Focus on the Process
As we find ourselves at the end of June it is time for the men's college world series. As this year's college world series has unfolded there have been many moments of suspense, excitement, and disappointment. There have also been moments of inspiration and even affirmation in leadership principles but you have to really be paying attention to catch them. One such moment for me came during the elimination game between TCU and Coastal Carolina.
During this game there was an interview with the head baseball coach for Arizona Jay Johnson. As a former athletic trainer there was not many discussion points that Coach Johnson said that I have not heard other outstanding coaches state in the past but he did say something that really resonated with me. During the interview one of the broadcast announcers asked Coach Johnson what he thought he did that created the buy in needed for Arizona to make it to the college world series. This question was asked because this year is Coach Johnson's first year at Arizona. Coach Johnson discussed many excellent points but what stood out to me was his statement of instead of focusing on goals he really emphasized focusing on the process and the day to day improvement.
The key is to focus on the day to day.
When you focus on the process and the daily improvement goal outcomes take care of themselves. This way of thinking is not new. As a matter of fact you can google focus on the process and you will find 421,000,000+ results in 0.42 seconds. So why am I sharing this you ask? Well, hearing Coach Johnson discuss the impact that focusing on daily improvement and the process affirmed what I feel to be the key to success in achieving success. When you focus on the day to day, taking care of business, working toward your goal by making positive steps toward the desired outcome the more likely you are to achieve that outcome.
Sometimes we do not need to hear something that is earth shattering or revolutionary to remind us of what needs to happen. Sometimes we need to hear what we know to be true from someone that has experienced success by practicing the same principles and beliefs that we believe as well. I do not know how the 2016 Men's College World Series will end up. As of this blog post I do not know if Arizona will be playing TCU or Coastal Carolina but I do know that Coach Johnson and his Arizona Wildcat baseball team will do what they did to make it to the finals of the CWS. I also know that the Wildcats are going to focus on the everyday work, each at-bat, each defensive play, each pitch and do what they know they need to do to be successful. When you focus on what you can control and you strive for success the outcomes usually take care of itself.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me to have a discussion.
What will you do this summer?
Many people think that summer time is a quiet and slow time for school administrators. In fact the summer months are often the most important time of the year for administrators. Why you ask? It it because during the summer months that school administrators should be taking the time to reflect upon the prior year, work on growth plans for the coming school year and tend to their own professional learning needs.
After ending the year in a flurry of activities, celebrations, exams, emails, and ceremonies it is really easy to want to take the month of June "off" even if you are still on contract. I would argue that taking this month "off" would be detrimental to the planning process. Taking time to reflect upon what went well as well as not so well over the previous school year helps to place the focus in two areas. The first area of focus is to examine the strengths of the year. What went well and why did it go well?
Take the processes that were utilized in the areas of success and apply them in areas that you feel could have been better. The second area of focus involves looking at what could have gone better, why it didn't go as well as planned and what needs to be changed. Remember to look at the processes from the areas of strengths and see what can be applied to growth areas.
When developing campus plans be sure not to include every single item that you want to do in the coming school year. Focus on the areas of growth. Write your goals so that you must work to achieve the goal and be sure to keep student learning at the forefront of your plans.
Summer time is also when most campus administrators tend to their own professional learning. Often this comes in the form of attending conferences and reading a new book or two. For me the question is what are you going to do with all of your new knowledge and inspiration you gained during your investment in your own learning? How will you take what you learned and implement the needed changes in a positive and supportive manner for your teaching staff?
As you continue to work your way though the summer months what will you focus on? How will you keep student learning at the forefront of the decisions that you make? What will you do that is different from what has been done in the past with the expectation of improving the teaching and learning on your campus?
Take advantage of the time you have in the summer months. Use the time wisely because it will go quickly.
A lifelong learner that is committed to asking questions to seek greater understandings.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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