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Showing posts from 2010

School Week! What Makes a Teacher Great?!

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This week, students return to school across America where much energy and effort is focused on improving public schools and student performance. Despite recent significant financial awards aimed at these ends, my guess is educational transformation starts with parents, and then teachers. Teachers appear to be the more controllable variable in this equation. To help parents and students determine whether this year's pedagogues show promise, I decided to reflect and investigate to share traits making teachers great. Peter Senge, in his Book “The Fifth Discipline” states the key trait distinguishing thriving people and organizations is their ability to learn from their experiences. Creating possibility requires learning from our experiences, rather than being defined and immobilized by them. A great teacher creates this possibility. Thanksgiving week during my senior year in high school was a pivotal week in my life. My mom was buried the Friday before. She died late that Tu

Was it a Sign?!

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20 years ago this week Linda and I were married. A dubious omen followed. I lost my wedding ring on our honeymoon. We walked to a secluded beach, spread our blanket, and enjoyed each others' company. It was sunny and hot. The ocean was crystal clear, cool, and inviting. The ring fit loose on my finger. I was afraid it might slip off during a swim. It went into my shorts' pocket. It was wrapped and placed safely on the blanket. Not accustomed to wearing my wedding ring, I forgot about it until we reached the parking lot, about a half mile from where we spent these relaxing few hours. We walked back along the low tide line. Soon after, the ocean covered our trail. My heart dropped. My fingers felt no ring in my pocket. My hands rifled through my other pockets. Nothing. Linda looked at me with concern. I was flustered and irate with myself. She was an angel, and is still. She said: "Don't worry, our jeweler can make a duplicate". I was deplete

Slow and Steady Wins the Race?

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It was beautiful Sunday morning in New England. At six am, Milo woke me for his walk. We then headed east on route 6 towards Cape Cod to get the newspaper. Returning on the same route moments later, a woman was standing in the middle of the road, staring at a huge lump in my lane. From my distance, I guessed it was a large dog, fox, or worse, a person. My sense was it was still alive and this is what moved the woman from her car. I stopped, pressed on the emergency lights, and rolled down my window. She approached my car and asked me to help. She was frazzled and on her way to work when she saw the lump. I approached and was amazed. At first, I thought it was a young sea turtle. Every year, my family and I wait in moonlight on Melbourne Beach, Florida shores to watch 1500 pound Leather-back, Green, and Loggerhead turtles propel themselves with their flippers, and coded DNA, up the beach to dig massive holes to lay over 120 eggs. They cover the holes and lunge back to s

Priests and Goldman Sachs and Enrons (McKinseys & Arthur Andersens).....Oh my!

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Survivors: This is to benefit victims and survivors; those who are suffering at the hands of organizational members; be they priests, traders, consultants, or accountants, whose deceptive behaviors and incompetent leaders - like fish stinking from their heads, fostered abuse and deceit, self serving protection and power, greed, and quick or disturbed gains over ethical, good, and honest decisions. Successful survivors follow Four Steps to overcome abuse and fraud. 1. Successful survivors reveal the truth to trained professionals. They share all their related secrets and shed light on the perpetration. Victims often falsely believe the abusive and deleterious behaviors committed against them are somehow their fault. This relates to people who are molested and to people who are duped by phony, and contrived, investment vehicles. Blame always belongs to the instigator / perpetrator. The only way to melt erroneous compartments and their related power and control dynamics is

Catch People Doing Something Right

Did you ever have a boss who only made her presence felt when something went wrong? Seeing her walk towards me down the aisle made me think to myself, with dread: "damn, what did I do now?" If a person is only told his faults, he has to learn twice; once to unlearn the wrong thing and once to learn the right way. As a coach, leader, or manager, it's constructive, and productive, to have a positive association with your people. Imagine if every time I saw this manager I thought to myself, "wow, I wonder what I did right?!" Brown's Professor Barrett Hazeltine practiced this with passion. If someone shared something insightful in class, he'd race across the auditorium and shake the student's hand, stating: "that's really good", or "wow, you're really smart", in a caring and sincere manner. The student beamed. In my professional career, associate Joe McCarthy was adept at telling people the specific, wonderful, pieces o