Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fierce Conversations

October 20th

Denton Creek teachers were fortunate to have Deli Bock from Seattle present to us last week on the art of having FIERCE CONVERSATIONS with one another.

I thought the training was so powerful that I wanted to share a few of the highlights with you.

You may think of her strategies as just "common sense" or "good communication strategies", & they certainly are, but for me, they resonated deeply & made me re-examine my own conversations & communication style.

Here are a few of the highlights & key points from Deli's presentation that I thought were especially powerful:

What is talked about & how it is talked about determines what happens or doesn't happen. In other words, conversation is essential to what we want to achieve. Conversations are the way through.

While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, - any single conversation CAN.

Deli defined a FIERCE conversation as a conversation in which we come out from behind ourselves & make it real. There is no hidden agenda & complete vulnerability.

She posed the question, "How can I tell the truth in a way that gets me invited back?" (I love that!)

She stated that the most expensive conversations are the unreal conversations. It's the missing conversations that matter the most, because they never happen.

Deli used the analogy of a person going bankrupt & asked, "How did you get bankrupt?"

She believes our lives are one long chain conversation - & that many of us are not conscious during the gradually. She challenged us to ask ourselves how close we are to suddenly.

She contends that we succeed or fail one conversation at a time & stressed the importance of gradually saying, "Our careers, our personal relationships, our schools, & our very lives succeed or fail gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time."

She encouraged us to be conscious during the gradually so we won't wake up to the pain of suddenly! Great point!

We were reminded that the greatest leverage we have is the conversation we're in RIGHT NOW & again asked us "How can we be REAL in a way that gets me invited back? (She joked, "If you don't get invited back to the table, find another table!!"

She emphasized that the conversation IS the relationship & that the most valuable currency we have is relationships.

I like the point she made when she said that if we don't connect with students' hearts as well as their heads, we will lose their hands. The CONNECTIVITY is what's important.

Another interesting point she made is that "All conversations are with MYSELF & sometimes they involve other people!"

She shared the Seven Principles of Fierce Conversations which are:

1. Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality. (Dig deeper with any given issue to find out what is really going on.)

2. Come out from behind yourself into the conversation & make it real. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Put down the mask & facade & reveal what you really think & feel. Don't withhold. Deliver the message with clarity, courage, & compassion.

3. Be here & be prepared to be nowhere else. Really listen.

4. Be conscious of the messages you're sending. We're not used to people paying attention at that level. Hold people as ABLE to handle your message.

5. Tackle your toughest challenges today.

6. Obey your instincts.

7. Take responsibility for your emotional wake. (Our words are powerful, but it's the DELIVERY of our words that people will remember. If people don't feel respected, they will not listen.)

There were many personal take-aways I gained from hearing Deli. Perhaps the most important one for me is "How can I help move Denton Creek forward from here given this new understanding?"

I was also challenged to examine my own conversations with others. I want to be a better listener & to better understand dissenting perspectives.

I know it doesn't do Deli justice to list just a few bullet points from her presentation, but again, their impact on me personally warranted their sharing with you.

We are truly blessed & grateful to have such a wonderful school, & I am convinced training like this can help enrich & strengthen what we're doing for kids.

I really believe that with every person we meet, we either build a bridge or a wall.

I'm out to build bridges. What about you?

-Mr. McLain

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sky Ranch Here We Come!

Heading to Sky Ranch this morning to get to spend some wonderful time with our fifth graders who will be camping for three days! This is always a highlight of the year for me - & the weather is BEAUTIFUL! Here's hoping our fifth graders will have the time of their lives!