Managing Enthusiasm

As AIW sites and agencies get ready for this fall's kick-offs, here are some tips to ensure continuing success.

There are three critical components to staying the course.
1) Teams must meet every other week if possible for a total of 4-6 AIW hours per month. This allows the learning to deepen in a job-embedded context and move AIW into the professional routine.

2) Secondly, teachers need to think of themselves as learners this year. Not only is there no expectation for them to bring AIW back to their school to their departments, it is inappropriate in the first year. Let interest build naturally. It will make expansion easier later on. If your site has been involved for multiple years, do be afraid to allow the AIW journeys to vary among staff. The key is that everyone has a stretch goal that keeps AIW fresh and challenging.

3) Lastly, let people grow and transform at their own rates. Overzealous Newmannites (coaches, administrators, or teachers enamored with Fred Newmann’s work) have a tendency to take on an evangelical aura. But the best approach is to believe in the power of the framework and each individual’s capacity to grow and change as the soul determines.

A New Reflective Book Worth Sharing!

Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect with Tony at and

Ten Principles to Live by in Fiercely Complex Times

10:08 AM Tuesday July 12, 2011

If you're like most people I work with in companies, the demands come at you from every angle, all day long, and you have to make difficult decisions without much time to think about them. What enduring principles can you rely on to make choices that reflect openness, integrity and authenticity?

Here are ten that work for me:

1. Always challenge certainty, especially your own. When you think you're undeniably right, ask yourself "What might I be missing here?" If we could truly figure it all out, what else would there be left to do?

2. Excellence is an unrelenting struggle, but it's also the surest route to enduring satisfaction. Amy Chua, the over-the-top "Tiger Mother," was right that there's no shortcut to excellence. Getting there requires practicing deliberately, delaying gratification, and forever challenging your current comfort zone.

3. Emotions are contagious, so it pays to know what you're feeling. Think of the best boss you ever had. How did he or she make you feel? That's the way you want to make others feel.

4. When in doubt, ask yourself, "How would I behave here at my best?" We know instinctively what it means to do the right thing, even when we're inclined to do the opposite. If you find it impossible, in a challenging moment, to envision how you'd behave at your best, try imagining how someone you admire would respond.

5. If you do what you love, the money may or may not follow, but you'll love what you do. It's magical thinking to assume you'll be rewarded with riches for following your heart. What it will give you is a richer life. If material riches don't follow, and you decide they're important, there's always time for Plan B.

6. You need less than you think you do. All your life, you've been led to believe that more is better, and that whatever you have isn't enough. It's a prescription for disappointment. Instead ask yourself this: How much of what you already have truly adds value in your life? What could you do without?

7. Accept yourself exactly as you are but never stop trying to learn and grow. One without the other just doesn't cut it. The first, by itself, leads to complacency, the second to self-flagellation. The paradoxical trick is to embrace these opposites, using self-acceptance as an antidote to fear and as a cushion in the face of setbacks.

8. Meaning isn't something you discover, it's something you create, one step at a time. Meaning is derived from finding a way to express your unique skills and passion in the service of something larger than yourself. Figuring out how best to contribute is a lifelong challenge, reborn every day.

9. You can't change what you don't notice and not noticing won't make it go away. Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception. To avoid pain, we rationalize, minimize, deny, and go numb. The antidote is the willingness to look at yourself with unsparing honesty, and to hold yourself accountable to the person you want to be.

10. When in doubt, take responsibility. It's called being a true adult.

Great Week of AIW Learning

The Iowa Department of Education sponsored an amazing week of learning, with the addition of a fourth cohort of Lead AIW coaches and also added a new level of local leadership. This group of local coaches kicked of their learning along with Cohort IV folks in Des Moinnes between July 11 and July 15th.

Stay tuned to hear more about how this amazing group of 30 leaders support more Iowa educators as the state moves to take on 40+ schools in the AIW-Iowa professional Development Initiative.