Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What I Learned This Week (Volume 7)

            There has been a bit of a gap since I last posted in this series, based on a hectic travel and writing schedule coupled with moving to a new house. Of course, this has also provided some great learning opportunities and here are the highlights.

            George Couros has become a “go-to” colleague for things related to leadership with a technology twist. I have no doubt that George would be an excellent leader without any technology but he has taken the new tools and used them in a way that enhances his leadership. And he’s willing to share. His idea to create a MOOC (massive open online course) and invite colleagues to facilitate one of the leadership sessions has proven to be a hit. I was both excited and apprehensive to lead one of the sessions. The hour seemed to race by fueled by the excellent moderating of Chris Wejr and awesome participation from colleagues across Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. One of the highlights for me was to have a colleague from the Netherlands share what they do to encourage parent support in the school. I always try to get participants engaged in the sessions when I present and was worried about how that might be managed in this new format. Giving folks the microphone and calling on them after they shared some brilliant comments in the chat box provided the solution. I look forward to future opportunities to use this technology or other variations to connect with colleagues at a distance. I also know it’s important for a relationship guy like me to find ways to blend the personal contact that happens when we meet face to face.

            I really enjoyed my two days with the Kainai Board of Education working with all of the teachers and education assistants in developing and enhancing their formative assessment skills. While working with colleagues is always a great learning opportunity, I really appreciated the learning that happened outside of our working time. I was honored to be invited to attend their celebration evening and spent most of the time learning about the history of the Blood Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy. It was great to meet Chief Charles Weasel Head and to learn of some of the history from Lionel Weasel Head. I feel that I know a lot about the history of Canada but quickly felt inept as I heard the stories of the families that trace their lineage back to a time long before Canada was a thought. I also had the pleasure of seeing students perform during the day and also understand the deep connection to family within the group, as many children were present during the two days of my presentation.

            Moving to a new house always bringing some learning (or perhaps a recurrence of things we should have learned but quickly forgot after the last move!). My wife and I are excited to have a place to call our own after being renters for an extended period of time but on some levels, moving stinks! There was so much to be done and my travel meant an enormous burden for my wife in terms of all of the detail work. Then there was the cleaning of our previous house. Three hours cleaning cobwebs out of a basement we hardly spent time in, was not the deep learning experience I was hoping for, but attention to detail is important in ensuring no web was left behind. Now we’re setting up our new home and looking forward to having our grandchildren come over and play in the new space. I’ve also learned I waited too long to get a hot tub as the evening soaks are awesome!

            I’m off to Las Vegas for the US launch of the two-day workshop built on our Pyramid of Behavior Interventions book. Looking forward to some more learning with colleagues!  


  1. Thanks Tom :)

    I think that leadership and the effective use of technology are going to be something that go hand in hand. It is one way of getting out your message quickly, easily, and efficiently as well as opening up the lens of what is happening in your organization a lot easier. My views started to change when teachers would blog about their days when I was out of the school and I could get a glimpse of the amazing work that they were doing while also sharing it with a larger audience. Similar to teaching, you can be a good leader without technology, but with the use of it, a good one can be amazing.

    Thanks for your thoughts and sharing!

  2. Tom,

    I was only able to make two of the Leadership 2.0 sessions, but what a great format for learning. I find that I often struggle to engage in meaningful dialogue in the Twittersphere, but the MOOC's offer an opportunity to chat in a smaller setting around a specific topic.

    I'm looking forward to more. Do you want to get George on that? :-)

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