At Better Leaders Better Schools, we offer high-quality educational leadership training. “The mastermind” is a leadership community specifically designed for school administrators. 

It is guaranteed to help you level up. 

Our members include leaders from around the world. 

Imagine for a second the global perspective and rich professional discussions we have on all things education and leadership … 

When new leaders apply to the mastermind, the membership fee can be seen as a constraint. 

Some leaders use the cost of membership as a place to hide. What they really are saying is “I don’t trust that this process will work for me.”

Other leaders have an upper limit challenge that sounds like this: “I don’t deserve this kind of investment. Why me?”

But for some leaders, they really do want to join, but can’t because of the cost of membership.

This post shares how current members creatively fund their mastermind experience. 

Ask your district to pay for it

When I was a teacher, I always said “No” to any student request to go to the bathroom. This wasn’t because I was cruel. I figured if they truly had to go, they would ask again (which only backfired on me once … which is another blog post).

What if your central office applies the same technique to your funding requests?

How many leaders hear a “No” response and just give up?

Ask again! 

Use a different angle.

Or maybe you just have to be effective in your communication?

Scott clearly laid out his case by writing his Superintendent. You can steal what he wrote here (no email required). 

Since Scott was a current member he could lean on his first year experience to persuade his district to pay for his second year of membership. Not only does Scott recount his experience in detail, he cites his district’s policy regarding leadership development.

Essentially, he asks his district to put their money where their mouth is.

If you’re new to the mastermind, feel free to steal this template to ask your district to cover your membership.

Title II funds

In the USA, Title II funds are available to schools meeting certain criteria (Part A of Title II looks at a district’s share of the census poverty population). Title II funding accounts for billions of dollars. Many leaders have no idea what Title II funds can be used for. 

Good news: Title II is focused on “increased student achievement by … improving principal [and AP] quality.” 

This quote guides our work at BLBS, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better. Everyone wins when you get better.” Title II agrees. By leveling up your skill set your entire community wins.

For more on how Title II funds can be used check out the government’s page here or this helpful page by Pearson.

PTA / PTO

So what if your district won’t fund it, maybe your parent organization will?

A number of current mastermind members have reached out to their parent organizations, “pitched” the mastermind, and successfully convinced them to pay for their leadership development.

Christopher just successfully partnered with his PTO to cover a 6-month membership in the mastermind while he plans to cover the other 6-months to make sure he has access to high-level PD throughout the year.

Go halfsies

This not only works for dates, but going “halfsies” is a fantastic approach to funding the mastermind. I have seen members do this with both PTOs and Central Office.

The reason this works is that everyone has skin in the game. The PTO or district gets to feel like they are supporting their leaders while also knowing that the leader has skin in the game too.

Many leaders ask for funding for the mastermind and get a “No.” 

In my opinion, a “No” just means not yet. Now it’s time to get creative. Offering a 50/50 option for mastermind membership is doable for many districts. 

PD bucket

Many schools and districts offer principals a bucket of money for professional development. One leader I work with uses his entire PD budget line to fund his mastermind membership.

Why?

Gene would tell you, “This is the best PD I’ve ever experienced so it’s worth every dollar.”

Another way Gene thinks about this investment: he could sink his PD budget into flying to a single conference, hotel, food, and event registration, or he could participate in weekly in-depth discussions focused on education and leadership within a cohort of global leaders in education.

48 weeks of PD > 2-day conference.

Budget for next school year

Right now many school leaders are preparing their budgets for the next school year. How do you plan to level up?

One way to have your school fund your mastermind membership is to be intentional and proactive right now

This blog post will also teach you how to be more proactive in your decision making. I challenge you to read the blog post and conduct this thought experiment: what might be the positive second and third-order effects of joining the mastermind?

Get over yourself

Sometimes guilt holds you back from doing things objectively beneficial for you. Leaders are really good taking care of others. They are less competent in taking care of themselves.

Eileen struggled with leadership guilt before joining the mastermind. This is her story.

Mindset 

Personally, I invest 10% of my income in experiences that will push me to grow. Personal development is not an expense or a bill. It’s an investment. 

10% can be a big amount of money. Even if I learn one thing from an experience that makes me better, I view that experience as a win. The ROI on personal development is exponential.

Your number might be higher or lower. My challenge to you right now is establish some form of budget and get intentional about your growth. 

Be honest about your personal funds

There was a time on a teacher’s salary that I ate out for lunch nearly every day and partied on weekends. A lot of stuff I bought went in the garbage.

Be honest about your personal funds. What is providing the most value for what you pay? More importantly, what isn’t? Where can you cut and reinvest those funds in world-class experience like the mastermind? It’s amazing how a few less coffees, lunches, and (fill in the blank) will cover mastermind membership 

If you improve your leadership ability, how much more does that improve all aspects of your life?

No risk

There are no contracts. I ask each member to give the mastermind a 3-month test. That way you can see that “the process” works and you have time to invest in relationships with other leaders.

 

I have never had a member test the mastermind and after 3-months say, “Nope, this isn’t for me. I didn’t grow.”

I fully back the mastermind experience. If you join and after three months you can honestly look me in the eye and argue that you didn’t get better as a leader, I will give you a 100% refund. Of course, you have to attend all the meetings during that time and do the work

Ready to start?

Click here to learn more and apply to the mastermind leadership community for school administrators.

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