To the Loyal Members of the Ruckus Maker Nation:
This is the fifth consecutive annual letter to the Ruckus Maker community. I started the tradition in 2017 as a way to update the BLBS community and reflect on the year. This practice is common for publicly traded companies and although you don’t own shares of Better Leaders Better Schools, you do invest your time, attention, and financial resources here.
And for that I cannot thank you enough.
It’s hard to believe that what started as a dream seven years ago is now my reality.
Actually, let me correct that.
It’s not hard at all to believe.
Since 2015, I’ve learned that one of my super powers is to dream up ideas and then turn them into reality. This is somewhat easy to do. It involves execution and the right team. With those two components, anything is possible.
Thank you for making 2021 an exceptional year even amidst so many challenges.
As I stated in the introduction of this letter, one of my super powers is taking ideas and turning them into reality. This is the essence of vision work.
It started learning a blue print form my friend Scott Beebe years ago. I then added to Scott’s ideas by combining them with what I learned from Cameron Herold’s Vivid Vision. With the help of a coach (Jared Angaza) I created the Frame Your Future process. And in 2021 all these ideas came together (with a help of another coach, Ron Reich) and I now have what I call my “Remarkable Vision Formula: 3 Steps to Creating a Remarkable Life, Remarkable Family, and Remarkable School.”
I taught this formula to 20 leaders at a live event in Taos, New Mexico this past Novemeber 2020 (more on that later).
For the past three years, I have used a dashboard to keep track of important metrics aligned with my goals.
The metrics I tracked (and shared with you): Service, Platforms, & Productivity.
I write a monthly post in public to hold myself accountable for updating the dashboard and do what is in my control to move things forward.
Mastermind membership grew 28% in 2021.
A simple answer why could be I hired a tremendous business coach and I have an awesome team.
One of the highlights of 2021 was that not one …
Not two …
But three NEW cohorts were launched in 2021 and are coached by BLBS expert coaches that are not me.
This is essential if we are to live out our JUST CAUSE “to connect, grow, and mentor every school leader who wants to level up.”
If I lead every group, we cannot accomplish that goal. The key to scale and impact is by finding, training, and trusting expert coaches to facilitate amazing mastermind experiences.
I owe so much to my amazing team of coaches: Karine, Gene, and Paige.
The mastermind continues to be an amazing professional development opportunity for school leaders that identify as Ruckus Makers. And through the mastermind, Better Leaders Better Schools is changing the landscape of how school leaders experience PD.
Last year I shared this image in the 2020 annual letter:
In 2021, I started sharing some inspiring case studies of our amazing mastermind members. More to come in 2022. You can read all the case studies here. They really are worth your time.
The “edupreneur” mastermind grew from five to eleven members by word-of-mouth. This mastermind will continue to grow and it’s been a pleasure to serve business leaders in the education industry.
In 2021, all downloads were actually down for both the BLBS podcast and the School Leadership Series. This is true for every podcaster. I know.
Key lesson for creators: own the platform where you produce content.
Overnight. I lost 10K downloads a month and I have no idea why. Apple must have changed some kind of algorhythm. I’m sure it is for the better.
They say age is nothing but a number.
Same is true for downloads.
What really matters is seeing the leaders in the mastermind grow and receiving emails from listeners who tell me how the podcast has helped. To create change in the world, you really only need “1000 true fans.”
In 2021, BLBS launched it’s first “archive” podcast. iTunes saves only 250-300 episodes in a “feed” and since BLBS has 300+ episodes the archive show will serve as a space where we can host our old Season 1 content. I hope this attracts new listeners as well as serves loyal Ruckus Makers. If you’d like to SUBSCRIBE to the Archive podcast and go back to all the old shows, you can do that here for Apple and here for Spotify.
BLBS had three sponsors in 2021.
- Organized Binder sponsored us for the entire year.
- TeachFx sponsored us for three quarters.
- Harvard sponsored us to promote their Certificate of School Management and Leadership.
A note about sponsors: I was contacted by more sponsors than we could serve via the podcast. This is a good problem to have. What I am most proud of is building long term relationships with the right partners.
The Principal Success Path™
I closed the Go! Community in 2021, but I am always looking for ways to serve Ruckus Makers and live out my JUST CAUSE “to connect, grow, and mentor every school leader who wants to level up.”
In it’s absence, BLBS launched a FREE Facebook group called Ruckus Maker Nation. You can join that here.
But even better than the Ruckus Maker Nation, was launching a flagship offer called The Principal Success Path™. This was a brand new experiment and this one is here for good.
The Principal Success Path™ is a cohort based program, and unlike the mastermind, is only an 8-week program. It is made up of five pillars:
- Your 90-day plan
- The Ruckus Maker Mindset™
- Useful Feedback & Radical Candor
- Goals, Achievement, and Accountability
- Powerful Community
You can apply to this program here. We will run it twice in 2022.
I created The Principal Success Path™ under the guidance of my latest coach, Ron. Each time I invest in a coach, I invest in myself and I am always delighted by what I learn and how I grow. I am always surprised by how many school leaders lack a coach or mastermind. This is a major problem.
Mastermind: Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader
I released my latest book with my publishers Corwin and AASA. signed a contract to write a book about the mastermind with a major education publisher. To have the mastermind endorsed by the national school superintendents association was a highlight of 2021. At the time of writing this letter, the book is half-way toward best seller status. This would be an incredible honor that would open many doors and opportunities to serve school leaders.
If you haven’t yet purchased a copy of Mastermind: Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader, you can do so here. If you are interested in reading my latest book as a leadership book study and would like to make a bulk order, contact me for a great discount.
I have started outlining my third book. This book will not be available for sale anywhere and will be available (for free) only to leaders enrolled in the mastermind or The Principal Success Path™. In 2022, we have a number of surprises in store for mastermind members to level up the experience.
I decided to take some calculated risks and do some live speaking in 2021 now that I live back in the USA. The highlight was a keynote to 300 leaders in Provo, Utah where I spoke on the ABCs of powerful professional development™.
I have lined up more events for 2022 already in the USA and UK.
Last year I wrote, “Obviously this event was postponed due to the pandemic. With the vaccine here, I am confident we can host a live event this summer on July 8-10, 2021 in Taos, New Mexico.”
The event did get pushed back one more time, but we successfully hosted an in person retreat for leaders where I taught my Remarkable Vision Formula: 3 Steps to Creating a Remarkable Life, Remarkable Family, and Remarkable School in November 2022.
Each leader commented this was the best live event they have ever attended. Kyle even mentioned that the event was “spiritual.”
My favorite part was being around leaders I love and serving them in person.
Mitch from Organized Binder commented that my true Zone of Genius is teaching/coaching live.
That is a bit of a #HumbleBrag, but I share it because I HATED organizing the event. I never thought I would host another live experience, but after the incredible success in New Mexico, I cannot imagine a future where we don’t have an annual live event. The key is to find the right people that can take care of the logisitics so that I can focus on the facilitation and teaching.
The leadership lesson for you: who are the right people you need to surround yourself with that can do EVERYTHING except what only YOU can do?
Did I accomplish what I set out to do in 2020?
Here is what I said I’d like to accomplish in 2021 (and if I did):
- Launch at least one new cohort in 2021. We launched three cohorts in 2021.
- Successfully execute a live event. Facilitated an amazing event in Taos, New Mexico on November 8-11, 2021.
- Publish my second book. You can buy my second book here.
- Grow to 10, 1:1 clients. Time is my greatest challenge, so growing to ten 1:1 clients was a goal I abandoned.
- Grow the “Ripple Effect” mastermind to 12 members. Instead of launching a new mastermind for leaders across indsutries (which I could do very well) I decided to only grow my “edupreneur” mastermind in addition to the work I. dowith school leaders. One of the biggest challenges as an entrepreneur and leader is to stay focused. Saying NO to even great opportunities is important. With the help of my coach, I have finally gotten comfortable and focused on a small amount of programs I am already running at BLBS.
What’s in store for 2022?
- Run the The Principal Success Path™ twice in 2022. Goal = 80 leaders.
- Grow the school leader mastermind. Goal = 150 leaders.
- Publish my third book.
- Execute surprises for current mastermind members.
Thank you for being a Ruckus Maker and for your continued support. You are the reason I continue to “show up” and keep BLBS going.
Our guiding “why” is quite simple: Everyone wins when a leader gets better. Everyone wins when you get better.
It excites me to see how you have grown in the past and dream about how you will grow in the future. Thank you for investing in yourself. The work you do is important and your community is counting on you. I look forward to supporting you in 2022.
Keep Making a Ruckus,
Founder and Chief Ruckus Maker of Better Leaders Better Schools.