“Success is nothing more than a few routines practiced daily.” – Jim Rohn

It sounds so simple. But simple isn’t easy. If it were that easy, then everyone would have a school of excellence! So, what’s the caveat? It’s a few simple routines practiced daily. As leaders, more than anything, we need the discipline to stick to the routines that we know are aligned with our goal. “All people must endure pain – either the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret.”

More often than not, we are experiencing the pain of regret.

  • Another teacher leaving the school
  • Empty slots
  • A crazed schedule with no time to breathe
  • Neglecting self care
  • Frustrated at our partners when we come home because of a hard day at work
  • Gossip in the environment
  • Teachers who aren’t intentionally playing with the children

It seems very simple but it’s not that easy to stick to and execute on.

If two runners set goals, one to run a 10K race and the other to run a marathon, the routines they each follow to accomplish these goals are going to look vastly different. They are on a different mission!

So as a school leader, what are your goals? Ahh, that brings us to the question I get asked the most!

What should I be focusing on?

The reason so many leaders ask this question is because they fail to do something that all elite performers do. As my mentor, Todd Herman, who coaches pro and Olympic athletes, says, Look at the game film.

All singers, actors, and players look at their previous performances to take notes on how to improve their next game, show or performance. As school leaders we have to do the same thing. But what is the school leader’s game film?

The actions and conversations that are showing up in your day:

  • Morning arrival
  • In the break room or teacher lounge
  • Conversation in the hallways
  • The emails you are getting
  • The slots that are empty
  • The reviews you are getting
  • The tone of voice teachers are using with the kids

This is the data! It’s your game film. All of this information is telling you the current field that you are on, and the state of your culture and your leadership right now.

  • Getting lots of complaining emails?

  • Got empty slots?

  • Teachers stopping you every minute in the hallways?

  • Not seeing progressive ideas coming through?

  • Teachers calling in sick or arriving late?

  • Newsletter or lesson plans coming in late (or only after you chase them)?

  • Teachers not setting goals that are inspiring?
  • Teachers who hate change and resist innovation?
  • Taking work home everyday?
  • Staying late this week to get stuff done?
  • Overwhelmed?
  • Not feeling confident with your performance?

This is all game film. But, NO JUDGMENT! This is where you are right now. So based on where you are at now, let’s look at what we want the horizon to look like

Your activity now needs to FEED your future self…

Not your current self.

  • What does future_________ [school leader] want to see in my teachers’ room?
  • What does future _________ [school leader] want to hear in the hallways?
  • What do I want to see at morning arrival?
  • What do I want to see in the classrooms and on the tables?
  • What do I not want to happen during outdoor time and meal time?

This is just scratching the surface of the kind of quality questions and assessments you want to be running and reviewing every 90 days.

So let’s break this down even further.

If your goal is:

  • I want to walk through the hallways without being stopped 10 times
  • I want to make it to my office without having 10 requests from teachers
  • I want to sit through writing an email to a parents without my door being knocked on 5 times about problems that the staff and admin team can really solve by themselves

Great – now we know your goal. And this is where most leaders stop. I picked my goal. And then they get frustrated that it isn’t happening. They don’t follow up with the next step: What is the activity that will get you there? 

Let’s start small, with one activity that you can start to embrace as a new routine:

STEP 1 – Close your door for 20 minutes a day with a sign that says: “I’m building a school of excellence, come back in 20 minutes.”

STEP 2 – Send an email to your team that tells them this is your new routine so that you can continue to help and support them be the best teachers of excellence.

That’s it. ONLY DO THAT. And commit to doing it for 5 days. As leaders, there are hundreds of things that you can fill your day with. Heck, you can spend all day just standing in the hallway and you will be busy the entire time! There will always be someone wanting to talk to you or wanting something from you… The successful, high-performing leaders are the ones who look at the game film, set goals and projects, and choose routines that all line up with it. Once you learn how to do this for yourself, then you can teach your staff how to do it as well. And then they can teach and model this to the parents and the kids. And that is how you create a ripple effect in your school. Remember: the change always starts with YOU!

If you want my top 10 questions that will help you decide which routines and habits to embrace as a school leader… Then download my free gift right here. http://bit.ly/10questionspdf Take some time to thoughtfully answer these questions. It will give you incredible insight into the current field your school is playing on. Get your free gift here http://bit.ly/10questionspdf  and start building your school of excellence.