Friday, February 27, 2009

Oprah Winfrey Final Remarks at NAIS 09

"I believe in what you do" ~Oprah

She has sponsored young women to attend independent schools all over the country. Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa inspired by independent schools. Sharing her experiences - ups and downs - of having a school.

Benefited from nuns bringing Christmas gifts to her when she was a child on welfare. Wanted to do the same - spread the love, bring unexpected joy to children - in South Africa. During the 3 week effort, Nelson Mandela invited her to stay over his house for ten days. What to say? What to do? Stedman told Oprah, "Why don't you just listen for a change?"

When you educate a girl, you educate a community. Teen pregnancy, AIDS and other social ills go down. Battled the government and architects in an effort to make the Leadership Academy beautiful. Art can inspire. "Why do the girls need closets? They don't have anything to put in them." Why? Oprah: "Because I want to send the girls a message that they are valued."

Oprah was looking for an "IT factor" amongst the girls. Wanted young women who had something to fit in Leadership Academy. Do we, should we do that for Eagle Rock? These young ladies have lost their parents to AIDS, suffer sexual assault, live in poverty. Is it so wrong to be selective within that group of youth in need? I think we dance around that question in student admissions.

First biggest challenge: finding the right staff. Selected students first because she thought it would be harder to find the right kids. Then surprised by how difficult it was to find the right teachers. "I thought because the vision was so clear to me, it was clear to everyone." Not so. Looking for a head of school, dean of academics, counselor.... Issues with staff exist everywhere.

Second learning: "Projected budgets are made by people with a great sense of humor." Spent 2 1/2 times more than planned on everything. Oprah's school pays for everything: appendectomies, coats, braces, transportation. I thought Eagle Rock provided a lot (we do, but this is more).

Now, she's talking about the alleged sex abuse scandal at the Leadership Academy. The case has still not been resolved. The only way to deal with a crisis is to "stay in the moment." Don't get consumed by worst case scenarios. Stay in the moment, tell the truth. "If you tell the truth, you can be criticized but you can never be hurt."

Sidney Poitier's expectations of these girls: To be seated at every table where the decisions of the world are made for the future.

Final scene from Goodbye Mr. Chips. "I think I heard you say it was a pity that I never had any children. But, you're wrong. I had thousands of them. All boys." Oprah feels the same.

Great ending! So acknowledging of educators and saying, "I'm trying to do it too."

Letting my frame of reference get in the way

Second experiment in live blogging. Waiting for Oprah to take the stage and hear her words of wisdom for the independent educators of the world. Meanwhile, a word on Guy Kawasaki's presentation. After discussing the presentation with a colleague, I realized I assessed Guy's presentation using a pretty limited rubric. I heard him say he was presenting on steps to change. Given that's an area of interest for me, I listened for "steps" and did not hear any. First of all, I may have misheard. He may have said principles or qualities of change. In that case, he would have fared much better in my evaluation. Second, after reflecting with a colleague, I see that there was a lot of useful and practical stuff in the presentation. For example, the whole idea of jumping the curve is a way we can frame what we do at Eagle Rock School. Lot of opportunity there. My limited framework for evaluation limited what value I drew from the talk. How often do I do that? How often do any of us do that?

Guy Kawasaki Keynote NAIS 09 Entry #2

Guy Kawasaki
10 Steps to Change continued

6 - Polarize People

Okay - love that he's bragging about loving low brow TV. Makes me feel good. Loves 24 and The Unit. I love TV. He has three Tivos....that's what I want!

The point is some people love Tivo and some hate it. Any good idea polarizes people. That's good. Anything good generates strong emotions: Tivo, Harley Davidsons, Montessori schools

7 - Let 100 Flowers Blossom

Quote from Chairman Mao. I like this quote for the right situation but I've heard it applied at Eagle Rock for not working deliberately on any process or system. I've also heard it to justify taking in hundreds of students and watching hundreds fall away. I think 100 Flowers is a good approach to things and prototype thinking. Not so great when we're working with human beings and we want to serve them as best we can.

8 - Churn, Baby, Churn
Move through versions 1.0, 1.2, 1.3.... Ignore the bozos who say this revolutionary idea is not possible. Ignore them. But once the product is released, now switch to listening because the users will tell you how to fix the bugs. I can relate this to our current curriculum revision project.

9 - Niche thyself
2x2 matrix Uniqueness and Value
  • High uniqueness, low value: Bozo
  • Low uniqueness, low value: Pet Store food being shipped. Shipping costs too high and inconvenience. Most dot.coms are this way.
  • High uniqueness, high value: Fandango, Clear Card, Smart Car, Trek Line bike

10 - Follow 10-20-30 Rule
This is about pitching using power point. (Claims someone try to sell him on the idea that Israel be purchased and turned into an amusement park.)

10 slides - no more...
20 minutes - present in no more than...
30 points - use font no smaller than...

11 - Don't Let the Bozos Grind You Down (Guess he added an extra step)

That's it. What Guy calls the 10 steps of change. I have to disagree. It was an entertaining presentation with some clever tips. I'm glad I saw him. But, these are not steps. It's a collection of anecdotes.

Guy Kawasaki Keynote NAIS 09

Guy Kawasaki
10 Steps to Change
This is my first attempt at live blogging. I'm taking notes on this talk as it's happening. I'm putting first five steps here and will continue with second entry.

1- Make Meaning (i.e., make a difference, change the world)

With 2 pieces of cotton, leather, rubber construct a shoe under controversial sweatshop conditions - not compelling. But that's what Nike does and they market it with meaning.

2 - Make Mantra

Put's up Wendy's [bad] mission statement about leadership and innovation. "When I order a cheeseburger it doesn't occur to me that I'm involved in leadership and innovation."

FedEx: Peace of Mind or EBay: Democratize Commerce. All better than a mission statement.

3 - Jump to the Next Curve

Don't be satisfied working it out on the same curve. "The telephone was not a slightly better telegraph. It was a whole new curve."

4 - Roll the DICEE
D: Depth: Reef sandal has beer bottle opener in its sole.
I: Intelligence: BF-104 Flashlight...someone was really thinking here. Flashlight takes three different battery sizes.
C: Complete: Totality of experience. i.e., Lexus
E: Elegance: How beautiful is your laptop, your school?
E: Emotive. You love it or hate it, you are not indifferent.

5 - Don't Worry, Be Crappy
When you have some revolutionary idea and you wait for that perfect bug-free world, you will NEVER ship your product.

So, favorite principle. It supports "Don't let the perfect, be the enemy of the good." Also, promotes the prototype mindset we all need to get things done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Making Change Stick: Steps

My newest version of presenting steps to change. I'll annotate each step at another time. This is what I've come up with after combining my experience with work by John Kotter, David Allen and the Vital Smarts folks who wrote Influencer. Wisdom of Teams also has a minor influence.

Making Change Stick Steps
Precondition: Establish champion, leadership
1 – Identify the dilemma
2- Focus on the desired behavior
3 – Create a project built around bringing that desired behavior into practice.
4 – Involve others (establish a team and invite community feedback)
5 – Establish boundaries