Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting to Back to Why

I had the distinct pleasure of listening to entrepreneur Flip Flippen speak to approximately 500 California State Superintendents regarding the "why" we do what we do.  He is the founder of the Flippen Group and has been an advisor and consultant for Fortune 500 companies as well as professional athletes and professional athletic teams.  His experience and successes are built around helping people break through their limitations.

The question he asked is: "Why do we do what we do?  He asserted, "If you can't answer that, people will not follow you!"  He challenged us that we should have an immediate and passionate filled answer to that question.

People follow people who know why they do things and people want to know who you are based on your why.

He mentioned that we are being "prostituted" in education to be like the corporate world, but we are different because of our "why."

He said there are three questions to ask ourselves:

First question: What is your why?  

Our why is personal.  It is about what we believe deeply about kids and about our relationships with people.  Some say, "I don't want to get personal."  But why would I want to follow you if it is not personal?

If you're  in education it better be personal!  His experience in visiting organizations and schools especially is that in 30 seconds after arriving on that location, you can know the culture.  Much of it has to do with how people treat each other "personally."

What's your why, are you on fire about it, and if you're not, you're burned out!

Second question: Who's your who?

Who wrote on you?  Flip shared how his second grade teacher held him back in first grade.  What impacted him was the way she communicated why he was being held back.  She stated first graders needed help, and he would be the one to help them.  Little did she know that defined his life as someone who is dedicated to helping others!

He ended up never forgetting this teacher for her kindness, and faith in him.  He asked the rhetorical question, "Do you think I loved her?"

He spoke of the teachers that made such an impact on him: "Their history became my future."  

These influences and principles led him to create an organization that sponsors teen leadership classes that have shown success in schools throughout the nation.  The program is about helping teachers capture kids' hearts.  "If you capture kids hearts you have their minds" 

He helps organizations and school see people belong before they believe.  Our students want to belong to our school community, and we need to leverage that.

Third question: Whose who are you?

Are you writing a story on the lives of people you influence?  Do teachers and colleagues want to work where you work?   Do people around you have a fire and passion you have nurtured?  Do kids want to be at your schools and in your classrooms everyday?  Is our fire lighting other fires?

I think these are three questions I must ask myself everyday, and my challenge to all of us is to be somebody's who based on our why because of our who!

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