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The Leadership Optimization Compass
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Daniel: Are you growing in every area of your leadership that should be growing? I think about growing my leadership, like working out. Have you ever seen those guys at the gym, the ones that have massive chests, shoulders? Those of us who want bigger shoulders admire. They probably crunch and curl Subaru Foresters, which is what I drive. When you look at their legs, they’re teeny tiny, like matchsticks. They’re so thin you can probably kick through them and they would instantly shatter. Don’t let that be you. You want to work out every part of your body, every part of your leadership as a Ruckus Maker. Those guys look silly at the gym and you potentially look silly as a leader if you’re only developing your metaphorical biceps while ignoring your legs. Lucky for you, today’s special podcast episode is all about introducing a brand spanking new framework to you, one that I’m calling the Leadership Optimization Compass, and like a compass that points north, south, east and west. It has four parts: wisdom, awareness, relationships and vitality. Hey, it’s Danny, and welcome to the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast, a show for Ruckus Makers, those leaders who invest in their continuous growth to challenge the status quo in design.
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Daniel: I am pumped because I don’t always do a special show. You’re going to want to take notes if you’re driving, save the episode or listen to the episode, replay it later when you’re somewhere you have a notepad or maybe an app where you can take notes. Believe me, there’s a lot of good information that you’ll be inspired to apply that will help you become a better leader. Today we’re talking about a new framework I’ve created called the Leadership Optimization Compass. Like a compass with its four directions north, south, east and west, we have wisdom, awareness, relationships and vitality. Wisdom is seeded with the mind relationships in our belly, awareness over our heart and strength over our right hand. And that’s because that’s my dominant hand and it just makes sense there in our right hand. If you don’t know me yet, if you haven’t been listening to this podcast since 2015, who is this guy talking to? Hello, I’m Danny Bauer. I am the founder and Chief Ruckus Maker at Better Leaders, Better Schools. I started this show back in 2015, and if you fast forward to today, it has nearly 2 million downloads. And this podcast you’re listening to right now is ranked in the top 0.5% of all shows worldwide. That’s in every industry, that’s in every niche, that’s in every podcast that’s on your phone that you listen to. This one ranks in the top 0.5%, and that’s out of almost 3 million podcasts. My latest book, Mastermind Unlocking Talent within Every School Leader, became a best seller the last week of September. My mission is to connect, grow and mentor every single leader who wants to level up. I believe that everybody wins when you get better. Since 2015, I’ve had the privilege to coach and mentor hundreds of school leaders, school leaders, just like you and I thought coaching and running masterminds and creating content like this, which we can all admit right, has been very successful. I thought that was my superpower. But you know what? There’s a lesson here. I have a good friend, Mitch Weathers. He runs the company called Organized Binder that’s been a sponsor of our show forever. He reflected back to me after my first live event. Danny, you do all those things, amazingly, but your real superpower is putting on live events. I never would have known that without my friendship with Mitch. So, Mitch, if you’re listening, thank you for that reflection. The leadership lesson here for you is do you have people in your life around you that can speak the truth, that can encourage them and can say those positive messages that you need to hear so that you can be at your best? You’re going to love today’s show, especially if you hate the weather where you live in January, which I’m going to explain more later in the podcast. You’re going to love today’s podcast. If your leadership is strong in one area, remember the silly looking guy at the gym but needs to be bolstered in others, you’re going to love today’s podcast. If you just need an opportunity to be re-energized or re-inspired. I created the Leadership Optimization Compass again, north, south, east and west. We’re talking about wisdom, relationships, awareness and vitality. This is an important system because as leaders we might focus on one area. A lot of times I love to learn. Learner is one of my top strengths when I took Strengthsfinder assessment, so I’m constantly learning more tools. But if I think about learning only around the “leadership” topic or making decisions, handling hard conversations and neglecting the rest, I’m missing out on a major opportunity to grow myself. In my view, the top three benefits of using the Leadership Optimization Compass and not letting all parts of our leadership atrophy. It’s building a balanced personal leadership approach. Would you benefit from building a balanced personal leadership approach? It’s addressing aspects of leadership that you might have been ignoring for far too long. A lot of times for many leaders, this might be the physical aspect. What we eat or if we eat it all or the amount of sleep we get, or if we actually do anything that would be considered physical fitness. The biggest benefit is really putting all the pieces together. Do you remember the show back in the eighties, Voltron? I love that show. I love cartoons. I love comics. Still do to this day. Voltron, let’s agree, Voltron was super cool. Not only was he a tremendous, amazing robot when assembled, there was the Black Lion. Red Lion, Blue lion. Green Lion, Yellow Lion. I think back in the day I knew I had all those lions and I think I had Voltron Castle, but then you could put them together to create Voltron. The most epic robot to do just epic robot stuff. The biggest benefit of leadership optimization or implementing the Leadership Optimization Compass is that you take all your metaphorical lions, you put them together and boom, you are Voltron, which is really a metaphor. Voltron was a metaphor for Ruckus Makers back in the 1980s.
Daniel: I got a lot to share on this Leadership Optimization Compass . Let’s start with the North. This is our mind center, our seat of wisdom. The more models we have, the better able we are to solve problems. But if we don’t have the models, we become the proverbial man with a hammer. To the man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. If you only have one model, you will fit whatever problem you face to the model you have. And that comes from Shane Parrish, who is one of my favorite bloggers and thinkers and leaders out there. You’ve heard this before. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. An example of a mental model, if you’ve never heard this term before, one of my favorite ones is that the map is not the territory. The map is not the territory. Think about this. What’s your go to map? Do you use a map when you navigate in your car? I don’t know why, even when I know where I’m going, I like seeing the map. It’s fun. I’ve always been interested in maps. I buy maps wherever I live. We have those in our house and back in the day. I tried Apple maps. Apple Maps is now good. They used to really suck, if we’re honest. I don’t remember where I was navigating in Chicago. Let’s say this was like 2012. I don’t know. It was a while ago, at least over a decade ago. I remember trying to get to wherever I was supposed to go. And the map led me to an alley, a dead end alley. I know that’s not the destination. I was probably trying to go to, like an arcade bar or a pizza place or something fun, maybe see some music in the city. I know I wasn’t trying to go to an alley, and this is a mental model. The map is not the territory. The territory where I found myself was an alley. The map said I arrived at my destination. These two ideas were not aligned. One was perceived reality. The other was real. The authentic reality we experience each day as leaders, we might get caught up. In social media. Again, the map is not the territory. You might have some nasty parent page that bashes your school. That’s no fun. It’s an issue and a challenge to address. But the map is not the territory. It’s helpful to have a mental model like this to remember that there’s things that we think represent what’s really happening in reality and then there’s real life. Don’t forget that real life is what we need to be paying attention to. So, that is just one example of a mental model. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of mental models that you can use. One that I remember too, is Hanlon’s Razor. And this mental model just basically reminds us that don’t attribute to malice what can be often described as stupidity, which I think was probably written by Hanlon, whoever that was. But the idea is Don’t you sometimes take things probably a little too personally, whether it’s on the road and somebody cut you off or it’s in a staff meeting and somebody laughs at an inopportune time? Daggers from your eyes. You think this person is out to get you and that they’re a threat? Or they might have just done something stupid in the moment? They had nothing at all to do with you. Once you have that mental model, you don’t want to be naive. Sometimes people might be out to get you, but nine times out of ten, they’re just doing something out of incompetence or stupidity or silliness. Breathe. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Let it go. Those are some examples of mental models. Before we move on, there’s a couple of books I want to suggest. There’s a whole series of books called The Great Mental Models. And remember the quote I opened this section with? Those are by Shane Parrish over at Farnam Street. Or you could check out a massive book. I mean, this one is weighty. It is heavy. You could do some bicep curls with this book. Yes, you can. It’s called Poor Charlie’s Almanac. It’s all about Charlie Munger, and it’s the wit and wisdom of this man. There’s tons of mental models in there, too, for you as well. When you have mental models, you have more tools at your disposal and you become a more effective leader. Or like the quote I shared earlier, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That’s all I have to say about the wisdom part of the Leadership Optimization Compass .
Daniel: Let’s move south to our belly. South where we feel full after a satiating meal, full. This is how we can feel too, when we make great deposits into our relationships. Theodore Roosevelt said “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” Roosevelt is also right, attributed the quote. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Relationships are the foundation of your success. You’re in the results business and you won’t be able to accomplish the kind of results that you dream of unless you build strong relationships. In addition to incompetence, being unskillful in managing relationships is probably the quickest path to leadership in effectiveness. I’ve talked about this topic a lot on my show about how to build strong relationships, create remarkable cultures. That is a favorite topic of mine and an idea that I love and you know me and that’s why the podcast has been so successful. I love to find tools, especially tools outside of education, and build a bridge and talk about how we can use them in education. One of those tools from business is this idea of a CRM. I actually use a CRM while running the business side of things on Better Leaders, Better Schools. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management System. That’s what it is. Any business, but in this case, Ruckus Maker, any school. According to what Theodore Roosevelt said, “leadership is about relationships.” If you’re managing those relationships well and you are implementing a system that allows you to stay on top of relationships, stay tuned in to important parts of people’s lives. Birthdays, anniversaries, kids. What the kids are up to hopes, dreams, aspirations. Whenever you’re having those impromptu conversations, or maybe it’s a formal sit down 15 minutes. Let me get to know you better. Or a survey you put out to your staff. All that data and the human beings you serve, the adults in your building, you should be putting that somewhere organized, systematized, categorized by each individual and have a way to regularly go back to those things to review your notes so you can check in and make great deposits into the relationships within your building. So that makes sense. I’ve written articles about this. If you receive the exclusive and I guess somewhat secret newsletter, I have a print newsletter that I send to mastermind members and then some very special people, folks that have gone through the Principles Success Path or somehow if I’ve gotten my address, I send that out to a bunch of people, hundreds, hundreds for free. I’ve talked about it there too, so that’s all I have to say about relationships. You might build a system like a CRM, but for your school, so a staff relationship management system or you can do a million things search my blog, there’s a ton of resources there. I’m building strong relationships.
Daniel: Now to the east of our compass, and if we’re looking at our bodies, that would be the left side of our body. And so that’s where our hearts reside. This symbolizes the heart, the center of awareness. QUESTION: Do you want to be an enlightened leader? Check out here what Deepak Chopra has to say on the topic. “Enlightened leadership is spiritual.” If we understand spirituality, not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology, but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention. Think about that last part of the quote and I’ll read it again, but let’s frame it this way. How much more effective as a leader would you be if you increase the capacity? To be more honest, to be good, to appreciate beauty, love and compassion. To trust your gut or intuition. To be creative. To have insight and focused attention, Obviously, you would be a much better leader. I will tell you that mindfulness training has increased my awareness and has been the number one sort of secret tactic that I use to improve and scale my leadership and the results I have created. I can see a direct correlation. The more I’ve deposited into mindfulness and meditation training, the more better leaders, better schools have grown. Ages ago maybe is either 2016, it might have been 2017. We read Search Inside Yourself with the Mastermind. This was a book about mindfulness. It was written by an early Google employee who was an engineer and then taught the most popular internal course on the Google campus, which had to do with mindfulness and how that made better employees at Google and not even better employees, but just happier human beings, more content, stronger relationships, blah, blah, blah. So this has been my secret leadership tactic and it’s so important to me. I’ve actually enrolled. It’s going to happen in October here. I’ve enrolled in my first six night, seven day meditation and mindfulness retreat. And I don’t know what it’s going to be like, and I am so excited. I know on the other side of it I am going to be a changed human being and I will have scaled my leadership and the value that I create for you. The reason I’m doing that six nights, seven day retreat is it’s a prerequisite for a two year program taught by Jack Cornfield and Tara Brach to people in the West in the US who brought Eastern meditation and mindfulness training and philosophy to our country. It’s so cool to be a part of this program because one of the ways I want to create more value for Ruckus Makers is to start offering these mindfulness experiences. I don’t know exactly what they’re going to be like yet, but I know they’re going to help you be a better leader 100%. When it comes to meditation, my favorite app is one called Waking Up, and that app I learned recently and the founder Sam mentioned, if he could distill all sorts of the mindfulness training that he’s had for decades and the wisdom thousands of years of wisdom that is in mindfulness training. The one sentence that he wanted to share was You are not your next thought. We are not our thoughts. We are not our emotions. I’m not going to tell you what that means for you to figure out. But I will say this: If you want a free month of the waking up app, I don’t get paid anything like that. It’s just about being generous. You can email me at Daniel@betterleadersbetterschools.com. You can text me 3127887595 and I’ll get you a link to experience waking up for a month for free. The cool thing about it too, I have no idea how much money you make and what your salary is and that kind of thing. But the founder, Sam, actually offers the waking up app for free. If you can’t pay, I can pay for it. When I joined, it was probably like 50, 60 bucks a year. It’s something that I am happy to invest in every year. You can start with just 5 minutes a day. A few benefits that I’ve had, not only in terms of the leadership results and the value I could create for you, but personally emotional regulation, a lot less reactivity, just the things that are happening. I’m not the ball in the pinball machine anymore. I’m actually the player of the game watching everything that’s happening. I’ve increased joy and contentment, less levels of stress. It is just better energy. If you’ve ever been well, you’ve listened to the podcast, hopefully you’re experiencing good energy here. Workshops I lead or face to face, if we’ve met, you know, I really try to bring some high positive energy to that experience. Those are benefits of meditation or mindfulness or you can ignore it. It is your choice. Totally up to you. The psychologist Jonathan Haidt said “The emotional tail wags the rational dog.” I’m telling you, emotions used to drive everything I do in my worst moments. It still does. They still do. But if you find yourself making the same mistake over and over again, that’s a lack of awareness because you’re doing the same thing. If you are aware of it, you should stop. Why would you want to be doing that? There’s a better way. And it starts with a choice. Do you want to be in that vicious cycle or do you want to change it? You could totally change it through mindfulness, which is incredible. That’s all I have to say about the awareness center.
Daniel: Now we move to the West, which represents my right arm, looking at my body, that right arm right hand is my dominant side. And so for me, that represents strength. That represents vitality. And that’s the last part of our Leadership Optimization Compass . Joyce Meyer says, “I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family in the world is a healthy you.” And that’s true, right? Think about that. If I’m honest, I’m vulnerable, I’m 44. I don’t have children yet. I can’t wait to have kids. I longed to have kids. And I hope that happens for me and my wife. I’m going to be an older father. The only way that I’m guaranteed to have a stronger relationship with them and to be around as long as I can. A lot of that’s out of my control, but I can make good choices when it comes to my health or I can ignore it. The story of somebody that I work with regarding health and fitness. And it’s his story to tell. He’s going to be a guest on the podcast, but the two long day and read version is, my friend Ali lost his dad. His dad was in his forties. He was a young boy. It was a total shock. It’s just so heartbreaking. It is tragic. And the worst part, it was totally preventable. There were signs. That his health wasn’t right, that the stress was too much, and the thing that killed him could have been prevented. I’ve written about it, I think, in my book. I’ve certainly written about her in my blog. But I remember after founding Better Leaders, Better Schools. So this happened within the last seven years. There was a principal in Australia who just flat out died at her desk. I memorized her name. Isn’t that I mean, it’s kind of crazy. I didn’t know this woman, but it’s a tragic, tragic story. Her name was Trish Anti-love. And somewhere there in Australia in one night, she just didn’t come home. Can you imagine that? Your partner just doesn’t come home. The husband calls text, no response, and he goes to school because that’s where she spent a lot of time, was always working, always working. He found his wife dead at her desk. She wasn’t taking care of herself. I don’t have the article in front of me, but I remember the gist of what her husband said, which essentially was. She just gave everything to the school and it took it all right. She didn’t have the time or felt like she had the time to take care of herself and she paid the ultimate price. By ignoring the fitness. By ignoring rest and recovery, which is important by ignoring potentially, the food choices and that kind of thing. It’s not worth it. It is not worth it. Education is serious work, right in our communities are certainly worth giving our best to, but not giving everything. You are worth it. Taking care of yourself matters and everybody wins when you get better. If you’re healthier and if you’re experiencing more vitality, you’re going to be a better leader. I promise you that I won’t claim what happens next in life. I have no idea if you believe in the afterlife. If you don’t, I don’t care. I think we can all agree, though, that the moment you have right now is super precious and you should not waste it. The best way to take life and live it to its fullest right now is to make great deposits into your own physical health. And this is how you increase your vitality. According to the Mayo Clinic, You don’t even have to be an Olympian. You don’t have to be a CrossFit, or you can do those things and they’re great. You don’t even have to do a half marathon. I’m doing a half marathon tomorrow, which is super cool. You can just take a brisk walk and listen to the benefits that that has. In terms of physical fitness. You can maintain healthy weight, lose body fat, you can prevent and manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, type two diabetes. You can improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve muscle endurance, increase energy levels, improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep, improve your balance and coordination, strengthen your immune system and reduce stress and tension all from a regular daily brisk walk. You can do that. Or you can do some of those more intense things. Like I said, half marathon CrossFit, playing football, soccer, basketball. Jean, shout out to Jean if you’re listening. I know you’re a big pickleball fan. Bill loves Frisbee golf. Felipe is out there running to the couch for five ks. So good for you. So these are some awesome mastermind members and some of the things I know they love to do for fitness. You can hire a fitness coach, you can eat food instead of Duf. My buddy Josh Switek came up with this idea of Duf. Duf is not food that processes anything in a box. Eat things that are natural, things that are organic when you can afford them. And that’s all I have to say.
Daniel: Now about the Vitality Center of the leadership optimization system. We went over to date, or Wisdom. We went over relationships, we went over awareness, and we went over vitality. I hope you have some tools now and some inspiration to apply to your own life and think about. But now I want to talk about how you can take the information provided in this podcast and get some real world results. Think about this. Very few education conferences create lasting change. It’s true. Most conferences are designed with a million different concurrent sessions, tons of speakers. Most of the speakers you’re going to miss, The sessions are scheduled back to back with very few breaks. On top of that, there’s tons of people there, which is great if you’re an extrovert, but if you’re an introvert like me, it can be overwhelming. So much so you might spend too much time in your hotel and miss out on what the conference provides. I Am going to a conference like that. A great return on investment. And if not, what would be a better model? Lucky for you, I’ve created and have been perfecting a better model over the years. First, I’ve done this as a connoisseur of world class live experiences. I’ve talked before about the amount of money I’ve invested in myself with coaching and training, so I’ve learned from the best of the best studying these epic experiences from leaders that I admire and then applying what I’ve learned for Ruckus Makers, for you. Putting on something that is not your typical conference. Today’s show not only gave you great information around the Leadership Optimization Compass , but we’re going to dive deeply into that in this year’s Better Leaders, Better Schools Live Mastermind event that’s happening in Costa Rica. That’s right. It’s January 13th through the 15th in beautiful Costa Rica. I’m just having fun too, because I have some great partnerships with these organizations. But the joke is, I lived in the Midwest, I lived in Chicago. The weather’s not good there in January. I also live in Syracuse right now. I’m telling you, the weather here is terrible in January. I cannot wait to go to Costa Rica. But I had some fun in an email you may have seen recently, too. There’s a major conference. It’s going to be in Indianapolis. Awesome. Or you could come to Costa Rica. Like the answer, the choice is clear, like come to Costa Rica and me and dive deeply into the Leadership Optimization Compass . It’s a topic that has four parts, but we’re going to go deep. There’s not 400 subjects, four topics. There’s myself right now, I’ve already booked four. I might do one more guest speaker, but some big time names like that you’ll be surprised to see in the room. Speaking to you and just 30 people. You will never get this close to awesome people ever. Like it just doesn’t happen unless you come to an event that I put on. Believe me, that’s going to blow your mind too, and let me run through the agenda. Very high level. January 12th is going to be a pre event optional dinner. If you fly into Costa Rica on the 12th, we’re going to do just like, Hey, everybody get together for dinner and drinks that will be on the 12th and I’m going to cover that. The 13th and the 14th will be two days of intense leadership training. Myself and the guest speakers, they’ll be live masterminding plenty of breaks and then also opportunities to put into practice what we teach. It’s not just learn, learn, learn. There’s space to connect with other Ruckus Makers, with the guest speakers during the live masterminds and put into implementation. What you learn. Then on January 15th, we’re doing more leadership training, but now we’re going off site. We’re leaving the hotel, we are going off site and we’re getting into nature and we’re doing epic adventure experiences, think bucket list worthy stuff, some ideas of what we could potentially do. I have an event planner and there’s sorting everything out as we speak. I did see there’s a hike we can do that’ll be physically fun and challenging and enjoyable. That goes to some hot springs that overlook a volcano. That sounds pretty epic. Of course, there’s zip lining, whitewater rafting. You could be skydiving. I don’t know. We’re going to explore all the options, then put together something awesome while building strong relationships with each other, crossing some things off our bucket list, and continuing the conversation about what we learned on the 13th and 14th and how it applies to our real life context at home. And then on the 16th, I don’t know of a school leader who doesn’t have January 16th off. That’s Martin Luther King Day. And so that day you fly home, well rested, super full, your cup is overflowing and just your compass, right? Everything is feeling great. You got the wisdom. You have the relationship tools, you are a more aware leader, and your vitality is off the charts. Now that energy is what you’re bringing to your campus, talk about a return on investment. This is going to be incredible. You are probably wondering what it costs. I’m happy to tell you there’s special Early Bird pricing, which is partly why I did this episode for you. And that’s to clearly communicate. If you take action in October, the pricing is just $2,000. What does that include? The $2000 is quite a deal because it includes a number of things. It includes three days of leadership training. It includes the guest speakers. It includes the live mastermind sessions, it includes all your food at the event. The 12th optional dinner, everything on the 13th, everything on the 14th, everything on the 15th. All your dinner and the surprise offsite leadership training is included in that price as well. What does it not include? You have to figure out how to get there. The flight is not included in terms of hotel and lodging. We’re going to tell you where we’re putting on the conference. You’re welcome to stay there or just like any other conference that you go to. If you find a really sweet Airbnb, if you find another, maybe you’re a member of some hotel chain and get a better deal, or you just find a cheaper price or even better hotel where you want to splurge even more. That’s up to you. And this part is super important. You need a passport. The renewal fee or getting your first passport is not included in our price. But make sure you have a valid passport because you just can’t show up to Costa Rica and say hello without one. You’re not going to get on the plane. Lastly, the benefits of coming to the Live Mastermind event in Costa Rica. You can learn the Leadership Optimization Compass and implement what you learned in the moment with me and other leadership coaches and experts. You can network with other Ruckus Makers. You can experience live mastermind sessions and have some tremendous leadership breakthroughs solving your biggest challenges. And you could see a beautiful country while doing it. Making your leadership better and crossing off some bucket list items while living out these adventure experiences. So go to betterleadersbetterschools.com/CostaRica right now and you can join the waiting list. It doesn’t mean that you’ve committed. It just means that you’ve raised your hand. You said oh yeah this event, this live mastermind event this January when the weather’s terrible in Costa Rica with other Ruckus Makers on a crazy awesome topic and surprise guest speakers that will blow your mind. I’m in. I least want to explore it with you, Danny. I will follow up and if it makes sense we’ll talk about getting you registered and I’ll see you there. Super important detail. This event is limited to 30 or fewer Ruckus Makers. We don’t have space for hundreds. We don’t want big experiences. We want you there to interact with speakers, with other Ruckus Makers, with me getting that personal attention, getting that live mastermind session, solving your greatest challenges. I’m telling you, if you were at the New Mexico event, you know what my superpower is live events and this trip is going to be absolutely epic. I hope to see you there. Bye for now and go make a ruckus.
Daniel: 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@betterleadersbetterschools.com or hit me up on Twitter at @Alienearbud If the better leader is better schools podcasts 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. Better leaders, better schools dot com and talk to you next time. Until then, “class dismissed.”
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