Changing student schedules midyear needn’t be overwhelming, when you create a Community of Practice.

Change Student Schedules Midyear? A 6-Step Process for Tough Initiatives

As a school leader, you constantly have to make really tough decisions, especially in the last few years! And what can be more nerve-wracking for school principals and leaders than trying to change student schedules midyear? A few things, but not many! Yet that thought had been percolating in my mind for months. I wasn’t thinking about a student dropping a course or changing classes. I wanted to effect a school-wide change to the student schedule.

I was a principal at the time, and I had been thinking about student schedules for some time. In October, it burst into my mind and I had to do something big, something that I wasn’t sure the other school members would get behind. I was afraid they’d think I was off my rocker. I knew some would say my idea was impossible. But I knew it was possible and I knew we could make it work.

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In Social Learning Spaces, all team members take turns creating fun, effective meeting agendas that spark amazing creativity and eagerness to attend.

Can Effective Meeting Agendas Be Fun? Yes, Through Shared Responsibility!

A cute toddler waddled into the room where the business meeting was being called to order. If you were at this meeting how would you have reacted? Shocked? Appalled? Intrigued? Amused? You may not think a toddler could contribute toward a team having more effective meeting agendas, but it actually did. You’ll find out how, later on in this article.

If you’re used to stuffy, boring meetings in a rigid boardroom structure, you might not think there’s any other way to conduct effective team meetings. As a result, your meeting agendas have probably been a little on the dull side…cover point 1, move to point 2, until everything has been hashed out. 

What I love about Communities of Practice (CoPs) is that they spark enthusiasm, innovation, and engagement because they function as a collective; the focus on Community is intentional. Therefore the meeting agendas are handled in a way that may seem foreign to you at first. But they are fun and highly effective.  In the following video, I share why fun is so important in the business setting.

Agendas, Productive Team Meetings

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When you focus on building community in the workplace or your organization, you create cohesive, highly productive teams that support and elevate each others’ efforts.

No Sense of Belonging? Focus on Building Community in the Workplace

There’s a huge chasm between being assigned to work together as a team and having a sense of belonging that comes from building Community in the workplace. Case in point, there was a team I had been hired to coach and right away I noticed there were a few team members that felt it was enough to show up, compare  notes, and call it good. Sound familiar? 

Together we began building a Community of Practice for this team — a group of people who share a common concern and are committed to working together. Even the team members who initially were hesitant about leaving the sidelines began to see that they had been vastly missing out and, in essence, robbing themselves and their coworkers of something extremely valuable — Community!

Even if your job seems mundane, your attitude and behavior at work determines, in part, how physically and emotionally healthy you are. It’s possible to do nitty gritty work and still have a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and belonging that elevates WORK to COMMUNITY. Let’s see how that happens.

Team Leadership Skills

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Community collaboration is one of our best problem-solving tools personally and professionally.

Community Collaboration — 3 Ways to Use This Problem-Solving Tool Effectively

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

How many teams do you belong to? I venture to say many more than you realize!  In the broadest sense, when we interact and collaborate with one other person, we are part of a team. Therefore, as family members, as coworkers, as best friends, in neighborhood or community settings or in our involvement with various organizations, we form teams that need community collaboration to flourish. 

In life and business, if we want to accomplish the most good and avoid the worst frustration, we need to develop a team collaboration mindset. Too often, people approach their work with others through adversarial eyes that are clouded by jealousy, competition, and self-promotion. This is not surprising, since these characteristics have been fostered by the hierarchical managerial models of yesteryear. And for some, the thinking remains that if you want to get ahead you have to look out for Number 1, yourself. 

As a society, we’re being challenged like no other time in recent history. If you’re feeling frustrated, isolated, or helpless to affect real change, I urge you to embrace the power of community collaboration! It’s one of our most potent problem-solving power tools. 

Here are three ways you can learn to value a community collaboration mindset:

Community Mindset

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Make Team Members Feel Heard — 5 Ways to Let Them Set Their Terms

Louise J. Santiago shares 5 ways a team leader can help make team members feel heard by helping them create team social agreements.“He acted like he heard me but really he completely ignored me.” My client was very frustrated when she recounted a recent experience at a meeting. Theoretically, everyone was on the same page, with each person doing their part to make team members feel heard, yet the reality was one strong-willed person was dominating.

My client was initially excited about this meeting. She was thrilled to be invited to work with this team that had been chosen to collaborate on a plan to increase their organization’s commitment to equity. But she went on to relate, “My ideas were met with, ‘Oh, that’s great, and we can also do this.’ And then he went on to outline the complete opposite of what I was trying to say. It was like I wasn’t even there! I don’t know if I want to be on this team anymore.”

Sadly, this meeting on equity was anything but equitable! It was yet another meeting that got derailed by someone who wants to promote their one way of doing things. I could totally relate, I think we all can. No one likes to be ignored, discounted, misunderstood, or forced to act against their will. Yet, it happens all the time. 

As a team leader or team member, could your leadership inadvertently be causing your team to feel this way? How can you make each team member feel heard and valued within the structure of your organization? Better yet, how can you really hear, and recognize, each member of your team?

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Louise J Santiago, PhD
Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant

Where Leadership is Intentional Work

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