Byron's Babbles

Day 💯 – Getting To Know People In A Different Way

Well, here we are; day 💯 of the Covid-19 Global Pandemic. During this time of discovering a new normal, I feel more connected than ever before. I have met the children, spouses, pets, and even a grandmother of people I never would have thought possible. I’ve even introduced some of our Jersey dairy cows to others while connecting virtually. Additionally, I’ve witnessed parents attending school events virtually, while at work, that never would have been able to attend before. My point? There are things that we need to consider becoming normal. I’m not saying replace necessarily, but supplement.

Having said that, I now begin to think about what else do we need to be thinking about? How do we leverage technology? How do we stay human? How do we get the right tools in the hands of everyone? How do we decide what the right tools are?

It’s interesting to me that before the WHO (I thought that was a rock band) named this a Global Pandemic we were talking about sustainability and the environment, health care, education, and many other things. While in the education realm we have been focused on connectivity and providing meaningful virtual education, and in healthcare our actions have been around caring for Coronavirus patients and stopping the spread of the disease, we will get back to talking about the major issues in the way we were before the pandemic took over. For example, we will, no doubt, be rethinking health care and how it is delivered. In education, I continue to argue that our conversation needs to shift to the idea that school is no longer a place.

Even though I served as moderator for an awesome global event last month that was virtual with 47 countries represented, I also wonder if our assumptions about globalization have been challenged. We had been talking about distance no longer being a factor, but in some ways I’ve seen us become more isolationist and seeing us care more about the locality we operate in and what we can touch and feel. But, we’ve also seen that we can hire the best talent from anywhere and bring them onto teams. The only remaining question related to that is how to do remote working well.

I don’t think I am alone with all of this thinking and pondering. We are now entering a time of needing to decide which practices still make sense and which need to change. We need to come together as families, businesses, schools, communities, cities, states, and nations to answer the question, “What can we create together?”

FACE Is Social Currency

Saving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build TrustSaving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build Trust by Maya Hu-Chan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one book that you will want to put on your “to read” shelf and then move immediately to your “currently reading” shelf. While reading this book there were many things that became immediately applicable and usable. This, to me, is the greatest of compliments. There were also times when, as I read, I would literally say, “So, that’s why I screwed that up so bad.” “Face,” as Maya Hu-Chan said is like social currency. The more you have, the easier and faster you can get things done.

IMG_8795Immediately after reading my advanced copy of the book I had the opportunity have Maya be a part of a professional development webinar I put on for teachers. Maya and I used Angry Birds as the throughline for presenting the professional growth. We actually watched part of the first Angry Birds movie and picked the part of the movie where Red is asked to be a leader and he says, “I’m not a leader.”

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 1.41.26 PM

“I’m not a leader!” ~ Red

This provided a great springboard for Maya to connect the teachings of her book. One of the things she discusses in the book is using the Platinum Rule instead of the Golden Rule (not that the Golden Rule is bad, mind you). The Platinum Rule is, “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”
Think about how just doing this would improve relationships – “face.” Needless to say, Maya’s teaching is a huge hit with educators.

Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 10.11.50 AMOne of the most impactful parts of the book dealt with psychological safety. Hu-Chan posited that, “At the very heart of creating psychological safety in an organization is the ability to honor face, save face, and avoid situations where someone loses face.” Psychological safety is one of the number one variable for team performance. Psychological safety allows for moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off — just the types of behavior that lead to ideas, creation, and breakthroughs.

Finally, Maya also taught us the BUILD model in the book. BUILD stands for Benevolence, Understanding, Interacting, Learning, Delivery. By putting the BUILD model into action in our lives we will be able to live a life of significance while saving face. As you can see, you are going want to start reading this book right now.
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Coaching To Examine Meaning

Posted in Clarity First, Coaching, Educational Leadership, Global Education, Leadership, Psychological Safety by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on June 11, 2020

Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective InquiryCoach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry by Marcia Reynolds

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book truly was written as a coach’s guide to reflective inquiry. As a person who coached, mentored, and worked alongside a new school principal this year, I found myself wanting to tell stories and use reflective inquiry as I read, highlighted, and dog-eared the pages of this great book. Of course, I love the fact that Dr. Reynolds used case studies instead of acronyms for bringing clarity to her teaching. This book provides information that is immediately actionable.

Dr. Reynolds put five tools in our reflective inquiry toolbox in this book:

1. Focus: coaching the person, not the problem
2. Active replay: playing back the pivotal pieces for review.
3. Brain hacking: finding the treasures in the box
4. Goaltending: staying the course
5. New and next: coaxing insights and commitments

She also gave us three mental tips to provide psychological safety. I am so appreciative that Dr. Reynolds spent time in the book discussing how our brains work and why psychological safety is so important. I believe this might be one of the biggest issues in organizational culture today. I even tweeted the following while reading the book: “I’m always appalled when someone tells me they are nervous & fearful of talking to their leaders. This is aweful! ❤️ Love that @MarciaReynolds addresses the brain science of this in her new book #CoachThePerson. 🧠” I also tweeted: “…Additionally, @MarciaReynolds drove home the point in her great new book, #CoachThePerson, that we must create cultures that foster the psychological safety to fully express ourselves in conversations.” Here are her three mental habits:

1. Align your brain
2. Receive (don’t just listen)
3. Catch and release judgement

Toward the end of the book, Dr. Reynolds reminded us that we need to say it out loud to make it real and that our brains are meaning-making machines. In every scene of our personal and professional lives we pull from our past experiences, beliefs, values, fears, and present assumptions to make sense of the situation we are living at the moment. In this book, Dr. Reynolds taught us that, “Coaching is intended to examine the meaning people give to situations to determine what else could be going on that would change their approach going forward.” Everyone who works with people should read this great ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ book!

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