Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reinvention 2: Get On A Mission

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Last month I wrote a piece about my working through the 4 steps of reinvention by Branding Expert and Reinvention Specialist Robin Roffer. In the second step, Robin says "A big part of authentically reinventing yourself, i.e., peeling away the masks you wear to reveal the true you, is to write a mission statement. What is your mission in life? Why are you here? What is your message? What are the gifts and talents you possess that can be poured into your products, blogs, website, presentations, projects, reports, books?" My mission is to be a thought leader in the educational applications of digital and social media.

Offline, I want to lead an organization similar to the Paley Center for Media or TED, but with the focus on life and career developments. Online, I want to direct the digital and social media operations of an education-based organization. My dream jobs would be the editor of an education-focused online publication or the director or the vice-president of programming of an online TV channel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The great LIE

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Have you ever told your child, a friend, your student, or anyone for that matter that they could be whatever they wanted to be? If you have, then you are guilty of spreading one of the greatest lies ever told. Not that I am advocating you killing someone’s dream, but the reality is that no amount of hard work or time spent can make up for natural talent. If it ain’t in you innately, it aint’t gonna happen. You can’t manufacture it. It’s time we start telling the truth about the importance and necessity of talent in one achieving success.

We should all follow our passions and pursue careers that ignite a fire in our souls. However, that must be aligned with our strengths (talent). Two great examples are Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Both of them played in the NBA. Did you know that? Yes, they made it to the NBA but as players they were average. Yet as coaches, they have won 17 NBA championships between them.

They didn’t walk away from their passion for professional basketball. They ran toward their strengths for coaching. By doing so, they have lived their best professional lives. That is what we all really want, right?

Who here wants to live a life, professional or otherwise, of mediocrity? Who wants to go to work and hate every minute of it? Who here wants to bust their humps and not see the reward in it? Well, that is a certainty if one isn’t working from one’s strengths.

Check out this video of Marcus Buckingham speaking:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Twitter me this....

by Amber Teamann

Why would an administrator want to take on the headache of using social media with their parents and community? What if I asked if you, as an administrator, would like to have more communication with your parents, keep them updated and alerted to any and all important school news, while only taking up a fraction of your time?

Twitter provides just such an opportunity. Our parents today are busy. It’s not always like it used to be with a mom waiting at home with a snack to go through a weekly folder and help with homework. Today’s mom and dad’s may be working more than one job. They may be working late into the evening. They may have more than one student to come home and help. Even the most traditional of families can become buried underneath the responsibilities of soccer, dance, and Girl Scouts. Recognizing the different dynamics of what our students are going home to can help guide how we communicate with them all. Providing the same information in as many mediums as possible can only help ensure that we are reaching as many parents as we can.

How do I envision Twitter as an asset? It allows your tech savvy parents who are involved with social media a way to get current and timely information. Sending reminders about picture day, school closures, make-up days…things that parents are concerned about can be short and sweet. Being that technology, social media in particular, has taken over so many aspects of many.

In a world where anything can happen, and information travels SO fast, Twitter allows for timely communication. Emergencies happen and while not life pressing, to a parent, having a concern immediately taken care of can be gratifying. We had a situation this year where there was a fire in the kitchen. No students were ever in danger, but to the neighborhood surrounding us, seeing the campus swarmed with fire trucks and district personnel can be unnerving. An “all call” went out to parents that afternoon, but we had several concerned calls in the interim. Twitter would have calmed & clarified the situation immediately.

Every week a stack of reminders are sent home. Tests, pictures, events, policies, etc…we send them home in bulk at certain times of the year. A tweet is only 140 characters. Short and sweet. “ Free dress tomorrow.” “Don’t forget to return your library books.” “ 2nd grade field trip, bring your lunch!” All the things a teacher wishes she could call and remind each parent of the day before. May not be worth another sheet a paper, but a tweet? Absolutely.

Not all of our parents are on Twitter. Recognizing that there would be a learning curve is ok. SOME of our parents are. SOME might be inclined to look into it knowing that it was offered. SOME might take advantage of the “Fast Follow” option that Twitter provides, which sends texts of tweets. In fact, sending a text was originally the only way users could tweet. This is why tweets are 140 characters -- they need to fit into a text message. Anyone in the US can receive Tweets on their phone even if they haven’t signed up for Twitter. This is a simple way for people to get information they care about in real-time. They won’t need a Twitter account or to sign up for anything. This will require some training, but it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t text these days. Providing training would be worth the results each year.

Twitter is not the silver bullet that will allow seamless communication between school and home. What it will do is provide another opportunity for educators to reach out to the parents and attempt to bridge the disconnect between school life and home life. If it also opens a door to discussing social media, cyber behavior, or having an online presence? Even better.

Amber Teamann is currently the assistant principal at Luna Elementary school located in Garland, Texas. Working with students is her passion and getting to work with the best elementary staff is a bonus. Her background in instructional technology has allowed for numerous opportunities to present on a district, regional, and state level on a variety of integration pieces. She enjoys bringing that energy and awareness to her teachers and students. Her blog presents both integration tips and directions for lovers of all things educational and technology. You can also follow her on Twitter @8Amber8

Monday, April 4, 2011

Patience, Passion, Persistence

By Jenny Bloom, Ed.D.

This article is reposted by permission of the author. It originally appeared here.

When I worked with MD/PhD students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign I always reminded them that the 3 P’s of Patience, Passion, and Persistence were key in completing both degrees. Keep in mind that it takes an average of eight years to complete both degrees and that did not include the 3-7 additional years that they faced in pursuing a medical residency. They needed their fair share of each of the 3 P’s.

Since I left Illinois to take a faculty position at the University of South Carolina, I have realized that those 3 P’s are not only the keys to success for MD/PhD students, they are the keys to success for all of us. Patience is needed to make sure that our anxiety over facing the unknown doesn’t preemptively cause us to make a premature decision. Patience certainly isn’t one of my strengths, but as I have gotten older I have realized the benefits of being patient, especially when faced with critical decisions about my future. A good night’s rest can be the best strategy for making good decisions.

Passion is the fuel that allows us to accomplish great things in life. Identifying our passions is one of the most important tasks we face in young adulthood. I know that my passion is helping others make the most of their educational experiences, but I haven’t always known that. I had to spend a long time trying many different jobs and activities before finally being able to put my finger on the commonalities between all of the things that I love doing. Marcus Buckingham in his series of DVDs titled Trombone Player Wanted defines strengths as the activities that make us feel strong. He provides three clues to help individuals identify their strengths by encouraging people to look back on the previous week and answer the following questions:

1.What activities did you look forward to doing?

2.What activities were you doing that while you were doing them the time just flew by?

3.What activities did you do that afterwards you felt contented and fulfilled?
These types of questions might just help you figure out where your passions and strengths lie.

Persistence is the third “P” and an important one at that. Persistence is all about getting up after you have fallen down and dusting off your knees more determined than ever to accomplish your goals. You will make mistakes and the key is that you must learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them again. As DeWitt Jones in his DVD titled Everyday Creativity says, you have to turn win-lose situations into “win-learn” situations. After you have made a mistake, it is important to reflect on what you can learn from the mistake and what specific steps you can take to avoid repeating the same mistake.

I hope this information on Patience, Passion, and Persistence is helpful as you seek to achieve your dreams and goals.


Buckingham, M. (2007). Trombone player wanted [video]. Carlsbad, CA: The Marcus Buckingham Company.

Jones, D. (Director). (1999). Everyday creativity [video]. Zepher Cove, NV: Dewitt Jones Productions.

Jennifer L. Bloom, Ed.D., serves as clinical associate professor and Director of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s Degree Program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of South Carolina. She also serves as an adjunct associate professor for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. She previously served as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign (2003-2007). She was elected to the position of President of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) for the 2007-08 term. Her research interests include academic advising, career paths in higher education administration, leadership, and change.

Be sure to check out Jenny Bloom's blog and connect with her via Twitter.

Play To Your Passions and Strengths!

by Laura Goodrich

Clarify your strengths so you can leverage and use them
daily. You will be happier!

A strengths assessment provides insight that will guide you

We've all heard "Play to your strengths." It's not new. It makes sense. Most
people say, "Duh."

The shocking reality is that only 20% of employees say they are using their
strengths daily! This fact was proven by the Gallup organization through
interviews conducted with more than 1.7 million employees from 101 companies in 63 countries.

Herein lies an opportunity for forward-thinking organizations. Hundreds of
assessment tools exist that enable individuals to determine their greatest
strengths (two I recommend are Now, Discover Your Strengths and
StrengthsFinder 2.0). I recommend that you complete a strengths assessment,
and if you're a manager, have your employees complete an assessment. Once
you clarify your strengths, leverage this knowledge to align yourself with
the projects, people and initiatives that will allow you to bring the best
you have to offer to the tasks at hand. Recognize that it takes work. The
Latin core of the word passion means to suffer, thus you need to care about
something enough to keep on going at those times when it might be easier to
stop or be distracted by something else.

How do you recognize a strength? For starters, it comes easy for you. In
fact, it probably comes so easy you take it for granted. We often overlook
and underestimate the good that we can do when we are playing to our
passions and strengths. It takes a lot less effort than other things, and it
brings the best of ourselves to the project or challenge. It's exactly what
organizations need today.

When we are trying to be everything to everyone, it's easy to end up down
the path that keeps us busy and pays the bills but yields little
satisfaction and drains us.

When you're doing work that you're passionate about, you lose track of time
and you're filled with energy. Look for times and activities in which you
lost yourself. Reflect back on your life, even back to your youth. What were
you passionate about, and what were you interested in? Knowing this is the
place to start. If you don't know it just yet, stick with it until it
reveals itself to you. With the right determination, study, and
conversation, you'll figure it out.

You might feel that you already know your strengths, but I still encourage
you to complete an assessment. It will provide insight that will guide you.
Once you know your strengths, you can leverage them. You will be able to
more easily and clearly articulate how your strengths will serve the
project, your team, and the company. Everybody wins.

If you want to drive yourself, your team and your organization to a positive
future, I am excited to offer the process and toolkit that can get you
there. Check out the resources at seeingredcarsbook.com.

Laura Goodrich is a Workforce Innovator, Filmmaker, Author and Speaker. She specializes in workplace dynamics and change and for 17 years has passionately helped people; teams and organizations create THE positive outcomes needed to succeed in this rapidly changing world. She is an advanced trained coach and in 2007 was identified as one of the top ten executive coaches internationally by one of the nations largest coaching and training organizations. She is a host on the regional television show Life To the Max, and also hosts the radio show FutureWork.

Laura is also the author of the film, “Shifting Years – Leverage the Power of Generations,” the soon to be released film, “On a High Note” and the book and film “Seeing Red Cars.” LiveMint and the Wall Street Journal have identified Seeing Red Cars – Driving your Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization to a Positive Future as a top five leadership book for 2011! Forbes magazine identified it as a “must read,” for leaders who want what it takes to accomplish positive change. Her business stories and experience from all over the globe have earned her the reputation as someone who can create positive change in the most challenging of times.