Sometimes when I talk with clients, they ask how I differ from my competitors. Clients want to know how I am better than other people who teach kids about bullying and cyberbullying.
In my early years, I focused on my competitors. I went to schools to watch people that talked with kids about how to stop bullying. It was by watching others that I learned much of what I know about how to deliver my message and what NOT to say and do. I learned the tricks of how to talk with big groups. I learned how to get their attention and the importance of starting the talk by making your teenage audience laugh. I learned what to do if a student asked a question that was off topic or stumped me with a question I didn’t know the answer to. I learned what to say if a student didn’t agree with what I said.
Today, when a client asks me the difference between me and my competitors, I just say, “I have no idea.” You see, I run a business. My business strategy when it comes to competition has always been to “worry about my customers not my competitors”.
My number one goal is to take the problems of my customers and figure out how to fix those problems. So instead of focusing on my differences from others, my efforts are focused on trying to understand the audience/customers I work with. What are their motives? What are their actions? What are the things they excel at and where do they need improvement?
My expertise is to help them focus on the solution to their issues. I see my role as:
- Helping them see how their actions affect others – negatively or positively.
- Showing them the solutions… specific things they can do to get their desired reaction from others.
- Not only teaching, but role playing and demonstrating activities, exercises and programs that will help them to achieve their goals.
Are you worried about how you stack up to the other districts in your area? Are you or your Board of Education constantly comparing yourselves to other districts?
Recently I saw an article referring to a book that talked about character education at the college/university level. What had me so intrigued was the title of this book, “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For”, by Roy M. Spence, Jr.
In this book, Mr. Spence talks about how he works with companies to identify their real purpose for existing. I think the idea of finding your purpose is an interesting way to look at character education.
One of the projects he writes about is a story involving Texas A&M. Because much of my work is done in education, I was really excited as I read…I could see how others were doing what I was doing!
Dr. Robert Gates, previously president at Texas A&M and former Secretary of Defense was involved with the Solutions of the Future effort. Their goal was to explain higher education in a way that would rally America. They decided to stop focusing on the differences between colleges and universities and instead to start focusing on the difference that they make.
Having established that higher education was really in the solutions business, we approached Texas A & M with the central question: What solution is Texas A & M delivering to the world? How do traditions like Silver Taps, Muster, the 12th man, Midnight Yell, Fish Camp, Big Event, and the famous Aggie Ring (to name but a few) transform students for the betterment of the society? http://books.google.com
I highly recommend you get your hands on this book. Each of the Texas A&M traditions have a purpose and that purpose moves them towards their solution. Dr. Gates and the leadership team at Texas A&M is an administration we should be modeling our goals and actions after. This administration’s purpose and focus is more than academics and test scores.This is an administration that wants their students to become “individuals with leadership skills, a sense of responsibility, a team orientation and a code of ethics.”
Ladies and gentlemen this is a must if we intend to turn around the “me generation”. This is a recipe for success. This is the kind of education our kids deserve.
So what is Texas A&M’s purpose? The following anthem was written and is displayed in every dormitory and building on the campus:
Welcome to Aggieland
There is a place where tradition is a way of life, character is stitched into the local fabric and leaders are a natural resource. It’s a place where the future is knocking at the door, but the past always has a place at the table.
Here everyone’s glass is half full, and cynicism is on a permanent leave of absence. It’s where fish learn to swim, elephants never forget, and a horse could carry someone all the way to a Nobel Prize.
Every man or woman can make a difference here – especially the twelfth one. And you’re as likely to get a statue for a selfless act as you are a heroic one. The greater good is a required course and a helping hand is a required gesture.
This is Aggieland, where optimism is an alternative energy source and acts of integrity are on everyone’s to-do list. History is made every day and remembered every year. It’s a place where pushing ideas forward doesn’t mean pushing values aside.
Welcome to Aggieland. Enjoy your stay.
So what is your school or district’s purpose?
Be proud of your purpose. Share and display your purpose. And, most of all live your purpose!
Image source: Google+