What’s in a Professional Association that is Valuable to you?

Some professional organizations help you cover your rear if something – legally gets sideways for you as an administrator. Others crank out high-quality publications that feature content from major authors. As fall beings to unwind, that means its time for me to re-up my memberships or reflect on what I’ve gotten out of this member/organization relationship. Is the glossy cover with a 7-page article from that assessment guru that pretty much regurgitated a summary of his 315 page book worth it?

I think for me it comes down to the connections the organization helps make and the quality of information that they share with members. No surprise I’m a big CoSN fan for both those reasons. The whitepapers, reports and vision they share with members is VERY meaningful to me personally and professionally. Being invited to participate in the CETL Summit last spring was a kind gesture on their part and an extremely meaningful opportunity for me. CoSN will likely have me as a member until I die. ISTE was a little bit of a tough sell for me this year, but I feel obligated as an ed tech professional. Plus their new entersekt publication caught my eye last year with some good content. Thankfully I feel like they’re moving away from being the flipped learning/it’s all about apps professional group…and that’s a good thing.

One of my thoughts has been to take some of the money I have spend on organizations (the ones I’m on the fence about) and put it into Harvard Business Review or MIT Sloan Sloan Management Review. Lately I’m getting a lot out of publications like those as I focus more on management and organizational development. I diversity of thoughts to reflect on has never hurt anyone!

The Innovator’s DNA – Observation – It all comes back to #designthinking

A few months back I grabbed Innovator’s DNA on Audible. At the time, for whatever reason, it wasn’t speaking to me so stopped (because there is no shame in not reading something all the way through if it’s not making an impact on you). This week I felt like picking it back up…I mean re-downloading it. Today while Lola was getting a good run in at the dog park in Grafton, I listened to the chapter on Skill 3 – Observing. The authors focus on the power of seeing your clients, students, ultimate users, whatever you want to call them using your product or experiencing your the services you provide in order to gain insights on what might be able to be improved. This only reinforces for me the power of Design Thinking, because it all comes back to your end user’s experience. In addition, this reminds me I need to, and our other IT staffers need to get into classrooms to see what our students and teachers are doing with the products and services we provide.

This week we kicked off a new season of technology planning and I’m committed to making it meaningful. I’ve written all sort of tech plans with all sorts of good stuff in it…but little was ever accomplished. I’ve enjoyed our conversations with staff and look forward to gaining insights from more folks. My biggest problem is to not give out leading questions…I need to remember the value comes from letting your stakeholders the plan direction and meaning.

Joe Maddon and Leadership

Joe Maddon does a lot of quirky things. For a person in a macho industry he’s not afraid to show he’s a smart and thoughtful person. He wears dark rum glasses and blasts the theme from “Rocky” after his team goes down 2-0 in the NLCS.

His quirkiness is cool – in my opinions – but that’s not what makes him a leader people want to follow.

From his old boss Terry Collins to his new(er) boss Theo Epstein, this guy is all about relationships. Epstein during the playoffs talked about how 20 year olds want to be around this guy who could be their dad. Collins in his post game interview spoke about how players asking specifically if Maddon would be hired back to be on his staff with the Angels. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about the relationships we build with the people around us. Whether we’re formal or informal leaders, it’s our ability to build trust and move opinions that make the difference between a managing and LEADING.