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Show Highlights

Operating at your personal best consistently every day next year for your campus with this tool.

Learn the four parts to The Leadership Optimization Compass framework.

Unplug in Denver with a stripped down personalized approach to achieving your leadership goals.

If you wanna create bigger results for your campus, you need to network to implement the best practices that move you.

A mental model all leaders need to have a healthy life on and off campus.

15 choices all the best Ruckus Makers make in order to optimize their performance.

No Wasted Experience Tool to learn from the biggest mistakes you make as a leader and turn them into a growth mindset sort and leverage point.

Madeline Mortimore

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Read the Transcript here.

The Leadership Optimization Compass

Daniel (00:02):
Hey, it’s Danny, chief Ruckus Maker at Better Leaders, better Schools. And this summer we are hosting a live event, and I’m here to tell you all about it. In today’s podcast, my friend Mitch Weathers over at Organized Binder. It’s gonna interview me and we’re gonna talk about what we have planned for you. It’s a really special, special time just for Ruckus Makers. The guiding questions guiding the event. What would be possible if you were operating at your personal best consistently day after day? What would be possible on your campus? I think that’s a really powerful and interesting question to noodle on. We’re gonna help you answer that at the live event. We’ve got some really special stuff planned, including whitewater rafting. We’ll talk about the results, you’ll expect all this kind of stuff. Anyways, if you want to attend, you need to act fast. There’s only 50 tickets available, 28 as of the time of me recording this on January 30th 28 have been spoken for 22 remain. The event will sell out. If you go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/denver2023. Denver 2023, you can learn more about the event. You can register for the event and secure that spot. Thanks so much for listening to The Better Leaders Better Schools podcast. This show is for you, a Ruckus Maker, which means you’re invested in your continuous growth. You challenge the status quo, and you design the future of school. Now, we’ll be right back after some messages from our show sponsors.Learn how to recruit, develop, retain, and inspire outstanding individuals and teams to deliver on the vision of your school in leading people. A certificate in school Management and leadership course from Harvard. Get started at BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/harvard. Teachers use Teach FX to record a lesson and automatically get personalized insights into their classroom conversation patterns in teaching practices. See Teach FX for yourself, and learn about special partnership options for Ruckus [email protected]/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 [email protected].

Daniel (02:48):
What’s up everybody? This is the Danny and Mitch show, aka the BLBs podcast. And this is gonna be a different type of episode. Mitch is back, but he’s gonna be interviewing me, which is pretty cool. If you don’t know Mitch, he’s a great friend of mine. We have two red hats that we like to wear and we should if you don’t know that story, we’re not gonna tell it again. We were talking about an awesome series of workshops. They’re still going on, they just start, or they’re about to start.

Mitch (03:19):
Started last week, the 25th. The next one is this Wednesday.

Daniel (03:24):
Can people still sign up?

Mitch (03:27):
Absolutely. Everybody organizedbinder.com/ef as in executive function. It’s a totally free five part series. And don’t worry if you missed one. We got a recording, but we also start each, they’re 45 minute episodes, so they’re kind of a sprint. We’ll review the previous topics before. organized binder.com/ef, come join us.

Daniel (03:53):
This shows about me, but I’m gonna give you a few more minutes. What will people get? What’s the result? Why should they sign up?

Mitch (04:06):
Good question. What we are really focusing on, this isn’t just like an informational session. It really is the three pillars of how to teach executive functions which is clarity, modeling, and establishing a predictable learning routine. I’m not just gonna talk about those things. I’m actually going to model and show people actual student samples, teacher samples, feedback about how to make this a reality.

Daniel (04:42):
It’s free equal to organized binder.com/ef signup. And that’s actually my favorite part when I’m reading the sponsor read. Thank you for sponsoring the podcast. The most downloaded podcast in education, maybe even almost the world, it’s in the top 0.5%. People don’t get not just in education everywhere, 0.5%. When I’m reading your sponsor, reel, I love when I get to the part, it’s a consistent and dependable classroom routine. What’s that worth to you? What’s that worth to you? Classroom teacher, to be able to show up and offer a consistent and dependable classroom routine your kids deserve it. You deserve it and makes everybody else that much more successful. organized binder.com/ef. Mitch is the guy who talks about executive functioning and he’s a good friend.

Daniel (05:40):
And so this is all about the Red Hats, though. Why we were laughing is we were wanting to promote this series of workshops, and somebody wrote into Mitch and he’s like, “Dude loved the Red Hat story.” I’m just putting that out there as a teaser. If you haven’t heard this episode, go back and listen to that episode, hear more. It unpacks executive functioning and encourages people to sign up for the workshop. But we tell our Red Hat story, which is totally worth the listen in itself. Now we’re really here to talk about a new live event coming up. You’re gonna ask me questions. What do you got? What you wanna know?

Mitch (06:27):
I’m excited in general for your event. It’s coming up and obviously was at the first one? I was in New Mexico with Ruckus Makers. It was amazing. It truly was. So many levels, so many reasons. And even though I know Denver’s coming up, I just want to hear what you have planned. I’m assuming people who are listening in don’t either. If you could kind of go from a high level, view the whole thing and tell us what you have planned for all of us Ruckus Makers.

Daniel (07:16):
When it comes to cooking, do you know that I make my own hummus back at home? Maybe like a special bonus for coming to Denver. I’ll give everybody my hummus recipe. If you come to the event. I’m gonna give you the recipe.

Mitch (07:39):
Maybe a Minic cookbook. You could throw in a few of your other recipes, because I know you cook quite a bit.

Daniel (07:45):
That would be a fun little bonus. It’s funny that you’re bringing that up because D Money, who’s not too far from you up there? In Northern California, once I gave master to my members, my mom’s famous french toast recipe and he cooked it for his family and his boys love it. His kids love it too. He has a daughter as well, but he’s also cooked it for his staff who also love it. And that’s what makes it world famous French toast. I think we are onto an idea here. If I have enough time to put together the book and have it printed, please help remind me. You’ll get my mom’s famous french toast recipe. You’ll get my homemade world famous hummus recipe. And not only that, you’re gonna get a brand new framework that I’m teaching Ruckus Makers and leaders for the first time, which I’m calling the Leadership Optimization Compass. One of my favorite coats comes from Seneca who says basically “if you don’t know to which port you’re sailing, no wind is favorable.” I shared it at the vision event too, but to me it’s compass is about direction. This event’s not about vision, but it’s about direction. It’s about optimizing your personal direction. A lot of us go to events and it’s like, oh, cool, let me learn how to do professional learning communities better. Let me go learn about executive functioning. All this stuff’s good grading. Discipline, restorative practices and stuff. This event has one focus, you the individual leader, because, you know as this culture, well says behind me, when, when you get better, everybody wins. jFK said, When a rising tide you know, a rising tide lifts all boats. It’s all about you getting better because your community will, will benefit. And if there was a guiding question, the guiding question would be this, what would be possible if you were operating at your personal best consistently every day next year, what would be impossible on your campus? . That kind of question excites me. We’re gonna figure out the answer at the live event. I’m sure you have questions about what makes it special, how it’s different and stuff. We’ve got some really cool stuff planned for Ruckus Makers.

Mitch (10:12):
Coming off of New Mexico and my experience there I can only imagine it’s gonna be a life changer and a game changer. And that even intrigues me as I’m not a school leader by choice, no offense, everybody. But I have the privilege of working with school and district leaders every day all around the country. And it’s rare when you meet somebody who seems like they’re operating at their personal best, which has so many different facets to it. That’s not just a work thing. Operating at your personal best. I would hope for any, any leaders out there at the very least, it’s just intriguing because I do think that’s possible. I have met individuals that I think are in that space. But it’s such a big job. I get the challenge there. But I love compasses. I love the kind of analogy that provides, will you take a deeper dive for us specifically, or we is that, am I pulling back the cover too early on that, but the optimization compass.Tell us a little bit more about that.

Daniel (11:31):
There’s four parts to the framework. Mitch, if you think about Compass, when I’m thinking about up here, the brain, that kind of stuff, that’s mindset. So that’s your head. When I think about my gut, I’m thinking about relationships and feeling full. Doesn’t a great relationship fill you? Do you know what I mean? And so that’s something I think about. I’m right-handed, so it doesn’t matter, is it east, west or whatever, but part of it’s vitality and our physicality to be honest, and I’ll share some statistics at the event and that kind of thing to really shock and wake people up. But I know school leaders neglect their health, their physical health. There’s a real cost to this and it’s not good. I want to wake people up and start making a plan about how you’re gonna really take care of yourself. School leaders need somebody to say that. And that’s how I show up in this world. And then the last part too the heart, at least for me now we’re talking about awareness and the inner journey. It’s four parts, mindset, relationship, your physical vitality, and your inner journey, your awareness. That’s how it’s built.

Mitch (12:46):
What makes, and I know some of this, if there’s any parallels from New Mexico, but telling us, thanks for explaining the optimization compass and kind of that work, which of course will kind of be the fabric of this live event in Denver this summer. Beautiful place by the way. Great choice. I’m glad it’s not somewhere hot or something like that. It’ll be gorgeous. What makes BLBS events different? I can just say maybe I’m priming this if we didn’t plan any of this, everybody, if you’re listening we’re just kind of chatting here. But this is not called the BLBS conference or the Rucker Ruckus Maker Nation conference. Tell us what’s different, what stands out in this?

Daniel (13:48):
I just wanna give a shout out to Linda, my friend Linda. And hello Linda, I miss you and hope you’re doing well. She talked about physical and mental, like these costs. Ignoring that stuff that actually translates to financial ones later. So thank you for, for pointing that out, Linda. So what makes things different? I think our experience, well, I call it experience number one because I’m thinking from start to finish, even from the moment you sign up. But like, how do you experience it in a different way, like an event and conference. It feels very transactional and you’re there and you’re gone. And, and that’s pretty much it. But for me, I know listen, my mentor always said you want to be, you have a choice. An inch, inch wide and a mile deep, or a mile wide and an inch deep.

And I would rather focus on depth. And the fact is, many of the conferences that will be available to educators and to Ruckus Makers this summer, they’ll have a million sessions over a handful of days. It’s really interesting on a variety of topics. And that’s, that could be seen as a strength. You can get a taste of all this stuff, but to me it lacks depth, it’s shallow. You don’t become an expert in just an hour going to a workshop. So it’s like what are you doing with your time? So that’s one edge I chose going deep on the Leadership Optimization Compass versus 60 topics, which I could do, but that’s just not how I roll. Another main difference too is at many events available to educators and Ruckus Makers this summer, there’ll be a lot of people.

And our event is for 50 people, that’s it. 50 caps. Plus my team. So there might be, there’ll be like 56 total, but yeah, cap it at 50. Could I do a bigger event? Probably, Will I in the future? Probably not. You know, and why? I want to have space for relationships to flourish in intimacy. I want individuals who come to get attention from me, from the other BLBS coaches from their colleagues. Plus some people get lost or even like, sort of triggered by massive events. I’ve gone to big events and I’ve just seen all the flood of the sea of humanity and I was just like, nah. I’ve hung out in my hotel room. Literally I’ve done that.

Daniel (16:27):
To be clear, this is not an event only for introverts or something like that. I’m just saying you’re gonna get personalized, real individual attention that you’re not gonna get at a larger experience. What’s the benefit of a larger experience? There’s a lot of energy with a huge crowd. Think Lala Palusia, any concert you go to, like, that’s pretty cool. But for me it’s more like the stripped back. Does MTV still even do unplugged? Whether it was Nirvana Unplugged or Jay-Z unplugged, like it’s stripped down. Just the lyrics with the musician there and acoustic instruments, it has a different feel and I like that. Okay, so that’s another difference. We’re gonna do remarkable stuff. So I dare you to name any other event in education where people go to learn world class leadership training. And then they go make a moment that they’ll remember forever in their life. Here’s how I figured it out. Last year in Taos, I sort of made a mistake. I invited you out a day early so we could hang out, wear our red hats and get some great food. But what do we also do? We went on hikes. I’m laughing because that’s part of the Red Hat story. Wasn’t that hike a memorable experience? .

Mitch (18:02):

Daniel (18:03):
Well, and then after the event, people went home and the mistake I made too. I took my team. It wasn’t a mistake to take my team hiking, that was awesome. But we went into this canyon gorge and saw all sorts of like, just amazing stuff. I thought, dang it, this brought us so close, which was cool and, and I should continue to do team things, but wow, what if we had kept the discussion around vision or kept the experience, brought the event, the experience out into something adventure related. And brought people on the hike. That would’ve made everything better too. So this year, Mitch, we are gonna go whitewater rafting. We’re heading out west of Denver. I’ve already booked the tour company. Just need to give ’em a final number in a few months.

Daniel (18:55):
We’re gonna go whitewater rafting right now. I know that not everybody will be comfortable with that. So that’s optional. I think most people will say yes. Most people so far have, if they’re not doing it, then they’ll have a data to explore the city or they can go hike in or keep implementing, which is another difference I’ll talk about in just a second. But basically we’re, we’re gonna go continue to talk about leadership. And then whitewater raft, so that, yeah, that final, that final difference, I should have said it before the whitewater rafting is when you have a sea of people without individual attention, when you have a million different sessions. In shallow versus depth of content, you also are just introduced to ideas. It’s not like you’re really taking action on them. So if you wanna create bigger results for your campus, you need to implement. I say ideas are great, but they’re not the greatest. What’s better than ideas? Taking action. And so we’ll have an abundance of space to implement and an abundance of space to network to hear how others are doing it and thinking through it. And it’s really something that sets us apart from everything else.

Mitch (20:08):
I noticed that in New Mexico. One of the things I appreciated was just the pace, kind of the cadence of the time together. And not only scheduling, but really kind of honoring time, just space. Having some time for us in groups to hear each other’s stories, like get ideas on things we’d learned at the event. And then also time alone. With this event. And so I can see, see that happening just from my experience. What takes us even maybe a little bit deeper, I dunno if it’s a deeper dive or keep teasing that out a little bit. What results, there are some of that. I think of a traditional conference you’re going to and it’s like, I have these goals in mine and I’m gonna call them. I learned this, its results. What do you see people walking away from? I also just wanted to echo what you said that it doesn’t even sound like the event’s meant to have a beginning and an end, although it will because it’s a live event, but yeah. Yeah. It’s the beginning of something new.

Daniel (21:23):
You can expect when it comes to mindset I’m definitely gonna introduce and you’re gonna start to use different mental models which will help you expand your ability to recognize challenges on campus and to be able to solve those. So here’s a very easy one.The other day I’m pulling out of my driveway. It’s a relatively busy street, but not it’s not like the interstate. And I just pulled out like normal and there was some guy really booking it down the street. You’re supposed to be going 30, dude’s going like probably 55, 60. As I started to pull out, I didn’t see him, but as I’m pulling out, he’s flying. And he starts honking at me and tells me I’m number one. You know what I mean?

Daniel (22:16):
I’m sure there’s a story that he’s telling himself and I’m like the world’s worst person or whatever. But the mental model is like hamlin’s razor. And the maybe I teach us at the event, maybe not, but all Hanlon’s Razor teaches us is this, like, often we attribute somebody’s decision, like just me exiting my property to go, I think I was going to Home Depot with AlBA actually to look at some new vanities. And he probably thought I was trying to ruin his day. Or that I’m some jerk and evil, whatever, when it was just like, oh, I didn’t see him. So often we attribute to people like all these reasons for malice that they were out to get us versus they made a simple mistake or maybe they were incompetent or whatever.

Daniel (23:09):
You know what I mean? So that’s a mental model that you could use. And there’ll be many more that we’re gonna discuss and talk about how to apply to make us smarter and make better decisions and be more effective as leaders. I think, I know actually we need resilient, gritty leaders. Obviously we talk about this a lot, but there’s this idea of being an anti-fragile leader. Like what does that mean? The thing is, is leadership gonna be tough? You’re gonna have challenges next year. It might be the hardest year you’ve ever been a leader. That’s okay. How do you develop a mindset so you can consistently weather the storm? I don’t remember the Marcus Aurelius quote exactly, but in his journal meditations. He talks about being like a rock. Basically that the waves come and crash and they continue to crash over it, but you are still steady is the gist of the quote.

Daniel (24:10):
I’m gonna teach you how to be steady in stormy weather to storm. And then if there’s time, I don’t know about this, but there’s what I call these 15 choices that all the best Ruckus Makers make in order to optimize their performance. So that’s just mindset, relationships. I won’t tell stories, I’m just gonna go through the list really quick. But relationships, design and implement a system to manage relationships effectively on campus. Right leverage the ripple effect tool. The idea there is when you have a new project initiative or whatever, don’t you want that to spread throughout the school and be adopted more readily or a little bit quicker? I’ve got a tool for that. I’m gonna show you it, and then we’re gonna share, swap, and steal all the best culture building strategies that people at the experience have. We’re just gonna crowdsource like a little, little brain trust.

Daniel (25:01):
And make that happen, which is gonna be awesome. Vitality and awareness. I’ll do this really quickly. Review the fundamentals of what I call the Ruckus Maker mindset tool. And that is all about the fundamentals. And we’re gonna look at, like I said, research from just like our vitality, our health, how that impacts us, and how we could build an ideal week, which I’m kind of known for, to support our own thriving in work. And then awareness. We’re gonna practice mindfulness and investigate our unique leadership experience. And what that tells us, people may or may not know. I’m actually going through a two year program to become a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher, which begins in March. I’ll start bringing those tools and I went to a seven day mindful right. Silent day retreat, which was cool.

Daniel (25:52):
So it helps you as a leader. Slows you down. And then finally there’s a tool Dan Sullivan created that I’m introduced called the No Wasted Experience Tool. And essentially, how do you learn from the biggest mistakes you make as a leader so that they are a, actually seen as a positive and a growth mindset sort of leverage point and B you know, what are things within your control so that they don’t happen again. You know, history repeats itself if you let it. Those are very concrete results that you can get from coming to the Denver event.

Mitch (26:27):
So it’s obviously gonna be pretty epic and it’s gonna be very different. I It’s gonna be epic. I’m coming. I think we’ve talked about this, it’s fun to learn more about it. I kind of signed up whether I knew anything or not. And it happens to be that my wife and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year. If I’m here and not traveling with her and my kids to celebrate I am there. There’s gonna be some people that don’t get up in it you know, don’t, don’t get there and get, make that 50% cutoff. I have a very dear friend in Arizona who is a leader in a county office of Ed who’s signed up and she’s coming and might even bring some of her team. So people are jumping on board, there’s no doubt about it. But still some won’t. Some won’t. I don’t like this. I get asked this question sometimes on podcasts. It’ll be like, so we know this lays the foundation for learning. We know it sets students up for success. I’m gonna ask you that same thing. Here’s this amazing place, in the middle of the country making it. I’m thinking you kind of were strategic there, easier to get to for everybody or yeah, more central, maybe not easier, beautiful place. If you’ve never been in the Rockies place life changing events, some won’t sign up still. So I’m gonna ask you that hard question, why,

Daniel (28:06):
There’s some things that are outta your control. Those are valid reasons. It’s somebody who they actually signed up for and now her family are coming into town. So partners like, Hey, you need to be here, type of thing. Oh, all right, shoot. But outside of that type of stuffI divide school leaders into two camps, Ruckus Makers. They invest in their continuous growth challenges, and the status quo designs the future of school now. And then the other camp is played with safe principles. Who really do all their best to protect tradition, not grow themselves. They’re just fine with how, how things are going and this kind of stuff. Safe principles, love excuses that’s another differentiator. Ruckus Makers don’t make excuses. And so they play it safe.

Daniel (28:59):
The easy ones are time and money. I don’t have the time to go. I’ve got too much or whatever, or I don’t have the money to goI can’t find it. And it’s just simply not true. You always have time. You always have money for stuff that you prioritize. And so the rub is this, Mitch, this event’s about you are you telling me you don’t prioritize? Are you getting better? You know what I mean? I have a hard time with that. The other thing that actually hurts on an emotional level is like, I know people will miss out because again, we can see it here. When you get better, everybody wins. That’s true. I think we can all agree That’s true. Guess what? The opposite is true.

Daniel (29:46):
If you’re not getting better, your campus, your community’s losing. Even if you’re just maintaining where you’re at, I think you’re stagnating. Like you’re regressing as a leader. Everybody else is starting to lap you. They’re getting better. So you have to make a choice. Is it Ruckus Maker or play it safe principle. If your family’s not in town on July 14th and 16th, then you have no excuse. You gotta make it work. But if you’re not in the first 50, then you’re in trouble. The other thing, I think that and this is a mindset thing, I think all leaders have trouble prioritizing their own development. They’d rather invest in their teachers. I’ve seen this first and you can’t pour from an empty cup. I’m sure you’ve, I could have had that made. I say that all the time.

Daniel (30:37):
If you don’t prioritize yourself, take care of yourself. Like BS is pro principle. We’re doing an event that’s just about you. It’s not about all the other stuff. What’s gonna happen at, at what point are you gonna stand up for yourself? At what point do you say yes and do something for yourself? I’m not saying don’t do things for others or be a servant leader, of course I’m saying don’t do that. And you are the one that always loses. That’s not fair. It’s not fair actually to the campus. It’s actually a disservice to those that you think you’re actually prioritizing. I guess one way to think about it is like, Hey, I’ve got kids and I’m not gonna do everything in my power to learn and invest in my ability to be a great parent.

Daniel (31:33):
I’m just gonna show up like this, like an adult that isn’t aware of what’s going on, and he has no business, like having little young ones to develop and who really suffers. The kids will. Put yourself first. That’s what I’m trying to say. All right. I’m enjoying this conversation. Mitch, but we gotta get in. Some sponsor reads, including one from Organized Binder. Let’s start there. Today’s show is proudly sponsored by Organized Binder, founded by this guy himself, the amazing Mitch Weathers and Organized Binders, a program which gives students daily exposure to executive functioning skills like goal setting, reflective learning time, and task management, studies, strategies, organizational skills, and more organized binders. Color coded system is implemented by the teacher through a parallel process with students helping them create here. It is a predictable and dependable classroom routine, which is why we love Organized Binder.

Daniel (32:38):
Learn more and improve your students’ executive [email protected]. Learn how to successfully navigate change, shape your school’s success, and empower your teams with Harvard certificate and school management and leadership. Get an online PD that fits your schedule. Courses include leading change, leading school strategy, and innovation. Leading people and leading learning. Apply today at BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/harvard. And teachers use Teach FX to record a lesson and automatically get personalized insights into their classroom conversation patterns in teacher practices. See Teach FX for yourself, and learn about special partnership options for Ruckus speakers. And you can get [email protected]/blbs. We’re back, Danny and Mitch. We should have worn our red hats.

Daniel (33:43):
For a podcast, we should do it. I think maybe if people wanna experience us in the Red Hats, by the way, if you haven’t heard that story, go back to the last podcast I did with Mitch. He was talking about executive functioning. Go to organized binder.com/ef and sign up for his free webinar workshop. It’s like five or six and goes through executive functioning and it actually teaches you how to do it in your class. Anyways, we tell our Red Hat story on that podcast. The only other place you’re gonna get it is if you come to the live event. We’ll have our, we’ll have our red hats there. We always do. So we had ’em in New Mexico. Have ’em in Colorado. All right, speaking of the last live event and having our red hats tell us just from like a Ruckus Maker experience. You were there live. Why was the event special to you, Mitch?

Mitch (34:35):
I’ve actually thought a lot about this and one of the things that you’ve hit on with limiting the number that was really special and, and to be honest, kind of intimidating because going into that event I knew some people through mastermind interactions and just being a part of the Ruckus Maker nation and knowing you for so many years now, but I didn’t know them. I didn’t know anybody but you and I kind of showed up really wanting to support you and, and be there, but it was, it was the intimacy of it, you know? And I think that I think you could if it’s too small, but maybe it’s too that too intimate or something, but that 25 to 50 range it just allowed for continual ongoing fun and meaningful conversations. And the other thing is the leaders that were there, it wasn’t, it was, there was a diversity of leaders.

Mitch (35:43):
Both in terms of role, how long they’ve been leading type of school, age, gender, ethnicity, race. I mean, it really was for such an intimate group, it was, it was quite diverse. And, and because of the way the event was structured, and I had mentioned this earlier, just allowed, it was that time piece. I’ve talked to leaders and educatorsI get the opportunity to speak at a lot of conferences. And when you, if you get time to talk to somebody beyond the five minutes after your talk, if it’s like, Hey, I’ll stick around if anybody wants to chat. Like, if you happen to be sitting where they are at lunch or everything, there’s a certain pace to it, it can not actually be kind of fatiguing, even if even a positive event. I just felt like people could just sit in, in space together and learn.

Mitch (36:34):
There would be very, like we were asking like what are takeaways? What’s this new optimization compass that you’re unveiling? One thing you are super gifted at, my friend is teaching. It’s one of your gifts, it’s truly one of your gifts. And I’ve been in the room now quite a few times when you’re teaching or on top of a mountain. I’ve actually been on top of a mountain when Danny was giving, that’s a story. The top. Yeah, that was pretty fascinating. You got stuck on the mountain. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. But Danny is a great teacher and I enjoy being in the room whenever you’re teaching anything. And so, but it wasn’t just that and then a workshop, and then lunch, and then this, and then this, and then this. It was, you would create space for people to dialogue or be quiet by themselves and journal, and then all of that would come back with some time to even share out and debrief.

Mitch (37:33):
It’s the process. It’s, it’s what you were saying, it’s not the, it’s not a volume thing, it’s a depth thing. And you need time with that work. What was really special to me. And Towson, it matters to me as my soul is that nature piece. So even if you don’t go whitewater rafting, where this is, you can be outside and experience it. Beauty and nature. And I think that’s important. I would tell everybody it, the relationships were key, just making friends, not just networking. People doing good things and all over the place and hearing their stories and getting to know them. Another thing, kudos to your team or whoever planned it. Hey everybody, the food was delicious. And I don’t know if you’ve been to conferences where the food’s either subpar or not provided. That’s not at least that was not the case in New Mexico. Again, I haven’t asked, you about all this in Denver yet, but I’m only assuming there’ll be your hummus, some french toast, but maybe some other fruit

Daniel (38:42):
Those recipes for sure. This time. I decided to drop the price of the ticket to make it more accessible. The meals actually won’t be included like it was last time, but that it’s less expensive. However, there’s incredible food all around and there’ll be options to dine together. It’s just not gonna be the all inclusive type of package that we had. That’s cool. And to be quite honest too, so this is a leadership lesson. I’m glad you brought it up. I’m not ashamed to admit this. It was very stressful putting that all together. So in terms of saying, Hey, your room is included, your food’s on, like, that’s nice because there were no decisions to be made. Do you eat meat, not eat meat?

Daniel (39:30):
Like, it was pretty easy in that sense, but for me, logistically and operationally, it was more stress than I wanted to absorb. And so sometimes here’s the leadership lesson for the Ruckus Maker watching or listening. Often we think we have to add more and more to make an incredible whatever. I’m gonna mess it up. I’m not sure if it was, I think it was Michael Land, no. Was Leonard da Vinci. He said perfection is achieved not when there’s nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away. And so it’s like, okay, it’s not less is more. We’ve heard this a million times. This way people have a few more options. Because the place we’re staying at, it’s really baller. It’s a baller property. Yeah. And so do you wanna stay there? That’s your choice. Do you wanna find a more affordable option? Or even a Totally up to you. You could do however you wanna roll, but it’s being held at a property called Le Meridien supposedly has the best rooftop bar in the city. And you can only imagine what the views are like there in Denver. So it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be awesome for sure.

Mitch (40:40):
It’ll be gorgeous. Denver. I was there last winter for a conference. I would’ve much rather been there in the summer. It’ll be beautiful. Let’s go back real quick. I think your guiding question is worth pondering a little bit more because that’s truly, as I’m hearing you talk, that’s the work, that’s the focus helping people get some clarity around that. Like you, you had said earlier, and I wrote it down so I wouldn’t remember what, what would be possible if you were operating at your personal best? How would you answer that question? What would be possible?

Daniel (41:27):
There’s three areas I want to grow, and so I think, well, I know operating at my personal best will help, will help in these areas. I’m thinking about impact at scale. And I’m not bash to talk about wanting to serve more Ruckus Makers and, and we’re very tight in how we serve. We’re very focused, and that’s a leadership blessing. Schools get this wrong all the time, trying to be everything to everybody. At Better Leaders, better Schools, we do three things. We support leaders in the Mastermind community, which is a weekly leadership development experience. Then we have the principal success path, and that’s a 10 week experience. It has a clear start and end date, and it’s project-based. There’s no projects in the mastermind. There’s projects you implement in the principal success path, and we’re in week three of the path right now.

Daniel (42:15):
And then the third way we support is through live events. And of course there’s all the free content, but so impact at scale. Scaling all of that, two better at developing my team. Because the only way to scale right, is to build just the best team ever, which I do have in multiplying yourself and creating space for them to bring their own unique personality. And talents and strengths to the table. And that serves our people so well. . I was actually really scared in July. I made a crazy decision and for my birthday I decided it was Michelangelo. Okay, thanks Peter. I was just gonna say, Peter’s fact checking your way to be Peter. Peter, he’s a new new friend in the network. I love that. The gift I gave myself was I have this heart for serving more leaders and I have to get out of the way.

Daniel (43:12):
As the leader of BLBS, as a leader of any organization, you’re the greatest opportunity. The chief bottleneck and that chief bottleneck part is difficult for me to swallow. I stepped away from coaching and facilitating the majority of the masterminds. At the time we might’ve had seven cohorts and I was facilitating four. And the fear was, if I step away, is everybody else gonna step away? Are they gonna stick around? But my book Mastermind became a bestseller. And I said, well, I believe in this idea and this idea transforming education. It’s not about Danny. It’s not Danny’s show. It’s gotta be about the model and how we serve leaders. So fortunately people didn’t leave and it only grew from seven cohorts to 11 cohorts now.

Daniel (44:10):
Even have one that’s that quickly in a, in a six months. And we now have a group that’s focused on Europe ,Africa, in the Middle East too, because before they’d have to be up at like two in the morning, three in the morning, that’s not sustainable. And now it’s 7:00 PM. I think it’s Paris time on Mondays. And shout out to Joe who leads that group, shout out to the whole team. I mean I couldn’t do this right without Paige and Jessey and Jean and Karine and I don’t think I missed anybody there in terms of coaches. Okay. so scaling, developing that team. because it’s better for those we serve and the only way we can scale and then focusing on being around for family. because it could be a challenge to turn this thing off.

Daniel (45:00):
I love it. I could do this all day every day. Nonstop. I think you could too. And so I don’t wanna be that way and I want to be more there. Even right now it’s my wife and our puppy. But we hope one day to have children in the equation. But even if it’s just my wife and the puppy forever, both of them actually deserve more of my attention. So if I’m operating at my best, that’s what’s happening. Scale, develop a team, and be present with family. That’s how I’d answer that.

Mitch (45:33):
I appreciate that man. I think as you always do, the transparency in your own process, I mean, there’s life lessons for everybody that’ll be in. What I’m hearing you, and if I had to guess, you’ll, this will be about you and your growth too. Oh yeah. There’s already obvious takeaways in what you’re saying for every school leader. I mean, just, just the family piece alone and, and that passion. Like, I could do this all the time. I mean, I like it all the time, but I lead this school or district or network, whatever it is. Like I’m passionate about that. Yeah. But that balance is key. Well, I think you and I could probably do this speaking all day. You wanna sit around and talk, but what is there? Is there? Let’s Do it. Don’t

Mitch (46:20):
Speaking of family, what’s like, give us one firm just take away what do you wanna leave the Ruckus Maker out there, or the person who’s listening in and, and doesn’t know anything about it yet, or, and everyone in between. Give us one parting thought.

Daniel (46:51):
What would it be like to experience something different, something truly remarkable? And to put yourself first in kicking off the 224 school year that way. Remember the guiding question is what would be possible if you were consistently operating at your best? And that’s what we’re gonna answer, help you answer in Denver. So if you go to Better Leaders, better schools.com/denver 2023, you can grab your spot full. I think we talked about there’s only room for 50, 28 people have actually already signed up and I haven’t even been talking about it. If you can’t tell in Jan or February here, we’re gonna really be talking about it a lot. This event will sell out and we would love to see you there. It’d be a pleasure to serve you. Thanks for having me on the show, Mitch.

Mitch (47:40):
Anytime. Thanks for coming on the show. Appreciate it.

Daniel  (47:46):
Thanks for listening to The Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast, Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel better leaders better schools.com or hit me up on Twitter at @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 at @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.”



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