Archive for Lessons

Strengths Theory

Today we’re focusing on the Strengths Finder book and learning how to apply this in our lives.  Here’s an interesting thought about applying strengths in teams (from Go Put Your Strengths to Work).

Myth: A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team.
Truth: A good team member deliberately volunteers his  strengths to the team most of the time.
A great team member is not well rounded. The great team is well rounded, precisely because each great team member is not.

The concept of Flow is fascinating. Read Flow and Finding Flow.

“Flow” a theory of optimal experience – the state in which a person is so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it. (Csikszentmihalyi, Flow, 1990, p. 4).

Some of you reading my blog(s) wonder why I get so much done. I’ve written about that before, but I think this is another piece of it. I’m blessed in that I am working where I can function within my strengths most of them.

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Why I Blog: Collecting Knowledge

I just finished the Strengths Finder survey, required reading for Leadership Orientation next week.  Some of the top strengths didn’t surprise me, but Input did. Here’s the short description of this strength:

People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

This explains my drive to blog! My work blog is a way to collect information in one place, to archive ideas, thoughts and answers to common questions. It’s also why I really want other people in the K12 videoconferencing world to be blogging. All those great ideas, experiences, projects and lesson ideas need to be shared! We shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel! We can learn so much from each other!

This also explains why I hate it when web pages disappear. I jump on over to Archive.org to find them and link to them again.  Knowledge lost is a travesty! Even if it’s “old” knowledge in web years, it’s still good thinking! This applies mainly to articles I use in my online classes, and to collaborative videoconference  project ideas.

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Swarm Theory: Learning from Nature’s Collective Intelligences

Last evening my husband encouraged me to read The Genius of Swarms in the latest National Geographic Magazine. The article explains what scientists are learning about collective behavior and how that knowledge can be used to solve human problems. It’s a fascinating article for anyone interested in leadership.

For example, Thomas Seeley, a biologist at Cornell University, looked at how bees determine a new nest site. Scout bees fly out to potential nest sites, and then return to “tell” (dance) the other bees why their site is better. Soon more bees were at the best nest site than the others. The scout bees returned to tell the rest of the hive and they all moved to the best site.

The bees’ rules for decision-making—seek a diversity of options, encourage a free competition among ideas, and use an effective mechanism to narrow choices—so impressed Seeley that he now uses them at Cornell as chairman of his department.

“I’ve applied what I’ve learned from the bees to run faculty meetings,” he says. To avoid going into a meeting with his mind made up, hearing only what he wants to hear, and pressuring people to conform, Seeley asks his group to identify all the possibilities, kick their ideas around for a while, then vote by secret ballot. “It’s exactly what the swarm bees do, which gives a group time to let the best ideas emerge and win. People are usually quite amenable to that.” 

There are several other interesting examples and applications to human organizations in the article. Check it out for yourself and/or view the accompanying photos here.

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Growth Planning

growing plantsThis morning I read Albert Reyes‘ post about Growth Planning. Albert is in the AU Leadership program and so I’ve been reading his blog with interest to see what I will be learning in the program.

Since the usage of videoconferencing is growing almost unmanageably in my service area, and TWICE also is growing, I look forward to learning more about planning for managable and effective growth. Point I gained from Albert’s post today are:

  • Examining and mapping out the needs
  • Noting the resources and people to support growth
  • Using this information to decide where best to invest time, energy, and resources

I look forward to learning more so that I too can plan for effective growth in my work.

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The Simple Truths of Service

Watch this Simple Truth of Service. How will you serve today?

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Learn, Teach, Lead

Here’s an idea from Roxanne Glaser that I want to remember! Yesterday we were working on the materials for the 123 VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum with VC workshop coming up this summer. We were using GoogleDocs to collaborate on agendas & notes for an upcoming meeting. Roxanne is always teaching me things about learning theory, group process and more.

Yesterday it was – first you use a tool and learn it yourself, then you teach it, then you use it in leadership.

Something to ponder for sure. What tools are you using that you will use in leadership?

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Trust the Expertise Around You

Today I learned a really important leadership lesson. Trust the expertise around you.

I’m going to try to be careful not to give too many details about experiences here, but here’s a general summary. On a particular project, I was too scared of what I couldn’t control to let another person suggest a different way. So I spent the last 8 months suffering through this project not going very well. This time when the suggestion came up again, I realized the wisdom of it. I wished that way back when, I had listened and taken the time to find out which way was really the better choice. That I had trusted the expertise around me.

To trust the expertise around you, you have to realize it’s there. It takes time to know people. To stop and think about who might be able to help. To not be in such a hurry to follow a great idea that there’s no room for others’ wisdom.

It’s a lesson I want to remember. So I’m writing it down here. Stay tuned for more!

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