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I Did Not Know This Was My Responsibility

empathy growth leadership Jun 02, 2020

Hey everyone, I am Tom Miller and I wanted to share this quote with you. 

John Maxwell shared, "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” 

If you knew me 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago, you would more than likely remember a person of lesser character, limited personal accountability, empathy, and awareness of how my actions impacted others. I have worked hard over the last 5 to make significant changes to be the father, spouse, and community leader. 

However, over the last week, watching the turmoil unfold, I have come to realize that I am not even close to the leader that I need to be. 

John Maxwell shares, “If you want to change and grow, then you must know yourself and accept who you are before you can start building.”

Last week, when George Floyd died I said, “Wow, this is terrible.” But it was just “another” incident. 

When the protesting began, I said, “I just hope it doesn’t get violent.” ...

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Why Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Crisis?

 

During this COVID-19 interruption to the school calendar as most us have experienced it, our team at Leaders Building Leaders, in partnership with Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schoolscreated a community and predictable platform to INFORM, CONNECT, GUIDE and UNITE school leaders from across the globe in hopes of creating the best educational learning experience for all stakeholders. We meet every Thursday at 1:00. 

This past Thursday Ed Reed, Social and Emotional Learning expert, school administrator and counselor in a Maryland school system, was our guest speaker and shared with us the "WHY" behind building an effective Social and Emotional Learning program and "HOW" to begin laying an effective foundation before students return to school this fall.

Ed has served in various leadership roles in private industry and secondary schools recognized among the top 100 schools in America. After spending over 20...

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How to Be an Effective Exceptional Children's Director (Expert Speaker, Breauna Wall)

 

Exceptional Children Teams's are not strong just because they have strong members. Exceptional Children's Team's are strong because they learn to to navigate through challenging times together.

During this COVID-19 interruption to the school calendar as most us have experienced it, our team at Leaders Building Leaders, in partnership with Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools has created a community and platform to INFORM, CONNECT, GUIDE and UNITE school leaders from across the globe in hopes of creating the best educational learning experience for all stakeholders. We meet every Wednesday at 3:00. 

This past week our special guest speaker today was Breauna Wall, Director of 13 virtual schools across the state of CaliforniaAs the Director of the Exceptional Children program, Breauna and her team oversee more than 2,000 students through a remote learning platform. Building effective...

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Make Big Things Out of Little Things

finances leadership vendors May 26, 2020

Third party vendors can be pebbles in your shoe or building blocks for your school. 

This is the time of the year when you should be taking significant inventory of WHO is on your team. This doesn’t just include employees; this includes Third Party Providers. Typically you hire a third party provider for one of two reasons:

  1. You don’t want to do it.
  2. You cannot do it (time, skill, etc).  

Having strong third party support to do the things you cannot or don’t want to do is critical to your success. It can also be the pebble in your shoe that takes you down. 

Six  years ago, I started my business, and there have been two particular areas in which these pebbles have nearly destroyed my shoes, my toes, almost everything. (If you know college basketball and Zion Williamson from Duke--that’s the kind of shoe blow out in the 2019 tournament I’m talking about.)

These pebbles are:

  • Website support
  • Bookkeeping/Accounting

I was so naive...

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What Matters Most to You?

family priorities May 25, 2020

Hey everyone,

Just a quick message here on a quote I recently read that I believe is critical for any leader to think on,

Things which matter most can never be at the mercy of things which matter least. 

Six years ago, Budd Dingwall, who has been an amazing friend and mentor to me said during a mastermind call. "You know Tom, as a principal the to do list will never be empty. You'll never feel caught up. The school will be there tomorrow. But you might not." 

He went on to share about how as a principal he missed precious family time to be the best principal he could be.

And he was!

How many principals do you know that have earned two Blue Ribbon School Rewards?

Each at a different school in a different state! Budd is an incredible servant leader although he doesn't spend his days walking the hallways, he is still leading by walking around in my mind. 

I knew what Budd was trying to convey to me; but I was just about to launch my new business and the "to-do" list...

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What’s on Your June Board Agenda?

organization planning May 22, 2020

As my year finishes as a board chair of a public charter school in North Carolina, I combed through my reflection journal from the last year. On July 27, 2017 I wrote, “You only have 12 meetings to make an impact, sustain the last chair’s work, or improve for the better.” When you think about it, 12 board meetings is a very short amount of time to create sustainable change without ruffling feathers. It has taken me this long to just begin to figure it out the Board Chair position, let alone how to improve our board. Unlike my predecessor, I was fortunate enough to be on the board one year prior to being elected Chair. He was elected Chair in his first meeting! Talk about walking into the fire. 

While preparing the agenda for the June meeting I drafted ten questions I would like the answer to:  

  1. If I read the last 11 months of board meeting minutes, would I be able to tell that the organization in a better place, healthier now than it was one year...
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Finding Your Focus

#decisions #goals #learning May 14, 2020

Finding your focus can often be a challenge when you’re in a leadership position, but is a necessary attribute as agreed by many. In HBO’s documentary Becoming Warren Buffett, there’s a scene that explores Buffet’s friendship with fellow billionaire, Bill Gates, during a dinner party hosted by Gates’ mother. She asks guests to identify what they believe attributed to their success in life. Gates and Buffett shared the same one-word answer: Focus.

In school leadership, finding your focus can be a challenge when other people are always vying for your time and attention. Take fire drills for example. Fire drills, though necessary, can always serve as an opportunity for someone who “just needs a few minutes of your time. “ It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of somebody else’s priorities and lose focus, especially when the scheduler is an upset child or parent. However, just because it’s easy to lose focus, it doesn’t...

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Escape Being the Best Kept Secret

Today, there is just one message I wanted to pass on to you dedicated readers. 

Because leaders are readers and readers are leaders. 

People need just one reason to start following you, but many reasons to keep following you. 

Six years ago, when I was just starting Leaders Building Leaders, I hired a sales coach because let's be honest, in the world of education, words like sales and profit are dirty words. 

Most educators do not see themselves as sales people, or like asking people for things, but they do it every day. 

We were four or five sessions into our sales coaching sessions and my sessions were not productive.

My coach asked me one simple question. 

"What is your story?" 

I went on to share my experience as an exceptional children's teacher, principal, my doctorate in education leadership and time as a state wide consultant who developed many state wide initiatives to open and improve public charter schools. How on the last day in...

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What Should You REALLY Be Doing Today?

I believe that leaders never advance to a point where they no longer need to prioritize.

Great leaders know that activity is not necessarily accomplishment. That is why they follow the 80/20 rule, or as many call it, the Pareto Principle. 

The 80/20 rule sounds like a mathematical formula and in some ways it is but don’t fret, this isn’t a lesson on statistics.  The rule came from an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who stated that 80% of the Italian income was earned by 20% of the Italian population. 

What this means is that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs.  

Here are some relevant examples: 

  • Productivity (20% of your time per day brings 80% of your results)
  • Habits (20% of the cups that I own are used on a regular basis)
  • Happiness (20% of your activities create 80% of your happiness) 
  • Revenue (20% of your product brings 80% of the revenue)
  • Assets (20% of my wardrobe is worn 80% of the days per year)
  • Mileage (20%...
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Leadership Land Mines

leadership Apr 26, 2020

Ever Play the Game Operation?

It was the game where you, the doctor, were responsible for remedying health issues like the charlie horse, spare ribs and butterflies. The most fun was removing the ankle bone from the knee bone. You all remember getting buzzed before you could remove the infection. Wouldn’t it be great if life really gave you a buzzer before you stepped on the landmine?

My last 12 months have been filled with leadership landmines. One of the critical elements in learning how to lead is to avoid those landmines, outline the map through the battlefield, and make it to the final destination with all limbs intact. Having reflected on these last 12 months, I realize that I need to raise my awareness. This will take more than just putting new batteries in my buzzer. I am going to need a better map to guide me through the battlefield.  

Here are some landmines I hit that I must avoid this year.  

Poor Staffing Decisions: If you have read anything I...

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