DANIEL BAUER is the Chief Ruckus Maker at BETTER LEADERS BETTER SCHOOLS (BLBS). He launched the BLBS Podcast in September 2015. With over one million downloads, the BLBS show is the most influential podcast available for educational leaders. In 2016, he changed how professional development is offered to school leaders through the structure of a mastermind. Since then, Daniel has coached and mentored over 100 school administrators from every continent in the world (except Antarctica of course).

In 2017, Daniel launched The School Leadership Series, his second podcast which amplifies the diverse voices in school leadership today. He is the author of The Better Leaders Better Schools Roadmap, which released as an Amazon #1 new release and his second book, Mastermind: Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader, will be available on September 28, 2021, from Corwin Publishing. Daniel’s JUST CAUSE is “to connect, grow, and mentor every school leader who wants to level up.”

Daniel: Structures, systems, supports, and culture for excellent teaching and learning in every classroom, for every student as part of Leading Learning. A brand new certificate of school management and leadership course from Harvard. Leading Learning launches on July 21st and runs until August 18th. Apply by July 9th and enroll by July 15th at BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard. That's BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard.

Daniel: Better leaders. Better schools is brought to you by school leaders like Principal Katerra, using Teach FX. Special populations benefit the most from verbally engaging in class, but get far fewer opportunities to do so than their peers, especially in virtual classes, TeachFx, measures verbal engagement automatically in virtual or in-person classes to help schools and teachers address these issues of equity during COVID. Learn more and get a special offer from Better Leaders, Better Schools, listeners@teachfx.com/BLBS. That's TeachFX.com/BLBS. All students have an opportunity to succeed with Organized Binder who equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning. Whether that's in a distance hybrid or traditional educational setting, learn more at organizedbinder.com.

Daniel: Hey, this is Danny Bauer from Better Leaders, Better Schools. This is actually my birthday week. This is releasing a day after my birthday. In case you don't know anything about the show, I would love to take this opportunity to introduce myself, uh, to you and you are a Ruckus Maker. That's what I call listeners of the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast. A Ruckus Maker means that you're an out of the box leader making change happen in education. This is season 2 episode 59, and at this point there's been hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of podcasts that have been released. As I said, I'm the chief Ruckus Maker at BLBS, Better Leaders, Better Schools. This show started September, 2015. If you fast forward today, there's over a million downloads. Let me pause here and just say, "thank you."

Daniel: That would not be possible without amazing listeners, Ruckus Makers, just like you. It really transformed my life because since 2015, the podcast has grown. I've had the opportunity to work and serve school leaders. To date, I have coached and mentored over a hundred school administrators from literally every continent in the world, except Antarctica, of course, because they are too cool for school. In 2017, just in case you don't know, I released a second podcast called The School Leadership Series and that podcast is different than this one. Although today it's going to be just me. Typically this is a conversation with other high level leaders and The School Leadership Series is daily. It's always five minutes or less right around three minutes. It's quick inspiration on your way into work. There's also an archive podcast for the Better Leaders, Better Schools Show because on apple, at least you can only keep the first 300 episodes and we have way more than 300 episodes.

Daniel: If you love this show, if you have been listening for awhile, go over and subscribe to the archive show because you can get all the old content and not lose it. If you're completely new and want to start from episode one, when I was really, really bad at podcasting, you can hear how I've transformed as a host and that's just the archive, Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast. I have one book out currently it's called, uh, the Better Leaders, Better Schools Roadmap, and that released as an Amazon number one, new release back in 2017, maybe 2018. I'm losing time flies. It really does, but I'm super excited that there's a new book called Mastermind, Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader that's going to be available on September 28th, 2021. Now you can pre-order that on Amazon, which is super cool. If you're listening and currently it's the summer go over to the core website and search Mastermind, Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader, we'll put a link in the show notes as well, and you use the code summer 21. You could actually get the book for 25% off and free shipping. You can save yourself some money and get a really amazing book to date. This is the thing I'm most proud of creating. I've got some really awesome people who have endorsed it. A couple other surprises that it's a little too early to tell, but there's a lot of energy and excitement behind the book. It's going to blow your mind if you get it. Last thing I want to say, there's another one book I highly recommend called the Infinite Game by Simon Sinek that taught me this idea of a just cause and a just cause is it's like vision.

Daniel: It's like aspirational goals, but you actually may never achieve it and that's the point. It's so big and so motivating uou need to enlist other people to help you, so it's an infinite game. You play it forever and you don't just play it. You play it with other people. There's others in this space that I just so admire and love. When we collaborate together, it helps me live out and accomplish my just cause, which is to connect, grow and mentor every school leader who wants to level up. I encourage you to check out the Infinite Game, create a just cause yourself, and then do work that is expansive and has a ripple effect, which is a core value of mine. After you take action, the value continues to ripple out and help others long after you've started actually doing the work.

Daniel: This is the introduction I wanted to share with you. We're going to switch gears here and start to get into the content. Thank you so much for listening to this very special episode that I've created just for you and feel free to send me a birthday wish if you'd like, that would put a big smile on my face, for sure. If you love the show. Cool. We are in the middle of a challenge I launched and I haven't done this in years. I don't know why it's kind of silly that I haven't because at this point we are, I think, three days into a free five day challenge. Sorry, if you missed it, I promise that I'll run more in 2022. The point of the five day challenge is to have your best school year yet. I can teach some high-level ideas I won't give you the content from the challenge. If you're in it, why repeat it. From a high level, the point of the challenge was actually to work on yourself. The idea I want you to take away is what do you need to do this summer for yourself? Mindset wise, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, to get yourself rejuvenated. The point of the challenge is to replenish yourself, recharge the battery. It's funny because we have these smart devices, I'm looking at my iPhone right now, I barely let it get to under 50% before I'm plugging it back in, make sure it has enough juice. A lot of people use this metaphor. Why do we let ourselves get depleted as school leaders? Why do we let our batteries actually run on fumes?

Daniel: There's nothing left. We don't even know how we're moving through the day. We're almost in like a zombie, like trance, because we've got nothing left in the tank. Use this summer to plug yourself in and that's what the challenge was all about. I broke it down into a few different components and I will reveal it just in case you weren't in the challenge, kind of the bigger buckets of what you could be thinking about. The first one was when life works. First challenge, day one, when life works. Thinking about your life ,I learned this from Shawn Stevenson, when you think about your health, wealth, and relationships, and then your professional, your work, what do you need to have awesome days?

Daniel: He called that when life works, that was his when life works list. Challenge for day two was similar. It's creating an ideal day. You have this sense of when life works and then going from meeting to observation or whatever, that's something within the professional. I really want you to think about during your ideal day, uh, personally, and it's building on from the when life works list, plug that into the calendar. Do you need, for me, I love, uh, hiking or riding my bike and I do this every single day. I walk my dog at least one mile. Typically we get a few more in if we do multiple walks and thats the idea of creating an ideal day. Third ideas the avoid at all costs list. A lot of leaders get it wrong in the sense that what are more things that I need to do to be more effective?

Daniel: That's the wrong question, actually, the right question is what can I cut? What can I eliminate from the busy-ness of leadership to help me be more effective? I have a process of identifying all the stuff that is sucking your energy. I won't teach it here, but from a high level, what can you cut? What can you cut from your life and leadership to help you be more effective? Day four challenge. This is a preview, sorry, I guess I'm ruining the surprise a little bit, but it's about protecting your mind. Who do you listen to? What are the sources of information that you choose to consume, whether that's on social media, on the TV, the podcast? Recognizing that everybody and everything that you're consuming has some sort of bias.

Daniel: Being able to understand what's going on there and protecting your mind. If you've never heard of Brene Brown's, Square Squad list, go check that out. That's really important as well. The last part is about tapping into your power. Understanding, how do you create the most value within a day. Understanding that you are powerful. One of the affirmations that I say every day, and I learned this from one of my coaches and mentors, his name is Rich Lipton. He said, and I adopted this, I've stolen it. I love it, "I help powerful people remember how powerful they are." . For me, it's a morning and evening routine. There's certain morning questions that I ask myself every day, certain evening questions that I asked myself every day.

Daniel: Those things helped me have consistently powerful days in a row. If you miss the challenge you won't get access to those questions. I've done them on the podcast before. You could try to search for those or if you go to the Better Leaders, Better Schools Website, I believe in the shop. BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/shop. There's a powerful days course. You can invest in that. It's 27 bucks and you can get all those journal questions in a little bit more. If you need a link to that it is in the show notes. The 5 day challenge and that's what I wanted to share there. Now I just want to talk about having a Powerful next school year.

Daniel: The challenge was about leveling up personally, because if we are at our best, then I believe we are ready to set up our school from an organizational level to have a powerful school year. The biggest problem with creating a powerful school year is the ability to focus. There's so many things to do. A million things every single day and one of the biggest challenges is where do we even start? We go back to old routines when we don't know where to start. We do the same things over and over, and we get the same results. And that might be an above average school year, an average, a mediocre school year, but you're doing the same thing, getting the same results. If you don't want that, if you want more, you're here because you want to be better.

Daniel: It's not about being the best. I think that's a silly thing to strive for. If you strive to get better every single day, the funny thing is you probably will ultimately become the best. Just improve 1% every day and that will lead to exponential results. To create the best year ever, you need a path, a path that simplifies the complexity of school leadership. When you have a path, all you need to do is take the next step. There's an idea where, Jim Collins has the, Behag the big, hairy, audacious goal. A 10 to 25 year it's almost like a just cause, but some aspirational you're working towards, and then there's sort of quarterly in monthly and weekly and daily, like what you're trying to get done. If you look between that quarter and your Behag like, everything else is just so wild, you know what guest, they call that a wag.

Daniel: You just don't know, you don't know what's going to happen between this short amount of time and then the longer vision and that's why the next step is just so important. When you have confidence in the next step, guess what happens? You take action. You take action. Leaders that take action produce results and they produce results like the best school year ever. I already introduced myself a few minutes ago in the introduction, but I like to call myself an unorthodox leadership coach. Again, mentored a hundreds of school leaders from around the world and mostly through a community that we call the Mastermind. I'm super excited about, and one of the things I want to express on this podcast today is that for the first time ever, like literally the first time I ever I've curated a number of the lessons that I've taught over the last six years within the Mastermind, and I've taken all these ideas and I've put them into one place.

Daniel: If you haven't been a part of the Mastermind, or even if you have, and we've learned so much all over these years, you can experience the best of the best in one spot, in an experience in a program that I've created. I love the name it's called the Principal Success Path. My promise is if you join this under 90 day experience, you're going to lead more effectively and set the foundation for your best school year. In 90 days or less, there's five pillars to the principal success path. Part of it is your 90 day plan, because if you can start off strong and that's why we have this program framed and created around 90 days, if you start off strong, you are half the way there. Ruckus Maker mindset is pillar number two.

Daniel: Again, just the way you think about things, how you bounce back from adversity, who you choose to listen to the media you consume, and just other things that help you get ready for powerful days. That's the Ruckus Maker mindset, powerful feedback in radical candor is super important as well. Over the last year, we read two great books on this called Thanks for the Feedback and Radical Candor. I teach a bit on those frameworks, but I also interview Mastermind members, current school leaders who put into practice the principles, and you can hear their results and you could steal the plan. They've gone ahead of you. You don't have to reinvent the wheel and you can do exactly what they did and implement that within your school. Pillar four is goals, achievement, and accountability. We all have to have some type of goal that we're working toward.

Daniel: We have to have some sort of a framework and system for accountability to make sure that we're driving toward those results and that ultimately ends in the achievement and accomplishing what we set out to do. That's pillar four. Pillar five is something called powerful community. There's 14 words that changed my life. I've shared them here on the podcast before. I wrote a blog post about it recently. It's a famous motivational speaker, Jim Rohn's quote, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Within powerful community, we just talk about the benefits of being a part of something that's bigger than you and what it's like to engage on a consistent basis with other leaders that are going to cheer for you, but also challenge you to be your best. And that's the fifth pillar.

Daniel: This is enough right there, more than enough for you to have a incredible school year. To really sweeten the deal. If you're interested in joining the Principal Success Path, I created two bonus modules. The first bonus module is called Time Mastery. It's exactly what it sounds like. We have an amount of time that's given every day. We all had that same amount of time, but how will you utilize that time? ? I've learned some things over the last six years and doing deep dive studies into productivity and how to accomplish more and be highly effective and efficient. Time mastery is about then creating world-class cultures because it's so much more. It's similar to powerful community, but creating world-class cultures, the powerful community serves you creating a world-class culture that your school that's your organization, that your district.

Daniel: How do you create something that is so amazing? With alignment, living out your sticky core values and everybody rowing in the same direction. When you're able to do so much more than you ever believed. If you are just even 1% dissatisfied with the culture that you have, there's something in this module that will teach you to take your culture to the next level. That is all I have to say about the Principal Success Path. Thank you for letting me introduce it to you at a high level. I really do hope that you consider joining, if you go to BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/principalsuccesspath. All one word. BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/principalsuccesspath you can read all about the program, what you get, and you can apply. Not everybody's going to get accepted, but the applications that are approved, uh, the next step is I'll reach out and just want to hear a little bit more about your goals for the next school year, and then answer any questions you have about the Principal Success Path.

Daniel: If we both agree that it's a great fit, then we'll get you enrolled. Let's end with a story. I love to tell stories. This story is about my friend Scott Long, who is a principal in Michigan, and this is a story about him living out something I taught called sticky core values. This is a podcast I've done before. He's been on the show. In the Principal Success Path. We do an interview that's much deeper than the story about to share. This content is out there and it goes deeper in the Principal Success Path. Scott went from who are we really at his school at Doherty Elementary to, this is who we are in just under five months. There's a quote by, Friedan Hanson who are the founders of base camp.

Daniel: They wrote a book called Rework, which really redefines and reframes, working for a modern age. I love this quote so much. "We all have that one friend who says I had the idea for E-bay. If all only I had acted on it, I'd be a billionaire. That logic is pathetic in delusional. Having the idea for E-bay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay. What you do is what matters now, not what you think or say, or plan." Exactly. It's not about having the idea. It's about action. I share this quote all the time by John Doerr, "Ideas are easy. Execution is everything." I want to take this last little bit of the podcast to tell a story of a genuine Ruckus Maker. Huge shout out to you, Scott Long for being somebody who takes action.

Daniel: You're seriously awesome. I serve a lot of a player, principals and Scouts, certainly one of the best and what separates him from some others is he's always taking action on what I teach and that's something I admire about him. Back in 2017, I shared on the school leadership series and the original idea I teach called sticky core values. Scott heard these episodes and couldn't get the idea out of his head. In his words, here's what he said," At Dordy Elementary, we had a strong mission and we had what I thought were strong values. Yet none of the core values we created really captured people's hearts and minds. The values didn't influence our day to day decisions and how we operated." Since values were, top of mind for Scott. After you listened to those podcasts episodes, he went home and he asked his wife, if she can name the core values at her job in corporate America, and guess what, crickts. She had no idea what those values were.

Daniel: If you asked your staff, could they recite the values and not because they've memorized it, but because it's so ingrained into their DNA as an educator, that they know what you're all about. To me, this is a huge missed opportunity for schools and districts, all around the world. Scott knew he had to do something different. He wanted to take a risk and implement this idea I taught called teach, called sticky core values. The only problem was how would he move past his fear to do something new and original at his school. Some schools and districts, if you stick your neck out, faculty or the central office, they'll lap it off. Lucky for Scott he is a member of the Mastermind. Each week he receives encouragement feedback and ideas on how to implement strategy and tactics to improve his school and his leadership.

Daniel: One day he brought this to the, to the Mastermind. We talked about it. Not soon after that, he introduced the concept of Sticky School, Core Values to his staff at Doherty elementary. He went first and so that's a huge leadership tip. Always model what you want your staff to do. He shared what he calls Rocky's cufflinks. There's a super long story behind why he chose Rocky's cufflinks. He's a big Rocky fan, but there's so much packed into the metaphor and the imagery and that's the point of sticky core values. It's all about story and imagery and that's what makes it stick and that's why his staff at Doherty loved the idea. Listen to this. When did you kill four or maybe not kill, but wouldn't you love to have your staff? 95% of his staff said they saw evidence of Rocky's cufflinks being lived out every day at their school.

Daniel: Wow. 95% believe this is what we do. 85% of his staff believed that Rocky's cufflinks inspired curiosity and was a core value that encouraged people to want to know more about the story behind it. Think about that. Our core value, our sticky core value inspires curiosity, and wanting to know more. That's why the approach works. It's about curiosity. It's because of the story behind the sticky core value in the image, it creates. It's a remarkable thing. Now think about it. What's more compelling Rocky's cufflinks, or an idea of being supportive from there. The staff began to brainstorm other values that were appearing at Doherty. They came up with ideas like respect and that's the Aretha Franklin song. There's an art teacher who is a performing artist as well. She's a beautiful singer and that's why that one became a one of the core values.

Daniel: They also have one called "find your mirror gold." About just seeing the good in others and the possibility in the optimism and all this stuff there. The neat thing is that five months later, the staff had created these sticky core values. The other day I actually talked to Scott and he said, "Thanks for teaching me the idea of sticky core values. It's changed everything at Doherty. It's provided all of us with a common language and sense of clarity of what we all are. We celebrate instances when people are living out these values and when tough conversations need to be had we point back to violations of the sticky core values. Everyone knows what we stand for. Our values are so much more than words. They guide everything we do and have taken what we are able to achieve together to a whole new level."

Daniel: They're living it out. They're celebrating, they're having tough conversations. It's infused into the curriculum. It's amazing where all of this appears and how it's changed his campus. A great story of Scott being a Ruckus Maker. He was willing to be an out of the box, leader doing something original and it became a game changer for him in his school. Scott also said, "I'm confident if I left the school tomorrow, Doerdy, wouldn't miss a beat because we've done the hard work of identifying who we are and what makes us great." Can you imagine that? That's now about legacy and that you can step away and that the work doesn't change. It evolves. It gets better, but if you do it right, you've built a foundation where it just continues to thrive.

Daniel: And that's what it's all about. That's just a case study of one Ruckus Maker that I have the privilege of coaching and mentoring. One of the very few ideas, there's so much packed into the Principal's Success Path. There's on demand modules that teach these ideas, templates and things that you should think about in terms of creating. There's a community aspect, remember powerful community. For basically three months just under that, there'll be two live group coaching calls a month where you can connect with other Ruckus Makers and get coached by me or another Better Leaders, Better Schools coach, and get your questions answered. Besides that to an online community where you can show your work in public, get feedback, to make it better, uh, and to provide encouragement and challenge to others that end up joining the Principal's Success Path as well.

Daniel: Hope you consider it a head over to the website, BetterLeadersBetter Schools.com/principalsuccesspath. If this sounds like an awesome opportunity for you to set the foundation, really, to have the most powerful school year ever, we'd love to have you join the community. Hey, it's Danny chief Ruckus Maker over at Better Leaders, Better Schools until next time. Thanks for listening and go make a ruckus.

: Develop your structures, systems, supports, and culture for excellent teaching and learning in every classroom for every student, as part of leading learning a brand new certificate in school management and leadership course from Harvard. Topics include aligning systems with instructional vision, creating structures for your students, academic and character development, developing your teachers navigating change and more. Leading learning runs July 21st to August 18th, 2021 apply by July 9th. Enroll by July 15th, get started at BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard. That's BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard.

Daniel: During COVID. Every teacher is a new teacher. That's why innovative school leaders are turning to Teach FX. TeachFX Is a virtual PD is equipping thousands of teachers with the skills they need to create engaging, equitable and rigorous virtual or blended classes. To learn more about TeachFX and get a special offer. Visit TeachFX.com/BLBS. That's teacgfx.com/BLBS. Today's show is brought to you by Organized Binder, Organized Binder develops the skills and habits all students need for success. During these uncertain times of distance learning and hybrid education settings, Organized Binder equips educators with the resource to provide stable and consistent learning routines so that all students have an opportunity to succeed. Whether at home or in the classroom, learn more@organizedbinder.com. Thanks

Speaker 3: For listening to the Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast for Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel@BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com or hit me up on Twitter @alienearbud. If the better leaders better schools, podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode, extra credit for tagging me on Twitter alienearbud and using the hashtag# BLBS .level up your leadership at Better Leaders, Better Schools.com and talk to you next time until then class dismissed.

Show Highlights

  • 5 Day challenge  
  • The biggest problem with creating a powerful school year.
  • When we don’t know where to start.
  • Avoid creating a mediocre school year in 90 days
  • Simplify the complexity of school leadership
  • Unorthodox leadership connects leaders around the world 
  • 5 pillars to the PSP program you need to experience.
  • Scott’s sticky core value story and other action tips
  • Have consistently powerful days in a row
Daniel Bauer: The Principal Success Path

“It’s not about being the best. I think that’s a silly thing to strive for. If you strive to get better every single day, the funny thing is you probably will ultimately become the best. Just improve 1% every day and that will lead to exponential results. To create the best year ever, you need a path, a path that simplifies the complexity of school leadership. When you have a path, all you need to do is take the next step.”

Daniel Bauer



Transform how you lead to become a resilient and empowered change agent with Harvard’s online Certificate in School Management and Leadership. Grow your professional network with a global cohort of fellow school leaders as you collaborate in case studies bridging the fields of education and business. Apply today at http://hgse.me/leader.



School leaders know that productive student talk drives student learning, but the average teacher talks 75% of class time! TeachFX is changing that with a “Fitbit for teachers” that automatically measures student engagement and gives teachers feedback about what they could do differently. 

Learn more about the TeachFX app and get a special 20% discount for your school or district by visiting teachfx.com/blbs.



Organized Binder is the missing piece in many classrooms. Many teachers are great with the main content of the lesson. Organized Binder helps with powerful introductions, savvy transitions, and memorable lesson closings. Your students will grow their executive functioning skills (and as a bonus), your teachers will become more organized too. Help your students and staff level up with Organized Binder.

Copyright © 2021 Twelve Practices LLC

(Visited 490 times, 3 visits today)