You may not know this, but I’m a huge James Bond fan. I’ve watched each of the movies more times than I like to admit and occasionally throw out a Bond quote at home to fit the occasion (often to only my own amusement:). One of my favorite things about the character is that he always knows just what to say and the right way to say it…in other words, he’s smooth.
At one of my professional development sessions last year, I had the opportunity to hear Debbie McFalone, an educational consultant, speak on the topic of having difficult conversations. As a principal, I sometimes have to have difficult conversations with staff or parents. As a teacher, many of you often have to have difficult conversations with parents or students. At the start of the session, she began with the most common ways that difficult conversations are handled…you guessed it, they are avoided! When asked who has used this method, almost everyone (including myself) raised their hand. We have all done it, whether at home or at work. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore or avoid and hope the issue goes away. We know how that usually turns out. In place of avoidance, she gave us a simple and direct approach to give constructive feedback through the SBI method. In SBI, the S represents the Situation, B represents the Behavior, and I represents the Impact. The beauty of the process is that it takes emotions out of the conversation and focuses on a specific situation, the behavior that needs to be changed, and the impact the behavior had on others. It’s not about having the perfect words or being smooth, it’s about being direct, but respectful. The root of these types of conversations is honesty, trust, and a desire to help (not punish). As a principal, this is how I want my interactions with staff to be. This is quite different from the James Bond approach…nothing smooth or clever and you don’t walk away after a glib remark. You stay committed, you listen, and you lend a guiding hand to work together.
As much as I still love the idea of being as cool as Bond, I would rather tackle the difficult topics and engage in meaningful dialogue than stick to the smooth talk. I would rather wear a staff shirt with pride than wear a tuxedo. I would rather spend time on school buses than in my Aston Martin. I’d never trade a single moment as an elementary principal for the intrigue of being a secret agent…but I can still order my martinis shaken, not stirred;)
James Bond’s family motto is “Orbit Non Sufficit” or “The World is not Enough”
James Bond was married once to Teresa “Tracy” Bond. Her tombstone reads “We have all the time in the world”
James Bond served as a commander in the Royal Navy before he served in the British Secret Service.
- Monday, October 2: Parent Meeting (Haapala/Blazek/Zimes) 8:20 AM, Student of the Month Assembly (Respect) 9:05 AM, PTA Board Meeting in Conference Room 2:30 PM
- Tuesday, October 3: MET Meeting (Taylor and Achievement Team) 9:30 AM, Fire Drill 11:30 AM, IEP (Pisko and Achievement Team) 2:35 PM
- Wednesday, October 4: IEP (Benson/Blazek/Plakas) 10:00 AM
- Thursday, October 5: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM
- Friday, October 6: Student Data from Grades K-4 due in Illuminate, Skate Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 PM
- Monday, October 9: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, IEP (Tanner and Achievement Team) 9:30 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:30-4:30 PM
- Tuesday, October 10: DATA DIVES in Conference Room (rotating subs – details to follow)
- Thursday, October 12: Building CLT 7:50-8:50 (Working on IRIPs), Fire Drill 3:30 PM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
- Friday, October 13: 5D Growth Plans Due in Pivot
- Wednesday, October 18: Students dismissed at 12:10 PM, PT Conferences 1:00-4:00 & 5:00-8:00 PM
- Thursday, October 19: Students dismissed at 12:10 PM, PT Conferences 1:00-4:00 & 5:00-8:00 PM