Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

Stand on the shoulders of giants.

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In Greek mythology, the blind giant Orion carried Cedalion on his shoulders to be his eyes. Cedalion literally stood on the shoulders of a giant.

Our daily work builds upon the accomplishments of others who came before us.

Collaborating is a way to stand on the shoulders of giants  Take advantage of what your teammates know, what they have done, and what they can imagine as you develop ideas.  Leverage their experiences and perspective to avoid repeating past mistakes or reinventing an already discovered solution. Create something better than any of you could do alone.


Some things I read while preparing this article:

It’s Better When Everyone Owns the Solution

It’s Better When Everyone Owns the Solution.

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If the solution is only your idea then you also get to be the person to explain it to everyone, answer all questions, and monitor and enforce its implementation.  If the solution is owned by everyone then explanations and enforcement is handled collectively.


People tend to only own the solutions they have contributed to in development and implementation.

Involve people in decisions that impact them to increase ownership.

Learning to Honor Commitments: A Hidden Benefit of Collaboration

Losing weight is really quite simple: eat less, eat healthy, and move more.  Nearly all of us know that without reading any articles or exploring fitness memberships. However, according to the Center for Disease Control, we find ourselves in the midst of at least a 23 year rise in the increase of obesity and diabetes.

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Tetteh

It is very difficult for most of us to solve our fitness problems alone.  That difficulty has led to the rise of an over 28 billion dollar health and fitness industry in the United states that continues to grow annually. One selling point of the industry is group accountability and providing a venue to make and then honor commitments.  Running clubs, crossfit boxes, weight loss centers, Personal Trainers, and fitness gyms all leverage personal accountability and honoring commitment to help us reach our fitness goals.

Many other behaviors also help us to honor our commitments: writing the commitment down; sharing it with others; taking small action steps; and, constantly revisiting our commitment.

An accountable group that honors their commitments to each other is the basis for any successful collaboration.

Providing students and staff with many opportunities to collaborate together creates a fertile ground for experiencing group accountability and learning the importance of honoring personal commitments.


Some sites I enjoyed reading while writing this post:


The Joy of Shared Creation

There are many sources of joy in your life. Remind yourself often of the things that bring you joy.

Photo credit: Lambert Yuri


Relationships, belonging, achievements, overcoming hardship, learning new things, recognitions, sacrifices, and creating new things are many of the sources of joy.

There is also joy in sharing in the creation of new things, new solutions, and new ideas. Creating allows us to express ourselves, pursue our passions, and leverage our personal talents.  Collaborating allows us to create together and bond with others through that collaborative experience.

Want to help your team learn how to collaborate effectively? Then give them some meaningful task or an important shared goal to accomplish and let them get to work.

Some sites I enjoyed reading while writing this post:


Welcome #TEPSA100 attendees.  Following are any resources referenced during our presentation of Grow your own leaders: Building capacity from within.

Ready to Lead: An entry guide for principals Kindle/Paperback

Life School Leadership Program Competencies:

Primer Competencies

New Teacher Competencies

Resources for developing a leadership program:

Rainwater Alliance: A new approach to principal preparation

Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World

Resources for developing competencies:

Professional Standards for Educators from National Policy Board for Educational Administrators

Robert Marzano’s 21 Responsibilities of a School Leader

Other Resources:

The Gallup Q12


Do you still remember your why?

Looking forward to serving on the Courageous Principals Panel tonight at Deloitte University.

One of the potential questions is why did you enter the field of education and more importantly, what has kept you there.  Do you still remember your why? Take a moment and reflect on why it is you do what you do.  It will refresh you for the next week!

Looking forward to seeing the Life School leaders who are attending as well.

Start with Why

This is a #PrimerLivecast that reminds us why you have to start with why to access discretionary effort from your staff.  You can’t rely on only on your positional authority if you truly want to be an influencer.