October's Attribute: Intentional - Act Rather Than React

By PrinciPal Connection posted 09-27-2018 11:15

The Principal’s Calendar is intended to help school leaders stay focused, organized, and growing. The Principal’s Calendar provides you with monthly lists of important responsibilities and legal requirements. In addition, it offers dates to remember (some just for fun) as well as critical professional development opportunities and resources. Finally, the Calendar challenges you to study and reflect on Attributes from the School Leader Paradigm - one per month. The Principal's Calendar is a benefit of membership to the Illinois Principals Association, so if you are not a member, join today! 

October's Featured Attribute
Intentional – Acts rather than reacts; is deliberate; recognizes every aspect of their behavior; sets personal leadership milestones.

Associated Competency
Growth Mindset – Embraces challenges; persists despite obstacles; sees effort as a path to mastery; learns from criticism; is inspired by others’ success.

Associated Intelligence
Personal Intelligence – The capacity to reason about personality and to use personality and personal information to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experiences.

For Your Reflection
@Susan Homes, Deputy Executive Director for Professional Development, Illinois Principals Association

Being intentional is associated with both risk and accomplishment. Leaders do not wait for “things to happen to them,” but rather “help to develop their own offensive preparation plan.” When my son played high school football, he kept a quote in his room to maintain his focus. Even today, after moving 1,000 miles away and nearly a decade after hanging up his cleats and helmet, the quote still resonates with him: “You’re either part of the steamroller or you’re part of the pavement.” Leaders know the importance of creating a vision and developing an action plan for themselves.

In his classic success primer See You at the Top, Zig Ziglar (1997) shared the following timeless story:

Let me illustrate the importance of goals by looking at a scene of the deciding game of a basketball championship. The teams have taken their warm-up shots and are physically ready for the game. The adrenalin is flowing and it’s obvious the players feel the excitement that goes with the championship game. They return to their dressing rooms and the coaches give them the last “shot in the arm” before action begins. “This is it, fellows. It’s now or never. We win or lose it all tonight. Nobody remembers the best man at a wedding, and nobody remembers who came in second. The whole season is tonight.”

The players respond. They’re so charged up they almost tear the doors off the hinges as they rush back to the court. As they get to the court they stop short and, in complete confusion which gives way to frustration and anger, they point out that the goals have been removed. They angrily demand to know how they can play a game without the goals. They know that without goals, they would never know the score, never know whether they hit of missed, never know how they stacked up against competition and never know whether they were on or off the target. As a matter of fact, they wouldn’t even attempt to play the basketball game without the goals. Those basketball goals are important, aren’t they? What about you? Are you attempting to play the game of life without goals? If you are, what’s the score” (p. 152)?

Jon Gordon (2017) in his book, the Power of Positive Leadership, reminds us that what we accomplish is a direct result of our commitment, our growth, and our purpose (p. 157). In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey (2004) stresses the principles of personal vision by encouraging leaders to be proactive and begin with the end in mind. He argues that having a clear vision or destination and a compass is more important than a road map—that the compass, or set of principles, will provide direction even when the terrain becomes difficult.

To Keep You Thinking
What is your vision for yourself? Do you have a compass that can help guide you to your destination?

What milestones can you accomplish this year as you reach to achieve your goals?

Gordon (2017) suggests “a powerful and practice way to live with purpose throughout the year is to pick a word for the year that will inspire you to live with more meaning and mission, passion and purpose” (p. 159).

What is your word? How will you keep focused on your word? Where and how will you visually display your word? Consider a hashtag for your word and share thoughts or inspiration about your word throughout the year.