I learned a lesson this week about making hasty choices. I’m in a book club – it has nothing to do with pupil transportation or the law, and I just love it. The club has met, since before I joined, at a local large book store that is quite close to my home. The members come from surrounding towns, and some of them have had to travel quite a distance for many years to come to our once-a-month meeting. Recently, one of our members suggested having a trial meeting at a new library branch that is quite a bit more convenient for these more northern ladies, while still fairly convenient for those of us who live closer to the book store. We all understood that the purpose of the trial was a possible move. After a most enjoyable meeting there this week, we planned a vote on the three choices now available to us: to switch to the library, to stay at the bookstore, or to have meetings at the library for 6 months, followed by meetings at the bookstore. Read the rest of this entry
One of the workshop sessions I particularly enjoy teaching is a class for new supervisors/directors. Usually attendees are eager and even anxious to learn the “tips of the trade.” There are always some “veterans” attendees who are there to be reminded of why they do what they do. Then there is the occasional “wily” veteran who is really there to “catch” the presenter in a contradiction or error.
Early in a recent session we talked about choosing your battles. That is, an effective manager can’t do everything at once, or certainly can’t do it effectively. In fact, if the manager has his/her proverbial finger in every pie it can really hurt the operation. It negatively impacts morale, staff development, and overall performance. Read the rest of this entry
The district is considering contracting-out services, and your position is on the line. You have data – both hard and soft – demonstrating the negative side of such a move. But wouldn’t presentation of your case just be an obvious attempt to look out for yourself?
There’s more talk about budget cuts, and the need to combine positions. Personnel will, inevitably be, on the chopping block. This is the time to sing your own praises – and, in fact, you’re more versatile and adaptable than others in the department. Although your self-interest meshes with the company’s interests, won’t you just look like an opportunist if you speak up?
Many of us engage in a year-round search for balance between wanting to be anonymous and wanting to be noticed, wanting to give and hoping to receive, wanting to appear humble and needing to represent your strengths in a forthright manner. This drive for reconciliation of opposing emotions was at the foundation of my obsession yesterday about an article sent to me by my co-consultant with Education Compliance Group, good friend, and most respected HR professional Mark Hinson. His cover email stated “Interesting article making the case for sexual harassment training in person.” Mark had recognized an opportunity for us to publicize the valuable training and consultation services we offer via Education Compliance Group on employee-employee sexual harassment.
The December 9, 2013 article, by a respected consultant/ trainer in Mark’s region strongly implies that recent court opinions on a particular workplace sexual harassment case had blasted the use of a training video, shown to both employees and management alike, which provided “no opportunity for interactive dialog with a professional trainer.” In fact, the case that triggered the article is nearly two years old. While inferences could be drawn about the courts’ preferences for in-person training, the judicial opinions involved were far more vague about the necessity for specific training methods.
The article’s author knew a good publicity angle when she saw it. I found it somewhat self-serving, but was – and am – absolutely ready to get on the bandwagon with a Legal Routes article about the value of our in-services about employee-to-employee sexual harassment. You see, I have the guts to self-serve if it’s in my readers’ and colleagues’ best interests. I’ll segue into discussion about my initial forays into using Skype and other methods to provide cost-effective front-row, interactive training to school transporters without my ever having to get on a plane. I believe completely in the absolute benefits an entity can gain by having customized training programs with an instructor at the site who can help personnel understand what the issues mean to them. I soundly buy into in the comparative value of a “real” person, available to tailor training to the needs of a particular state, region, company, or district over a generic video product – let alone, one that may be stale or not directly relevant to the industry.
The question is not the value of the service available, but the motive of the person advocating use of the service. With mixed motives, should the potential to be seen as too obvious, too opportunistic water down my approach.
It’s a broader question, if you’ll follow me down the crossroads of my mind and tie these questions into the scenarios at the beginning of this blog. What if you have an idea that will benefit students but also show off your talents and strategies? What if you see the value of creation of a new position that you’re just the person to fill? Are you hesitant to advance your ideas – especially if you stand to gain from adoption? How do you feel about shameless self-promotion. . . .if it would be good for your organization and its mission?
Well, I’m going to push ahead with my article. I’m banking on Legal Routes subscribers focusing more on the points I’ll make about training concerns and less on the fact that I’m shamelessly marketing my company’s services. I think it comes down to this: If the people you serve will be better off because you spoke up, then speak up. What do you think?
Peggy and Pete are taking a break for Thanksgiving. We’ll be back with our usual (semi-)witty and sometimes provocative takes on life in mid-December. Please enjoy your time with friends and family and know that we both are thankful for your support, attention, and (in many cases) friendship.
We’ve all been there. We make a suggestion that we’re certain will make things better. Instead of being greeted with support or acceptance we’re met with waffling, or worse yet, resistance. Whether it’s stated or not, the message is clear – “Please move on to other issues.” Frequently it sounds something like this, “Thank you for your suggestion. We’ll take it under consideration. “
I recently attended an IEP meeting where I was invited to review a student’s progress towards transportation independence. This junior high student with special needs was to be learning “stranger danger” so that she would be able to travel to the neighborhood bus stop safely. Eventually, the goal was that she would be capable of getting to school as her non-disabled peers do. This student was very “high-functioning” and just needed to learn some safety habits. It would not have been unreasonable to expect her to not require special education transportation at all by her sophomore year in high school. Read the rest of this entry
I did it again. I said the words “If I can help. . .” without thinking through the implications. This time, I was offering to babysit a neighbor’s children. When I said it two weeks ago to a brand new acquaintance, she emailed me within days to ask if I could take her to a doctor’s appointment (I couldn’t, and I didn’t). I told a fellow member of a social organization to which I belong to “call me if you need anything,” despite the fact that I’m truly booked out through Thanksgiving. My frequent offers to help – well-intended though misguided – are symptomatic of my tendency to overcommit. I genuinely wish I could be “there” for everyone. Maybe it takes guts I’ve not yet developed to refrain from offering more than I can give. Read the rest of this entry
This is the third post in our series “The Guts of Leadership.”
General John Barry was the executive director for the investigation of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. He recently presented for NAPT’s Leading Every Day initiative. Among the many insights he offered about NASA’s mindset prior to the disaster was one which was particularly salient: “Asking for help is a measure of strength – not weakness. “ Read the rest of this entry
It may be telling that Pete often finds inspiration for blog posts in business articles and publications, and I’m often moved to write by something I read in less relevant sources. I don’t know what that “tells,” in fact, but I’m sure it reveals something about us as bloggers. Read the rest of this entry