Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Habit #5 is Influence

Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.—Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.—Tom Landry

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.—Ken Blanchard

Leadership is about influence, not power. Highly-effective leaders know how to tap into the hearts and minds of their followers. If you stand and look over the shoulders of those you supervise, you’ll never get people who care about their jobs. We do not preach the old “carrot and stick” approach to influence. Rather, we will teach you how to get intrinsic, true, inner motivation.

 According to the old-school organizational cliché, what gets rewarded gets done. So, many organizations offer rewards such as profit-sharing, bonuses, employee of the month programs, prizes, and special parking spaces to influence employees. These are classic examples of extrinsic or token rewards. Extrinsic rewards can significantly lower intrinsic motivation and can create reliance upon the rewards. In situations that are already intrinsically rewarding, the addition of extrinsic rewards may reduce the effectiveness of the intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards are effective in teaching a rat to run a maze, but are not effective in influencing staff performance.

Rewards fail to make deep lasting changes because they are aimed at affecting only what people do and not at what they think and feel. If employers want to do nothing more than induce compliance in employees, then rewards may be a valid practice. If employers want staff members to be self-disciplined, self-motivated workers, then rewards are worse than useless; they are counterproductive.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Science of Oobleck

Every week, Madison (my 11-year old daughter) and I teach a 1.5-hour afterschool science club for K-2nd graders.  Each week she helps plan the lesson and then write the blog about what we did. 

We have provided links to the books we used.  We learned a lot of the science experiments and activities from Steve Spangler (awesome speaker and science guy extraordinaire).  We have included links to his science supplies, experiments, and videos. These links take you away from the blog and to external websites.

Science of Oobleck

Science Standards Addressed:
  • Identify and compare properties of pure substances and mixtures. 
  • Know that changes to matter may be chemical or physical and when two or more substances are combined, a new substance may be formed with properties that are different from those of the original substances.
  • Describe properties of materials in different states – solid, liquid, and gas. 
Plus we snuck in some speaking and listening standards like asking questions, expressing ideas, following multi-step directions, and participating in discussions.

As the children arrived we played the songs Green River, by Credence Clearwater Revival; and Stuck on You, by Elvis Presley. Green, sticky hints about the theme of the day!

Next we had a green snack that once again was a hint of the science to follow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Systems Thinking and Cutting Quality

In tough economic times, non profits struggle to survive. Leaders often consider cutting quality during these times. But this ignores the systems involved. In the long term cutting quality hurts non-profit organizations. We use the classic illusion of the Magic Arcs as a metaphor to describe the counterproductive reasoning in which afterschool leaders decide to cut quality out as a response to falling profits or budget surpluses. This is an excerpt from our workshop - Learning to Lead: Leading to Learn based on our book available Summer 2011.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swimmy Noodle Games

We don't just use our noodles in the pool, we use them for team-building games!

99 Red Balloons Each person in the team blows up and ties off a balloon (red if you plan on playing the song).  On “GO” the challenge is for the team to work together to keep all of the balloons up in the air using only their noodles.  You can add in a balloon or more as an added challenge.

Monday, July 4, 2011

8 Habits of Highly Effective Afterschool Leaders

Habit #4 has 4 Parts: Knowledge, Information, Power, and Control; "the way things are done around here."

Habit #4 is all about organizational cultures – it is all about “how things are done around here.” Our organization was built on a leadership philosophy that many refer to as a “learning organization.” 
This is our organizational chart. The foundation - the BOSS - are the values, mission, and vision. The people normally depicted at the top of the human pyramid are considered support staff for the "power staff"  - those who interact with the children, families, and schools. A learning organization is a non-hierarchical organization where all stakeholders are involved in deciding how the organization will conduct itself. 
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