School leadership

Tips from The Beach...Calm Down and Lead:The Psychology behind BrandED Leadership

At the Beach we think our BEST! 

At the Beach we think our BEST! 

Leaders in the Ed world or Business world share a fear of the transparency social media brings. 

Calm DOWN, people! Take a strategic route to better communication. Understand Behavioral Neuroscience. I don't mean lab experiments about measuring eye gaze patterns. I mean knowing the general basics of Neuroscience and Relational Neuroscience, these areas of psychology are reaching new levels of acceptance in organizational and management circles. 

Face it, you need to brand build as a leader, no option here: personal and  organizational brands  potentially improve the efficacy of a leader and their organizational success. Use the words of one of the leading neuroscientists, Abhijit Naska as your guide--“You are your mind, so if you can see it, you can achieve it.” Let your mind play--begin to sculpt and build that brain. Understand the relationship between memory, learning, emotions and your brain. The better  you know these connections, the better you will be at crafting and employing a brand that goes beyond the window dressing of surface features to authenticity and to successful relational leadership.

Another tip, in neuropsychologist, Dr. Rick Hanson’s Hardwiring Happiness, learn how our brains are wired toward the negative. Start with a positive view. If someone sees 10 tweets that are supportive of their leadership and one negative... they will focus on that negative. After you sculpt your brand go to the Relational Neuroscience gym and build your tolerance for ambiguity in the social media world. Pattern a daily reflection on the brand you have built. Use even in one word, like "RELENTLESS" principal,  Hamish Brewer does. He's naturally got relational neuroscience running through his neurons!

Then as we say in BrandED become a Brand ACE that we feature in our text, one of pattern and consistency --of neuroreflection. Bring the the benefit to your organization.

And one last tip-- follow @ adamMgrant while you are building your power! 

Driven by Emotion: "Affective" Stories of School Brand Experience

A recent article in D!gitalist Magazine explored the progress of "affective computing", the science of adding emotion to enhance the AI experience of a human who interacts with a computer. Engineers are quickly creating algorithms that will advance the likability of the robotics we will engage with in the very near future, engagement beyond  the friendly, voice activated "Alexa". This scientific industry, whose growth accelerates every quarter, is focused on the sweet spot of what drives human connection: emotion.

As a prominent researcher, Dr. Paul Ekman, discovered in 1967 when he investigated a tribe in New Guinea living in the manner of their Stone Age ancestors, there is a universal set of emotions that form the basis of all human contact. Ekman furthered his work into the facial expressions of those shared human emotions. He developed an online Atlas of emotions, a system that has informed law enforcement and security. Today his research is  teaching robots how to feel.

Why is it so important that AI have that essence? In business, it's the bottom line. The global affective computer market will quadruple over the next five years. Feeling good about the interfacing with robotics, not just voice activated tones, will scale the industry. AI infused with emotion will quickly bring trust about in humans to invest in this new exchange. As these affective computers go about revolutionizing our world, we humans can be confident that in the present we still have the upper hand  and heart in gathering ideas, collaborating, and creating information

But this post isn't about business it's about schools. So let's keep in mind that one way our school communities can aim to improve themselves is through the sharing of expression through brand. This is an H2H...Human to Human endeavor. Even while the world takes on affective computing, we take up the challenge to brand our school community. School brand lives in the telling the stories of our schools that are filled with the power of the ages: the power of true human emotion. 

You may think your school has a brand, but think again. it may have a "brand identity system",  a handful of features of what a brand looks like:  a website featuring a logo, a calendar of events, a mascot, and a serious headline or two, but that's not a brand. And where is the emotion in that first look that people get when they type in your school name on their computer? Most school websites need overhauling to capture humanity of emotion that launches the brand experience that the school provides. And much of that comes from the simple telling of stories that create emotional connection to the viewer. When you decide to take on the joyful work of building a brand, make sure emotion is a driver for you and your team.  

The world of business is building the "emotional economy" through AI and we will see the impact of this work in our exchange with big brands like Coke and Disney before we see it in our schools. That's a good thing. What separates us from robotics, at least in 2017, is that we don't have to be programmed. We can be driven by pure natural emotion to share the story of the best news, the smallest and the biggest type of stories that show the brand of our school. 

As you consider a professional development track to increasing value, look to learning about brand. Lead a brand movement in your school. Be driven by emotion to showcase the experiences to unify your community in a unique way. Your own emotion for the journey will be easy to read from the smile on your face that comes from building a meaningful school brand.


School Brand: the Engine of Successful Strategic Partnerships



Start your engines!

 The world is changing at a rapid pace. We are going from zero to sixty in a blink thanks to technology, add in AI and VR and we see a revved up climate for change that is unprecedented.

Keep up with the change. Find your partners who can help you resource your school and support your students every step of the way into the world of work. Here's a 2017 Resolution--Make partnerships a priority. Become the ENGINE for resourcing your school through the strategic building of partnerships with business and with higher education, with agencies and with entrepreneurs. Look beyond the micro-community of your school to the bigger pond, the external community where thanks to innovation in communications, you can reach out to any entity. Find potential partners in  an individual, a local group, a mid-sized business or even a corporate partner. Offer them value, the opportunity to help prepare students for the new workplace in ways that helps them resource themselves. Partners give value to each other. Many of these entities, want to help, but they don't know how to get started. You have to take the lead. Be the engine of connection. Be a brandED leader and you can tell your partners how to help.

Your first step is to make sure you have a personal professional brand to share as a leader. As the engine, you will drive the effort to build relationships for your school. Model your brand persona, then gather a collective to design and build a school brand that's fit for partnership. You must define who your community is and what it stands for, what it's successes are, what are its challenges. Your collaborative effort to tell this story about your unique value communicates to a wide range of local and even global partners who can say..."They are like me! I want to help them!" Empathy becomes a great connector. An entrepreneur or a corporate giant can see the common ground between their own BRAND  and mission and your local school BRAND and mission---if you take time to define and shine! Get your story of your brand out into the many channels that digital and social provides.  

This post is inspired by one such channel, Twitter, in a post  by Dwight Carter, New Albany HS Principal, whose "whatever it takes" mindset would resonate with any potential business or agency resource partners. And apparently it has from the his recent tweet citing the partnerships @napls has developed in the community!


Plenty of topics bring business and education together to get the motors running for partnering. In the world of business marketing the diverse population that is sitting in our schools and one day will be the major consumers of products and services creates a conversation just waiting to bring us together. When we read the results of the 2020 Census we'll see the American landscape change to a minority majority demographic. A major shift powered by the rise of Generation Z, who are now 18 years and under in age: the most diverse demographic in the USA. We know this will be relevant on a wide scale. Let's not wait until 2020. Let's partner now.

This one topic alone gives us common ground upon which to partner. Schools will be challenged to create solutions to address educating these students to become civic and economic mainstays of their communities and the digital citizens of the world. Businesses see workforce needs and structures changing rapidly in front of their eyes. They need to open conversations with educators about the changing world of commerce where these students will be seeking jobs. Marketers can join the conversation with industry and schools so they can to educate themselves about speaking to this demographic who will need to become more intelligent consumers that keep the economy robust through the shifts of a modern, automated workplace.  Again, let's let them know how to start to help.

Strategic Partnering is priority. Build a brand that gets you connected to the right resources for your school so our kids can motor on the open road of the future with a finely tuned direction supported by the worlds of business and education co-existing for success.  Power up your school brand!

What Wells Fargo Teaches School Leaders: Build Brand from the Inside Out

              Going Farther Together?

              Going Farther Together?

Watching the unified actions of the Senate at the WELLS FARGO hearing gives hope. There is finally something these two polarized camps had in common in their session. The absolute distain for the Wells Fargo Company and brand. 

As much heat as schools have had to take in our 21st Century world, we educators can stand tall knowing that we are in it for the element of servant leadership, not the money, and we are comfortable in our own skins as we try to improve our school community.

What a waste of a good brand tagline is seen in Wells Fargo's ironic brand tag. "Going Farther Together" And yes, they went "together" with unsuspecting customers' money that was used to dupe the company into giving executives big raises based on false claims, Hhhmm...who went farther? The insiders, the members of the Wells Fargo organization went farther into undeserved bonuses and raises based on cheating and lies. Some of these unscrupulous people  actually will  go farther together with their colleagues... up the river. And if Elizabeth Warren has her way, the CEO is the first in line.

This pitifully shocking state of affairs touches the conversation about culture, especially building a culture of service to school stakeholders. In our upcoming book on leadership, Eric Sheninger and I discuss the value of culture and brand building for leaders. A culture of service is something educators bring naturally to the job everyday. In a BrandED leader's playbook for developing power using select brand/marketing tenets, one connecting point comes across: organizations must focus on their internal core in branding efforts. Schools must strive to be transparent as they communicate in this digital world. As they do, they must hire, support and train-- and sustain an organization of  informed employees who understand and live a school brand that is authentic. Some big businesses have a hard time "marketing internally" to their employees about the promise of the brand. It's obvious in Wells Fargo's case that the culture was never grounded in their message of helping customers to go far together. School leaders can follow a different model. Restauranteur, Danny Meyer's authentic, successful,solid system for developing his internal culture through "setting the table" for customers which details how to create true brand loyalty from within an organization..

School leaders who are building brand  see the need to market a brand to their internal group, the micro-community that services other stakeholders. That community of staff and teachers will sustain a brand that resonates with them. Involve your internal core group in contributing to the building process. Create a promise and mission that they can believe in and showcase every school day.