Dan Pink shares his insight on sales and motivation in this video. He is rapidly becoming a tremendous influence on business strategy, specifically independent schools should benefit from this insight.

Pink speaks eloquently on the relationship between buyers and sellers, the ambivert and the human side of today’s sales techniques. Admissions offices across the globe will begin to benefit greatly from this “real life” human approach to sales.

I think I can say without hesitation and with complete confidence that we all want the best for our children. And that means we want them to be safe both physically and emotionally. While the topic of anonymity is not new, it has been taken to an entirely new level and parents should be prepared.

There is a new danger on the Internet. It seems like every week a new concept emerges and we are forced to think twice about how to properly safeguard our children. Formspring has definitely sprung and it is loaded for bear. It is a scary, vile vehicle that teens use to anonymously destroy their friends. Read this article and then come back to this blog and join the conversation. Rachel Simmons is the author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, a brilliant and sensitive book about raising girls with confidence. If you have not read it, please consider it.

I hope you can spend a few moments reading the article I linked above and learn more about Formspring. Below are a few thoughts to help you wrap your minds around the social lives our children are leading:

1) It is all too easy for children to attack one another socially in school. Why are we allowing it to become easier and now anonymously?

2) Every child enters school each day with the same great fear: embarrassment. Formspring ensures that each account owner will be embarrassed every day. I cannot think of anything worse for our children to endure each day. They have enough to worry about without the fear of being ridiculed anonymously by their peers.

3) Allowing children to send anonymous, hurtful messages condemns them to a world where they do not have to take responsibility for their own words. Through Formspring children can cowardly hide behind the computer screen and believe that their actions do not have consequences. As adults and educators, we know the opposite is true.

4) There have been too many teen suicides in the news recently to ignore it and believe that this is not a concern. As parents we need to educate our children about the damage that can be done by not choosing our words carefully or using them to hurt others.

Lastly, I love this quote regarding Formspring from the Simmons article above. “There is zero, and I mean zero, value in this website and no girl or boy should spend a minute on it. Formspring creates unnecessary emotional risks. It legitimizes cybercruelty and divorces kids from responsibility for their words. You can pretty much file Formspring along with wouldn’t-it-be-fun-to-stand-on the-railroad-tracks-and-jump-right-before-the-train-comes and I’m-sure-no-one-will-notice-if-I-just-pocket-this-one-mascara.”

Below is an informal video of Rachel Simmons informing us all of a few reasons why we should teach our children about the dangers of Formspring.

The clip below is thought provoking and inspirational. Is it possible to change the odds in life? Geoffrey Canada thinks so and I hope he is correct.

This past week I was fortunate to play a role in a most important event at my school. Harbor Country Day School hosted a screening of Race To Nowhere, the nationally acclaimed documentary about our Nation’s educational system and the dramatic effect it is having on our children. By now my most trustworthy readers know this topic well. If you are new to The Wheel and have not heard of Race To Nowhere yet, please click on any one of the many links to their website in this post or on my sidebar for more information.

While the movie was brilliant and certainly challenges us as champions of educational reform, as parents, as teachers, and as administrators, inspiration came from the panel discussion afterwards. We assembled an excellent group, to whom I am now indebted, that included heads of school, college admissions officers from the Harvard Graduate School and Stony Brook University, and an insightful and caring child psychologist. Each one spoke eloquently and directly at what should be some of our Nation’s highest priorities and what definitely are our parent’s deepest concerns. Both the panelists and the members of the audience spoke passionately about childhood depression, stress, the overscheduled child, homework, the “teaching to the test” teaching methodology, the college admissions process, the lack of 21st Century skills being taught in the public school and the way in which we as parents speak with our children. We did not set out to solve any issues, but we debated over the source of them. Did they begin with the college admissions process? Perhaps it all began with the bureaucratic school systems that are focused on funding as a result of test scores. We also examined our own family values and how the values of society seem to become more powerful the older our children become. Societal values eventually compete with our own family values in the household.

When I first saw Race To Nowhere, I felt helpless. I was determined that the goal of educational reform was too large, my Goliath. Desperate for a voice and challenged to find a suitable venue, we created a website dedicated to dynamic teaching, and gave voice to promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children. Harbor Currents is found on Harbor Country Day School’s website and is meant to be a warehouse of resources and an opportunity to speak. Ultimately, Harbor Currents should take off on the national spectrum. Ideally, it will be a collaborative effort with the added voices of guest bloggers. Have you written an article that would help further our mission? Do you have suggestions for websites, books or articles that I can link to the site as resources? I am searching for a collective voice to send our message. I believe that awareness is the first step and those bold enough will take the second step, which is one of action. Please join me and become one of the authors of Harbor Currents. You can email me at cpryor@hcdsny.org, if you would like to join the movement.

The power of blogging has changed how we think, how we seek out pertinent information, and how we communicate with the world. In all honesty, before I began blogging I didn’t communicate with the world — at all. Blogging for me was the gateway to the world of communication. Blogging introduced me to the world of social media: twitter, facebook, youtube, LinkedIn. I now use all four consistently to further and strengthen my message, connect with friends, network with colleagues and for professional development. I subscribe to several blogs of interest, follow brilliant people on twitter, and learn each day from all of them. If you glance at some of the websites of interest on the sidebar below, you will be introduced to some of the brilliant people I learn from on a regular basis. Social Media has become one of the greatest professional development and network tools of my career. I found that because of the people I follow on twitter and the blogs to which I subscribe, everything of great interest comes directly to me. I rarely have to search for anything. There is another important reason why I blog that far surpasses my desire to connect: my desire to think.

Seth Godin and Tom Peters explain the more cerebral reason to blog far better than I ever could. Watch the video below to learn a bit more about the real, more cerebral purpose of blogging.

After twenty years in the world of independent schools, I find myself breaking the shackles of the traditional and embracing the contemporary not only in curriculum, professional development, faculty evaluation and tuition pricing systems but in marketing as well. Gone are the days when a suburban independent school can rest on its laurels and depend upon a reputation built on several generations of academic excellence. Schools today must be innovative in order to consistently and effectively define their value proposition to the increasingly skeptical public. Branding and marketing become critical in order for a school to continue to further its mission and, let’s face it, fill the seats.

 

The most recent project Harbor Country Day School embraced was remarkable, and it needed to be remarkable. Pantanjali, often referred to as the father of Yoga and the author of The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, wrote, “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds.” This is what happened to us when we began discussing the opportunity to develop a T.V. commercial. While, at first, I was apprehensive, the more we discussed the potential exposure and the ability to bring the public into our school via their own living rooms, the project took off. After the initial shooting, we were so inspired to make the best commercial we could, we became more creative, more innovative and more engaged in the process of marketing our school.

The commercial project itself is not what I want you to take away from this blog post. I will ask you to look deeper. Look within. Sometimes we need to venture outside of our comfort zone, our box, to find inspiration and innovation. You will find that once you are outside of your comfort zone, taking responsible risks, attempting to innovate, you will become inspired on a whole new level. New ideas will become exciting and your feelings about how you question yourself and what others say about you tends to dissipate. Find inspiration in innovation. Your business and your sanity may just depend on it.

Thank you, Sharon Reed, who reminded me of the above quote by Pantanjali, and who further inspired me to write this post. You can follow her on twitter by clicking here: Sharon Reed. I follow her because she makes me think.

Graduate School teaches us about the many different styles of leadership: authoritative, participative and charismatic. These are but only a few styles of which we learn and practice often. It is concerning that between the many leadership classes we take in school and the numerous books we read on the subject of leadership that the most effective leadership style is rarely showcased: leading from the heart. Leading from the heart demands more courage, more participation and more outward confidence than any other leadership style. It is the most personal, the most powerful and the most introspective form as well. It demands presence in the moment. It demands self-worth. And it demands knowing oneself well enough that we are confident in ourselves. Perhaps that is why we so rarely discuss it, because it is so demanding and so, so personal. Much like traveling the rocky road of life all alone, we are more comfortable remaining within our comfort zone. Leaders have difficulty allowing others to see themselves in their entirety, because it is just so darn revealing. This is why we must lead from the heart.

Leading from the heart can be difficult. Although the heart is wise and, at times, can be tenacious, it is also shy and reluctant to be trusting. The heart is an introvert. The heart demands you know thyself. It asks you to be confident in yourself before you ask others to follow. So, how do we help the heart grow with confidence? The journey of knowing ourselves through the heart actually begins and ends with the heart itself. Ask yourself, “can you define your heart virtue?” Is it compassion, collaboration, integrity, knowledge, honesty or a combination of all of the above? Until we can aptly define our heart virtue, we will not be able to lead from the heart.

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, writes, “Comparing the three domains, I found that for jobs of all kinds, emotional competencies were twice as prevalent among distinguishing competencies as were technical skills and purely cognitive abilities combined. In general the higher a position in an organization, the more EI mattered: for individuals in leadership positions, 85 percent of their competencies were in the EI domain.”

Martin Luther King Jr. so aptly knew his heart virtues were compassion and equality and therefore he could lead from the heart with confidence. Siddhartha Gautama, the widely acknowledged founder of Buddhism, knew his heart virtue was enlightenment and was able to lead an entire, faithful community towards inner faith and their own personal enlightenment. They both initiated reformations in their own ways. Most leaders today will not need to lead a reformation. Accordingly, we need to help others to see themselves as agents of change and encourage positive forward momentum. If we look at both Martin Luther King Jr. and Siddhartha and analyze their commonalities, we see that one might be that they both listened to themselves. They listened to their heart and then they responded to the voice they heard from within. This is the difference between reaction and reflection.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you were forced to make a decision and your emotions were running rampant? Often we will make a reactive decision based on what we perceive to be the truths. If we force ourselves to reflect, to look within, the truths can often be revealed, and we can respond and lead accordingly. Trust me, I have only learned this lesson from making mistakes. As a Head of School, one of the many lessons I teach the students at Harbor Country Day School is that it is ok to make mistakes. It is acceptable to fail. It is only out of failure that we truly grow and mature. I remind our students that it takes courage and tenacity to bounce back after a pitfall. Who among us has not failed at least once?

When I am faced with a challenging situation, I force myself to look within, to listen to my heart and sit still for a while. Then, and only then, do I respond. Then I act with confidence and know I am leading from the heart.

I learned some of what has shaped my perspective on leadership from professional life coach, Lolly Daskal. She is a very wise and introspective woman who helps many learn about Leading From Within.

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