Byron's Babbles

Become More Human & Less Machine

Back in June I had the opportunity to facilitate human development of the National FFA Organization‘s Teacher Ambassadors. The National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA Programs is open to any current middle/high school agriculture teacher all over the United States with the goal of having representatives from every state. Teacher ambassadors are responsible for presenting workshops, working with state officials, conducting webinars, and serving as content specialists in agricultural education and the FFA. I had the opportunity to work with teachers from all around the country and Puerto Rico.

comp_backtohuman_3d_5bf57cbf4616eOne of the things that past years’ participants had recommended is that there be a book chosen to use along with all the other professional growth opportunities being provided. As an avid reader, FFA leadership deferred to me to pick the book. I was thrilled to get to do this! The theme of “making connections” rose to the top as a theme for the two week development. It is so great to have a theme developed organically from the participants. We even used the hashtag #FFAConnections on twitter. I did my due diligence thinking of books I had read and reviewing others, but a book that I had read in the past kept jumping to the top of the list: Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation by Dan Schwabel.

Dan Schawbel is a New York Times bestselling author and the Managing Partner of Workplace Intelligence, a research and advisory firm helping HR adapt to trends, drive performance and prepare for the future. He is the bestselling author of three career books: Back to Human, Promote Yourself and Me 2.0. Schawbel is also the host of the 5 Questions podcast, where he interviews world-class humans like two of my heroes Richard Branson and Condoleezza Rice; among others like Rachael Ray, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Jay Shetty. At the beginning of the book Dan said, “The point of Back to Human is to help you decide when and how to appropriately use technology to build better connections in your work life.” He also told us in the book that leaders can only be successful if we are able to create emotional connections to others – connections that allow empathy, performing acts of kindness, and avoid hurting others. Because these teachers would be making connections during the continued Global COVID-19 Pandemic (we are now in day 147), this topic was so relevant.

Because we were doing this growth opportunity virtually, I decided to take advantage and see if I could get a Zoom conversation with Dan Schawbel set up to discuss just how we could become more human and less machine. He was more than willing and we had a great conversation that we were then able to provide to our participants. Here is my conversation with Dan split into to two YouTube videos:

What an amazing conversation, don’t you think? Needless to say, our participants thought so. Our participants also loved reading the book. It is amazing to me how applicable a book that was released back in 2018 is even more applicable today than when it was released. This really is a book that I believe every human should read.

Dan was also so gracious in agreeing to answer all questions submitted by these highly engaged teachers. Here are there very thoughtful questions, and Dan’s answers:

1. How do you recommend balancing/setting boundaries when tuning out the noise of technology when so much of our work has to be completed using technology or communicate with our superiors? There is so much pressure to “look like you are working” that sometimes boundaries of not checking emails or not answering the phone after hours can make us “look bad.” When you’re working remotely, there is both external and internal pressure to work harder, longer, and deliver more value above and beyond what would be expected at the office. That’s why you have to self-manage, set expectations, and create boundaries with the people you work with. You need time away from technology or you’ll get burned out and sick from overwork and too much screen time. Block off time during the day on your calendar for walks, phone calls, reading a book, and other activities that pull you away from your screen.

2. What do you believe the long-term effects of the widespread remote working will be? The widespread effects of remote working will be more competition, yet more freedom for professionals globally. By working remotely, people have the freedom and flexibility to work when, where, and how they want. But, with remote work comes global competition because people don’t need to be at a corporate office to interview or work. For instance, if you live in Idaho you can work for a Silicon Valley technology company, which would have forced you to relocate in the past. If you are job searching in Silicon valley, now you have to compete with people who live everyone in the world including Idaho, which wasn’t your competition pre-covid.

3. Even though our students have grown up with technology, and are addicted to it, there was a lack of engagement during Distance Learning this year. Seeing that we are most likely going to have a hybrid type of classroom moving forward (distance learning and in class learning), how do we engage them in the distance/technology learning portion of that hybrid model? Can we trick their brains to make them feel like it is “cool?” I think the smartest thing teachers can do when it comes to teaching in a hybrid model is to experiment and then solicit feedback from the students. Find out what’s working and what isn’t by asking them directly and using the data you receive from virtual learning as an indicator of what changes need to be made. Make two buckets, one for virtual learning and one for in-person learning. As you experiment with your coursework, put activities into one of those buckets based on what’s working for you and the students.

 4. In a world of instant gratification and praise being needed, like discussed in chapter 6, are we enabling this “addiction” by giving that praise and recognition? How do we find a balance between giving the recognition needed in order to build relationships with students, and enabling that mindset? I don’t think it’s wise to give recognition for the sake of it. I think you should be consciously awake that recognition is important to student engagement, but only do it if it makes sense and feels natural, otherwise, it could come off as being fake.

5. As teachers how can we start the new school year with better communication/connections during our new teacher inductions? During this spring I felt like I was chasing students around for attendance purchases. I recommend that you start the communication before the school year begins and when crafting the introductions be vulnerable with what you’ve been through during the pandemic, how it’s affected you, and emphasize the importance of teaching. This will help you connect emotionally to your students and also reinforce the importance of education.

6. If we practice over-communicating, how do we make sure the communication still appears authentic? You be authentic first, then over-communicate second. Come up with an important message and say it in multiple ways across multiple days or weeks.

7. How do we allow those who we are virtually meeting with trust us through what we are presenting or discussing versus being in a classroom or office setting? How do we keep their attention during that time? Trust needs to be earned overtime by being honest, dependable, competent and consistent, all of which you can display virtually but strengthen in person. Getting and keeping attention is hard virtually so you have to spend that much more energy making your teaching dynamic and interactive.

8. What long term effects do you think we will see from using zoom and the virtual communication on real in person communication in the future? Technology can be a bridge to more human interaction and trust, but I think we’re at a point where people are exhausted from it. I think the combination of technology and in-person interaction will be the prevailing hybrid in the aftermath of the pandemic.

9. I LOVE the idea about communicating once on Monday and once on Friday and I actually used this method with my students (optionally) this spring. There were incentives for them to come to my meetings though. I had a hard time making them mandatory because –I knew they had 6ish other teachers that could be expecting the same things or have different demands. What kind of system or pattern of meeting do you recommend when dealing with students in a situation like that vs. An office? Just a short meeting with each teacher -still Monday and Friday –or having like a whole grade meeting and then asynchronous meetings with individual teachers? When it doubt, put the options on the table potentially in survey form to find out what works best for them, then analyze the results and act on the most frequently chosen response as a trial. This way, you can justify your choices to the students if they ask.

10. Is it bad that I am enjoying the “break” of life with the outbreak of covid? No, we all need breaks especially during hard times.

11. What are some ways that educators can make our connections unique through virtual learning? By talking more about personal activities instead of just school work and by asking more questions instead of just lecturing. 

12. The Monday/Friday video calls seems like an excellent idea! I resonate with ideal of having to “prove” your worth when working digitally. Our district has required time logs that have instilled a feeling that the district does not “trust” its teachers. How can school leaders balance expectations and trust? I think you have to run trials and then iterate because we are living through a historical time that hasn’t happened before. Everyone is experimenting to see what works and then running with the results.

13. I find it interesting that he said we are working more and harder when working digitally. Up to ten hours. Part of me felt like I was slacking just because I was working at home and I am not used to that. I also realize now that I was working more because I was checking email, Google Classroom, and other platforms ALL DAY! How will we get away from that if we are more digital next year? I’m not saying that we should be working up to 10 hours more, the data just shows remote workers have fewer boundaries between work and life so they end up working more during their life. It’s not healthy to overwork and burn out and can be counterproductive.

14. A recent impromptu poll I’ve done with my kids showed that the majority of them “cheater, or felt the urge to cheat” because of the lack of structure or supervision with FFA activities. In a period of isolation, besides meetings once a week, what are other possible strategies to promote structure in an online setting? You should equip students with their own structure and not expect them to do it for themselves. This can be done using technology like a calendar where they get alerts when they have to be in class or a homework assignment is due.

15. With so many varying backgrounds and interest levels with students/teachers, how can we keep our virtual/hybrid learning and communication relevant to those that we are communicating with? The video talked about zoom fatigue, but it seems to be something we must learn to live with. I understand communication is key to understand what your audience wants, but it’s much harder than a classroom to adjust virtually to appeal to a virtual audience. We have to adjust as we go because this is new territory for everyone, both students and teachers. Through our experience and by talking openly, and soliciting feedback from students, you should adjust your communication style. When class starts in-person again, people will naturally spend less time on Zoom since we use it by necessity right now.

16. How do you convince school leadership that beginning and ending the week together (as talked about in the video) can create a sense of community within a district? It comes down to a conversation about setting expectations, being on the same page and ensuring that there’s consistency in communication. The start and end of the week create the biggest impression.

17. How do we mimic small accountability groups with our school staff, classrooms, and FFA officer teams if we continue with virtual learning? Right now you can do Zoom breakout rooms in order to do that.  

18. What are some tips and tricks for increasing digital engagement? Quizzes and facilitated discussions work really well. You want the students to participate much more than they normally would because you aren’t in a physical space.

19.How do we turn the digital/virtual/remote environment to where people will want to show up and engage? You pick the right platforms and then use the tools inside of that platform to engage students, allowing them to participate and connect with you and each other.

20.As an individual, how do you suggest employees who consumed with online learning disconnect from the digital world to create a healthier work/personal life balance? You give them time in their schedule for breaks and encourage them to take time off.

21. Are there specific ways/methods of engaging young people/students that are more effective than professionals? Use the platforms that they are currently using as a way to communicate with them and solicit interaction. For instance, Tik Tok is an iPhone app that students are using so you can use that same platform to think of creative ways to engage them.

As you can see Dan really does fulfill his role in society by making information and research universally applicable and digestible by the public. Back to Human and Dan himself really gave these teacher ambassadors useful and immediately actionable information for helping them be effective ambassadors for the National FFA Organization and agricultural education. They also will be better teachers for the students they serve because of the “back to human” experience. How about you? Do you want to become more human and less machine? I sure hope so!

“Don’t Romanticize The Job”

Posted in Ambition, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Passion by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 2, 2020

Yesterday, I heard the phrase “Don’t romanticize the job” used. We all romanticize certain ideas. The context that was being used when I heard it was romanticizing police work and wanting to help people and make a difference in the world. Interestingly, those are the same things said by those going into education. Pick any job and something could probably be romanticized about it. We could find someone in real life or in movies, television shows, or books who looked cool doing it. When we romanticize, however, we are responding to how we think our lives should be, look, or feel.

As opposed to romanticizing, we need to check reality. We need think about what we really want or how we really feel. Otherwise we are probably going to be very disappointed. Most things are not near the way we romanticize them. Think about this romanticization: the person working the longest, sleeping the least, stressing the most, sending emails at all hours of the night, is working the hardest and getting the most done. Of course this is not correct, but I actually know people who set their computer to send out emails in the middle of the night so people think they are working. Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!!!

Notoriety used to be something that happened or was achieved after having done something notable in a person’s respective field. Now it has morphed into a goal in and of itself. In other words, the romantic ambition of fame begins to inform passion – not good. This romanticizing can lead people to focus more on getting attention than learning and growing their individual skills. When deciding how to build our lives and our personal growth plans, we need to make sure we are deciding based on facts, and not some romanticized version of reality.

Serendipity Baby!

Posted in Educational Leadership, Leadership, Listening, Serendipity by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 31, 2020

When conditions are right for it, great things happen. Serendipity is said to happen by chance, but I believe we must create the opportunities for these occurrences to happen.

Yesterday, the perfect opportunity for serendipity occurred as we were setting up for our Impact Georgia teacher professional development. We had two big screens on either side of the stage and a screen on the stage in the middle that was not going to work, but could not be taken down. There was a group of four of us looking at the stage. I said, “Do we have any good looking banners we could drape over it?” Everyone thought and we couldn’t think of any. Then a couple of other ideas were thrown out. Both good options. But, a fourth option then came in the form of a question: “could one of the stage curtains be positioned to just cover the middle part of the stage leaving the side screens visible?” We went to work and found the answer to be “yes!” Serendipity!

The solution was awesome. The front of the room looked great. A picture is attached to this post of the stage. Why did we get to a great solution, though? First of all our group was fully engaged with each other. Secondly, we were listening to all ideas. If we want everyone to voice more of their ideas, show that you care about all all their ideas; listen carefully, patiently, and respectfully to every idea. This creates a comfortable environment that has trust, rewards open discussion, and has everyone sharing their true thoughts.

Are you creating the opportunities that allow for serendipity?

Empowerment Needs No Menus!

Angelika & I

To empower means “to give somebody power or authority” and also “to give somebody a sense of confidence or self-esteem.” I believe we can change someone’s world every single day. I have something I love to do when going to a new restaurant for the first time. I’ll tell the server to not give me a menu, and pick the meal for me. To me, this is the ultimate act of empowerment and intent-based leadership. I first did this with my dear friend and leadership idol, David Marquet, when we went out to eat one evening.

Well, last night was the 142nd day of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic; and I was in a restaurant for the first time. We went to Riverstone Corner Bistro in Canton, Georgia, after setting up for our Impact Georgia teacher professional development happening today. So, to my table-guests surprise, told our server, Angelika, “I’m not going to look at the menu online (the way Riverstone limits contact) and I just want you to pick my entire meal for me.” At first she was a little taken back, but then we could tell she was beginning to have fun with this. She even came running back to the table and said, “I’ve got an idea and just want to know if you like lots of cheese.” I, of course, said “Yes” and away she went.

Here’s the deal: Angelika did a perfect job of showcasing the great food of Riverstone Corner Bistro and her abilities as a sever to meet the needs of her customers. She showcased a menu great and favorite if her own – Scallops Risotto. She was beaming when she brought it to the table and beamed even more when I said, “You could not have made a better pick.” It was awesome! And, as I told my table-mates, I probably would not have picked that, but because I empowered someone else, her life was brightened and I got an even better meal.

To empower someone, you have to help them feel proud of the good things they do. This is truly the essence of empowerment. It was clear that Angelika was proud of the menu items she chose for me and of the restaurant where she works. I merely opened the the door and created space for creative thinking. This requires discipline and patience on a leaders part. It also means we take a little risk, but it is worth it. We can provide hints or prompts, like my giving in and acknowledging I like cheese, but allowing those we serve to discover the answer will empower them in future situations.

“Getting It Right” Before “Being Right”

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 8.33.08 PM“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 KJV). A good daily growth exercise to read a chapter of Proverbs every day each month. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from King Solomon. The difference between “getting it right” and “being right” with this statement, is not to suggest that we are more often than not wrong in our thinking. Despite the religious origin, people use this nowadays without religious overtones. People can say this simply as a warning not to be too arrogant.

To me “getting it right” before “being right” means having humility and an ability to consider all sides of an issue or question. Being humble does not mean that you diminish your value or take a subordinate position in terms of presenting your ideas or perceptions. It does, however, as a leader, mean than we should listen to others’ ideas before always presenting our own. And acknowledging when those ideas are better than our own. True humility is a sign of wisdom, knowledge, confidence, and strength.

“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

“Getting it right” is a core value I practice to remind myself that making a contribution as part of a bigger team means that you have the humility to accept that others also have something worthwhile to contribute. I truly believe there is no such thing as an “expert.” But, I do talk about the “collective expertise” in the room all the time. We should all strive to be an important part of a “collective vision.” When we give up the need to always be right, we communicate and listen on a deeper level, with more understanding and acceptance, and with less judgment and resistance.

“I Get To Go Be Creative”

Today I was in Nashville, Tennessee doing what I love to do: work with teachers. We were putting on Impact Nashville; an action packed day of professional development. While I was working to inspire teachers and help them improve their craft and the craft I love, I was inspired by the photographer who was chronicling the day. As I was welcoming the participants and handing out name badges this morning I dubbed her “girl with the camera (GWC).” She really does have a name: Lisa.

I love watching great photographers as they move about working for the best shot. Probably because I’m not very talented at taking pictures. I usually need to have someone take a selfie of me. I could tell she loved her craft from watching her. During one of my sessions I was driving home the point that we must teach in a way that has our students believing they “get to” to experience great educational activities, not “have to.”

So, of course, I included GWC Lisa in the discussion. I asked her what she said to herself as she was leaving home this morning to come to our event. She said, “I get to go be creative.” I couldn’t have scripted better – which I had not. How awesome was that response? We should all strive to create environments where we, and those we serve, “get to” and not “have to.”

I was using the game Angry Birds as a through line for my professional development. The point was using eight principles used by Rovio in the development of Angry Birds that has caused the game to become a phenomenon that people love to spend time playing and seek to improve their skills. In fact, I always say, “Everything you need to know about teaching you can learn from Angry Birds.” Here are the eight principles:

  1. Make it easy to start the task.
  2. Show, don’t tell.
  3. Give useful and immediate feedback.
  4. Make it easy to recover from feedback.
  5. Complicate the task gradually.
  6. Accessibility/Mobility: how could we leverage the cell phone for our students?
  7. No single answer: players explore and try different techniques. We can experiment.
  8. Incentives to do better: leader boards, achievement badges, certifications, et cetera.

What are you doing to encourage a “get to” mindset in your organization. What would the world be like if we all could say “I get to go be creative” every morning?

What The H@#* Is A Team Player?

I almost always write a blog post on the Fourth of July. Today, however, I first thought that my topic had nothing to do with the day honoring our nation’s independence, but on further thought, I believe it does. I’ll let you be the judge after you read it.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me “he’s not a team player” or “she needs to learn teamwork.” These are very easy statements to make, but a lot harder to substantiate. Usually I even think the person making the statement understands less about teamwork than the person he or she is making the comment about. When I hear this, I always like to ask “What do you mean?” Most is the time the response I get reveals a very limited view of what it means to contribute to a team. Generally, the person making the statement wants the other person to fully concede to another way of thinking. And, if you’re paying attention, they will also use language like “reaching common ground,” as if we are looking for the best campsite.

Recently, I had a friend posit the reason individuals refer to others as non-team players is because it’s the easiest statement to put someone on the defensive. When thinking about the times I have been called out as not being a team player, it has put me on the defensive. When examining this subject in that light it really does reveal the ignorance of the other person’s understanding of team effectiveness, compromise, and consensus building.

If team effectiveness is the capacity of a group of individuals has to accomplish their own and their shared goals and objectives, then we must acknowledge the dichotomy that exists. Teams are made up of individuals and those individuals come with their own values, experience, and goals. That’s what made the melding together of the group that we call our nation’s founding fathers so powerful.

“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” ~ Patrick Henry

I’ve studied many former leaders extensively and the greatest of those leaders understood the difference between teamwork and marching orders. Teamwork should allow for diversity of thought and allow exposing the best of each individual. Again, as I said earlier, teamwork relies on style and strength differences of all individuals. Right now I am reading The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of The Senate by Robert A. Caro. In this study of power one sees that Johnson’s use of power and definition of teamwork is that of being loyal to him (Johnson). Real teamwork does not involve loyalty to a person or “marching orders.” These “marching orders” shut down new ideas and results in only doing the bare minimum.

Caro also laid out for his readers the fact that sometimes consensus can be reached by compromise and other times it absolutely cannot. In those times when it can’t, there must be a consensus built from scratch. In reality, many times compromise becomes a power struggle where some have to give up to accommodate others to get what they want. If this happens enough, it becomes a power struggle, not teamwork or consensus building.

Finally, the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 people. Those 56 people did not have the same views. We must remember that not any one of these could have successfully lead us through the revolution. It took a team!

Adaptive Leadership – Great Blue Heron Style

It’s a great morning when I can enjoy wildlife on the way to the barn. There was a Great Blue Heron out in one of our freshly mowed hay fields this morning. The background for this tall, majestic, and shaggy feathered bird this morning was a corn field (see the photo I took, featured in this post). At first I thought, “Wow that corn is really tall for the 3rd of July.” The old saying “knee high by the Fourth of July” is very outdated. As you can see from the picture, we are way past that. Think about it; if Blue Herons are 53-55 inches tall, the corn in the background is well past that. Ok, back to the point; it’s just hard for the farm kid not to talk corn.

Anyway, I have always been fascinated with these great creatures. They are amazing to watch, particularly when they are hunting rodents in a hay field. These great birds with long yellow legs can stand like statues for what seems like forever while stalking prey by site. And, when prey comes by, they don’t miss. I have blogged about these beautiful birds that have wing spans of over seven feet. Click here to read “Blue Heron Leadership.”

Now, as we begin day 115 of the the COVID-19 Pandemic, I think about how we have had to really practice adaptive leadership. Great Blue Herons can occupy a variety of habitats in freshwater and marine coastal ecosystems: lakes, ponds, rivers, flooded farmlands and meadows, irrigation ditches, and wetlands. Think about all these different habitats and the adapting that must be done. These birds are able to forage successfully on a variety of aquatic and dry land environments. They also have a very diverse and extensive menu of prey. Actually, an adaptation of the sixth cervical vertebrae allows the bird to draw it’s neck into the characteristic “S” shape and then strike with lightning speed and killing force.

Each day presents new or recurring leadership challenges. Therefore, we must learn from and draw on the wisdom of prior experiences while learning, in real time, lessons from today. In order to adaptive with the agility necessary, we must be situationally aware and asking the right questions, not just devising answers. During times like these the process of sound adaptive leadership can get lost. A preoccupation with events may lead to a short-term focus and a reactive posture. To truly adapt, we must take the long-view and adopt a broader perspective incorporating data, information, and knowledge. This will allow for the cultivation of wisdom.

Wisdom can only be gained though experience. Wisdom is about understanding and being able to adapt. Understanding is fluid. Wisdom is knowledge that is not seen as being applied rigidly to one thing. By adapting, we understand knowledge’s essence and can see how it relates to everything else, with nuances and contradictions included. Wisdom inspires adaptable versatility and provides textured lenses for dealing with reality.

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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