we've been trained often puts us in a precarious position when we're handling really tough challenges. And then we're going to talk about how you can pivot from approaching things like a boss or leader to how you can take that same situation and approach it like a builder and see huge results.
I'm so excited about this brand new series that we're going to be starting next episode.
Now, I want to talk to you about vision 2021. I want to start by sharing with you my vision for the work that we're doing here at mind steps. And then I want to talk to you about your vision. So our vision at mind steps has not changed. We are still here to help you turn your school into a success story with the people and resources you already have. And this year, we're doubling down on that we are really creating resources and training and tools to help you do that. Over the over the month of December, we sat back as a company, we started thinking about what we really wanted to do, we pored over some of the feedback that we've been getting from people who are in the mindsets family, we reopened the pop up group and we've been in you know, interacting with people there and hearing your challenges. And then I spent a lot of time thinking and doing some training and reading myself. And I remember one day I walked out of my office and I announced that the team, I have seen the matrix, we have some really exciting tools that I cannot wait to share with you. We're going to be debuting one of those tools at builders lab and I'm so excited. I can't I can barely keep the lid on, you know kind of what's happening.
This tool is going to be a game changer. And the tool is really about helping you stay focused on your vision for the year. You know, one of the things that I think happens to most of us is we get really excited about the visioning part, we get a vision, you know, we walk out, we say okay, this is our vision, we're going to do this. And then life gets in the way stuff happens. And it's hard to stay focused. Or sometimes it's not even, it's not even about focus. It's really about how do I take this vision that I believe so strongly in and how do I make it a reality. And so we've been developing some tools to help you actually not just create a strong vision, but stick with it until it becomes a reality. And how do you do that when everything else is going on. And so we are so excited about some of the tools that we have planned. Then we're going to be again debuting them at builders lab and then we are also So another thing that we wanted to do in 2021, and I'm really excited about is we are going to be reopening builder ship University. So if you recall, we opened up buildrtship University in the fall, and we let in 50, founding members, and we have been having so much fun with the founding members. And just kind of, you know, looking at how it works and making sure that it's going to work, we're going to open it up, again, the early part of 2021, so probably the end of January, beginning of February, we're going to be opening up build a ship University again, and so you want to look out for that.
My book is coming out!
So we have been taking this buildership model, and you know, actually applying it in schools that we work with, for the last three years, I think. And so now I've taken the model and the success stories that we've already helped people start to build. And we've, you know, taken that and put that in book form. So the book is coming out in February, you're gonna hear a lot more about the book in the next coming weeks. February 5 is the release date, you can also pre order it firstname.lastname@example.org or an Amazon or bonds at Barnes and Noble. There are a lot of places that are taking pre orders right now. I'm going to tell you what, like, if I never read another book again, it'll be okay, this book is it's some of my best work yet. And I don't say I say that with humility. This book was a long time coming, it took me a long time to write it. My editor and I went back and forth over this for a long time trying to get it exactly right, because a lot of this stuff has been in my head and I've been doing it with our clients, but I wanted you to be able to read this book, and immediately start applying it to your own school. So how do we make that clear? When I'm not there whispering over your shoulder telling me do this do that? How do we make that clear, and I think we've we've nailed it. And so I can't wait to get this book into your hands, I'll be talking to you more about that we're going to have some really fun things happening right around the time that the book drops, and the book is going to be dropping in February five. And then we've been doing we've been you know, some one of my mentors used to say you have to eat your own dog food. I don't know if I like that I've been we've been taking our own medicine.
A lot of the tools that we have helped other principals use and and and district leaders use to really get their their organization focused, we've gone back and started using those tools ourselves. And first of all, it's given us a lot more focus as a company, but it's also doubled down on my my belief and conviction that these are the tools that everybody needs to be using. So we're gonna be doing a lot more with providing tools for people, not just training, but actual tools, we've been doing something inside of the builder should be University, it started out as just kind of a necessity, you know, people are asking questions, I said, Okay, let's just get in here together and do it. But now it's becoming one of the signature features of builders University. And it's something we call sprints. So if I teach something, and I say you need to do this, you need to have this and here are the tools and here's everything you need to do. And if you do this, here's the results you're gonna get. A lot of people are like, great, but then they're left on their own to actually implement. And so we started doing these implementation sprints. And so the Sprint's are, you know, somewhere between two and four days, so we meet every day, at a certain time, usually in the evening after work. And we meet for about an hour to 90 minutes. And the whole point is to get together with other people. And we work through building the tools or building the system that I've taught you about in the training. And so we've had a couple of Sprint's so far, and they've been incredible, because it's one thing to kind of try to build something on your own. It's another thing when you're building it with other colleagues.
People are asking questions, and I'm there coaching them.
We set people up, if you want to work quietly, or you want to work with your team, you can get your own breakout room. And then people take what they built, and they share it with everybody. So they say, you know, I was I took this tool and I innovated. So we start out with a basic tool, but people customize those tools to make it work for their situation. And then they share it. So you see what other people are doing. And that sparks ideas. And then you're just hanging out with people. So you're not in this by yourself. And I'm there I'm coaching you through it. If you have questions, you can get immediate answers to questions. And the idea around the sprints is that you walk out of that sprint with a tool already built and ready to implement. So you can take it and immediately start using it to make your work more effective and efficient. And to help you achieve your vision mission and core values in your school. It's been incredible. And so one of the things that I'm committed to doing a lot more of in 2021 is that we're going to be doing CT at least quarterly we're going to do a sprint inside of builder ship University and we are looking to do more I can commit to a quarter but I know that there's going to be more than just four Sprint's next year as people are inside buildership University, and I'm going to tell you honestly, that work is so gratifying to me, because you're getting stuff done when we were doing live workshops, a lot of our live workshops, were that way we were doing work in the workshop.
So you walked out with something already built. And to be able to figure out how to do that online has just been one of the brightest spots of 2020, for me, and something that I'm taking into 2021. And then the other things that we're going to be working on this year is just my word for the year for 2021 is focus follow one course until successful. And so that's really what we're going to be doing, we're going to be spending a lot of time here mindsets, just focused on your success, how do we help you achieve your success, we're going to be building a lot more tools because the training is great, but then having the tool to be actually take the training and make it work for your situation is what's been really powerful. So we're doing a lot more tools a lot more Sprint's our focus is really about getting you to implement what you're learning. So it's not just going to be, you know, hey, this is a great idea, maybe I'll try it someday, or I'll have to figure it out on my own. When I have time, we want to walk beside you and get this implemented.
My personal word for the year is focus.
I think the word inside of mind steps this year is implement, we're going to be helping you implement this year. So that's kind of what's going on when we didn't write a new vision for 2021. Because our vision remains the same. This is the work that we're going to do. And I would urge you to grab a vision that is not situated on every January or every beginning of the school year, I have a new vision, you want to have a vision that's big enough that you can continually work towards that vision in spite of what's going on. And in order to do that, I want to talk to you about a couple of things. So first of all, inside the pop up group, we're going to keep the pop up group open for another couple of weeks just to get everybody started for 2021. And we had some really great planning sessions inside the pop up group, we're going to take those archived planning sessions, and we're going to put them inside the pop up group so you can revisit them over the next few weeks. But the one of the sessions that we're going to continue to do inside the pop up group is helping you develop your vision, that's the probably the most popular and powerful workshop that we have inside the pop up group right now is the vision workshop. And so if you are not a member of the pop up group, go to mind step sync.com. And on that homepage will be a banner a pop up to tell you to join the pop up group.
The pop up group is a free group where I provide training and support I'm there inside the group it's alive. And we do it, you know, we'll pop up for you know, a few weeks and then we'll close you know, close a group down and then we'll pop up later on. And we'll close the group down as we have new tools or training, if we see a need, we want to provide you with that free training. So you should join the pop up group. But anyway, inside the pop up group, we're going to be doing several vision workshops, again, our most popular workshop where you get help on your individual school vision. And so people find that to be so powerful, and people come and they work through it. And they walk out so excited because they have a clear vision for their school. And so we're going to be doing that. And we're also going to be doing at least one more training on just getting set up for finishing the year strong. And so look for that in the pop up group. But if you don't want to join the pop up group, or you don't have time, I think you should, you know, just it's free training. And it's we give you very valuable stuff inside that pop up. It's not just fluff, we actually for those vision workshops, you get one on one attention, it's first come first serve, I'm working with you directly, it's the best, it's the only way you're going to be able to get coaching with me for free. So you should definitely join the pop up group.
As you're thinking about your vision for the year, I want you to think about three things.
Over the break I was listening to a podcast or a book I can't remember where but this idea came to me and I've been thinking about it ever since and I wanted to share it with you. It's what kind of wrap up this podcast episode for today. And I told you this was going to be a little bit more unstructured, just because I'm just popping in to share some information with you and tell you what's coming up. But one of the things that really struck me was this idea of having a vision with meaning. A lot of times when we set visions for school, we set them and with, you know just kind of what is interesting or important for us. And we rarely think about what that vision would mean for our students. And so one of the things that I've been pushing people to do in the workshop is you got to have a vision that you're personally excited about. But you also have to have a vision that has actually going to make a difference for kids, right? So you can have a vision that you know, we're going to be the best school in our region or area or in the country or in our category. And that's great for you that gratifies your ego but what does that mean for students? What does it mean for the families that you serve, your vision has to have meaning that goes beyond you. And the reason that your vision has to have meaning that goes beyond you is because if you're going to get everybody galvanized and excited, and on board around your vision, they have to see how your vision impacts them personally, it can't just be about you.
I want you to interrogate the vision that you have for your school right now. And ask yourself, honestly, what would this vision mean for the students and the families we serve? What would this vision mean for the community? And if you don't have a really compelling answer for that, I think you need to rethink your vision. So ask yourself, does this vision have meaning that goes beyond me? Does it have meaning that is valuable to the students and to the families that we're serving? The second thing is, I want you to ask yourself, does your vision have power. And when we talk about power, we call it's so powerful. But here's what I mean, in a very practical sense, a vision with power will get people excited, galvanize motivated, it drives the work, if you have a weak vision, one without power, it doesn't drive your work. And so it's easily abandon a powerful vision, it's hard to ignore, you can abandon it just because life gets in the way. You know, I think about some of our clients this year, who have successfully navigated their school through the pandemic, and every single one of them, were able to do it because they were able to anchor in a powerful vision. Their vision was powerful enough that when they everything else was happening, and if everything else felt unstable, they were able to say no, we need to stay focused on our vision and their vision carried them through their vision drove the work, and their vision actually saved their schools. Is your vision that powerful? In the face of crisis? Does your vision still hold up? Or is it something that's easily discarded? If it's easily discarded? It has no power? If it's easily discarded? Why are you doing it? Because it's not going to serve you anytime you can't anchor in it.
You want a vision that has power!
So number one, is your vision meaningful beyond you? Number two, does your vision have true power? And then number three, does your vision have urgency. And here's what I mean by that everybody starts talking about manufacturing urgency, they don't say manufacturing, they don't use those words. But that's really what they're trying to do. They're trying to create a sense of urgency, your vision shouldn't require you to create a sense of urgency, your vision should have embedded urgency inside of it. And here's how you know that your vision has that urgency. If you say your vision and the moment you say it, you're saying you know what, we can't do anything else. That's it, that has to be true for every kid. That's how you know you have the vision, the right vision, if you have a vision that can be delayed or postponed. If you feel comfortable saying, well, that's our vision. But right now we need to get through COVID. So we have to put the vision aside and focus on this, if you feel that way right now, then your vision doesn't have that built in urgency, it's not serving you. But if you say you know, I know we have COVID right now, but we can't stop this, we still have to pursue this. That's when you know, you have the right vision.
So I want you to pull out your 2021 vision for your school, for your life, for your professional life, for your personal life. Take whatever vision you have for this year, and hold it up and see if it stands up to these three questions. First of all, does your vision have meaning? Is it meaningful to you and to the people that you are serving? And who are going to be impacted by that vision? If not, you want to rewrite your vision? The second question is, does your vision have power? Is it strong enough that it will stand that you, you you you can anchor in that vision even in the face of crisis? And number three, does your vision have urgency? Is your vision so meaningful? So powerful is so important that you can't put it off? You wouldn't consider you wouldn't think of putting it off? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then don't worry. We're here to help. Join the pop up group and bring your vision to the Popup group. And we are one of the vision workshops and we will help you develop a vision that has that meaning and that power and that sense of urgency. And then if I may, once you have that vision, the next step is how do I achieve that vision and that's what builders lab is all about.
When you come to Builder's lab, you're going to learn how to take the vision you have and make it a reality.
We're going to show you how to take that vision and put systems in place to keep you focused on that vision to make sure that all of your work is aligned to that vision and to ultimately help you achieve that vision. You're going to walk out of builder's lab with your first 90 day plan for moving towards your vision which means that you When you come to build your slab in January, you're going to have major significant progress towards your vision by April. And we're not going to just send you away in January say good luck, we're actually going to walk with you for that whole 90 days helping you to build the systems to put the things in place to overcome your biggest obstacle to make significant progress towards your vision.
That 90 day process that you learn that we walk with you through is a process that you're going to be able to repeat over and over and over again, until you achieve your vision. And our thinking, and this is the one of the big 21 you know, kind of things that's driving our work is we want to help you achieve your vision for your school in between 18 months and three years. So if you have a vision for all of your students reading at or above grade level, by third grade, we want that to happen for your school in the next 18 months to three years, we want to put the process in place to make that happen. If you have a vision that all of your students graduate within four years with a viable post secondary option. We want that to happen for you in the next 18 months to three years. So our goal for 2021 is to start having those success stories, but not too many success stories, we want to have big success stories written in the net between 18 months and three years. And it can happen for you too so on about you to builderslab, come on to the pop up group.
Let's work on your vision together.
Then come on to builders lab and let's make your vision a reality. So don't forget next time I'm coming back with a brand new series for the podcast that we're going to be working on the boss leader builder series, and I'm so excited, it's gonna be very practical. Don't forget your deadline for builders lab tickets, you need to have your ticket purchase by January 8 2021. In order to guarantee that you get your builders box which you need for builders labs. So go to mindset think.com slash builders dash lab to get your ticket and I look for you inside of the pop up group. Also, we're having great conversations inside of the Facebook group as well. So there are lots of ways to get access to this material.
Please take advantage of it and I will 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 offers. office hours with me where you can ask me anything and get my help on whatever challenge you're facing right now. If you're tired of hitting obstacle after obstacle and you're sick of tiny little incremental gains each year, if you're ready to make a dramatic difference in your school right now, then you need to join Buildership University. Just go to buildershipuniversity.com and get started writing your school success story today.
I'll see you then!
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