Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Second New Year

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."
 -Abraham Lincoln

January 1st brings about a unique opportunity for school leaders that often goes unnoticed.  School leaders actually have the benefit of celebrating two "New Years".  The initial New Year arrives on the first day that the staff assembles in the summer before students start back.  Everyone is excited about the possibilities that the new school year can bring.  Time is spent analyzing data, discussing new initiatives, and spending time in professional development opportunities.  The second New Year begins today (or whenever you return to school in January).  Each day this week I will write about how school leaders can make the most of their second “New Year” 

I am quite certain that the beginning part of your year has not been perfect.  I believe that failure is a great teacher and the lessons learned in failure are invaluable.  Failure has been a big part of the beginning of the school year for me.  Most of this failure is the result of spending far too much time "Managing the Present" instead of the work that I love which revolves around "Creating the Future".  This type of failure can be seen in an iPad2 administrator pilot, in various coaching roles, and even in a lack of writing (Full Disclosure: Last Post from me was on August 22nd).  

This type of failure is directly related to allowing my days to run away with me. I am quite sure that the business of "Managing the Present" has resulted in some of your meaningful work yielding less than stellar results.  Here are a few of the things that I am planning to do to make the most of the New Year, take back my day and create the future our students desperately need.

  • Focus – Other people will typically have other plans for your day.  You could spend every day extremely busy without ever planning a thing.  Someone who needs something sometime always show up at your door sometime throughout the day.  That’s why my “Creating the Future” projects will be in front of me at all times.  I begin my day with my project list and the tasks that are assigned.  This is very different from a traditional "to do list". It is much more of a map that will get you to your desired outcome.  
  • Short Term Goals - Many of these initiatives get lost in the fact that the timelines are so far off or there is no timeline at all.  What can you do this week that will make a difference in your project or initiative?
  • Reflection - I end my day the same way it starts.  I focus on the project list/map and the progress that has been made.  This allows me the opportunity to get a jumpstart on tomorrow's "Creating the Future" work. 

The beauty of a 2nd new year is the opportunity to refocus the majority of my energy on "Creating the Future".   How will you begin to make the most of your 2nd new year?  

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