Friday, December 26, 2014

What would YOU add to this list?

This is the time of year where we all begin to feel almost guilted in making New Year’s Resolutions. Recently I read an article by Lolly Daskal (@lollydaskal)which outlined 10 things likable people do constantly. As I read them, it occurred to me that these are qualities, not only in likable people but attributes found in great leaders as well. Perhaps you can draw a resolution or two from the following:

1. Listen without interrupting.
Become a great listener. That means no butting in, no rushing along, no asking questions until the speaker is done. Listen not to frame your own rebuttal but rather to genuinely understand. First seek to understand…

2. Smile without smirking.
Smiling and warmth make others around you feel good. It seems simplistic, but smiling is a lost skill of sorts. Master it and you'll stand out. Take some time…LOOK at yourself…literally in the mirror…practice “the smile”

3. Speak without dictating.
Speak and share your thoughts and ideas, but treat such conversations as a two-way street. Your voice and your wisdom have value, but set them forth in a way that respects the voice and wisdom of others in true dialogue. VALUE the person with whom you are speaking.

4. Give without receiving.
As the adage says, we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. Don't keep score; give with a genuine heart, because it makes you happy…servant leadership.

5. Enjoy without complaining.
Enjoy and be grateful for all that you have. It is gratitude that gives us the best reasons not to complain. A mindset of gratitude versus the greed of want pays dividends for the entire organization.

6. Trust without wavering.
Trust, someone once said, is like an eraser--it gets smaller and smaller every time you have to use it. When we can offer others our sincere word and they know they can trust us, that's no small thing. Consistently doing what you've said you would do, and not doing what you've said you won't do, earns you a huge amount of trust.

7. Promise without forgetting.
People with good intentions make promises; people with great character keep them. Keeping promises should be your highest priority--because when you give your word, there is no room to forget. Keep your promises.

8. Forgive without punishing.
I believe there are two kinds of forgiveness: the kind that also gives the other person a chance, and the kind that forgives but still compels you to move on without that person. Either should be used wisely, and neither should be about punishment. The healthy way to forgive is whatever works best for you without punishing the other person.

9. Be honest without deceiving.
The people we like the best are those who are honest, who follow their convictions and speak their truth. We like people who act on their beliefs. They may not always win, but you know what they stand for.

10. Be positive without reservation.
Negative, angry people drag down everyone around them. Work on maintaining a positive attitude at work and in life. Make an effort to look for opportunities and solutions instead of barriers and problems. Whatever the situation, focus on what can be done.

So my friends, are there any that resonate with you? Care to add to the list? Feel free…Happy New Year…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, December 19, 2014

The 3 R's of Christmas

In a very short time your halls will be empty, the last of the “Happy Holidays” will be heard from staff and students and you’ll be able to give a little sigh of relief that a long overdue respite is within reach.

This is the time to re-energize, re-familiarize, and reflect…

RE-ENERGIZE – Take some time for YOURSELF….REST, REJUVENATE yourself physically and mentally. Read that novel you meant to read 2 summers ago, go on a hike, listen to your favorite music with the headphones ON, turn your phone OFF, force yourself NOT to read an email for 8 hours…RELAX…you’ll remember how to relax…it’s like riding a bike…:-) 

RE-FAMILIARIZE – Reacquaint yourself with family and friends. Unfortunately, too many times we take for granted the people we are closest too. They need to be reminded that we haven’t forgotten them and how important they are for our mental and emotional well-being.

REFLECT – Take advantage of this time of peace and quiet to reflect on days gone by and what needs to be accomplished in the days ahead, by whom and by when. Because before you know it your peaceful existence will give way to, “So how was your Holiday? Didn’t it go by quickly?”

Be good to yourself…and Merry Christmas and Peace and all good things to you and your family…

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Riddle

Here’s a riddle for you…What is in everyone’s office, that everyone MUST have, everyone MUST read and understand, but no one can place their hands on? Answer? The Employee Handbook.

I find it curious that, as leaders, we spend untold hours writing, editing, adding (very rarely DELETING), publishing and reviewing our rules, procedures, values and beliefs in our employee handbook year after year with the same results…no one reads it!

I came across Nordstrom’s employee handbook recently as I was searching for new ideas to aide in editing an existing handbook. What I found gave me pause to ponder.

By anyone’s standards, I believe it safe to conclude that Nordstrom is a successful retail chain. Can you imagine what their employee handbook looks like? You might be surprised; I know I was.  Their entire handbook is 2 pages.

Page one states their Number 1 Goal – “Provide outstanding customer service.”

Page two states their only “Rule” – “Use good judgment in all situations.”

Pretty simple, but efficient. No doubt EVERY employee could articulate these expectations without blinking an eye. Is the same true in your organization? Do a simple test and ask ten people to write it down.

Consider the value in razor sharp vision. As we enter a new year, consider refining your handbook to simply two pages. Tell me…tell your organization…

What IS your Number 1 Goal?

What IS your ONE rule?

Just askin…

Friday, December 5, 2014

Balance? At this time of year? REALLY????

We all KNOW that to be successful we must find balance in our life. The art of juggling is not lost as we try desperately not to discount one aspect of our life while pouring our energies into another.  In a recent post of Royale Scuderi, she outlines 10 steps to help us find balance.

·      Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!

·      Trim, trim, trim – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!

·      Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity.

·      Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible.

·      Spend time alone – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!

·      Relationships do matter – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you.

·      Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.

·      Explore the world - Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!

·      Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.

·      Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

So my friends, feel free to use any of these strategies, or feel free to add to the list ~ how do you find YOUR balance?

Be good to yourself.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Not MY Job!

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

If your organization or any part of your organization looks like this, you need to ask yourself why. In addition to the obvious, what needs to be developed, and nurtured? When you look at great teams, each member knows their responsibilities, trusts other members will carry out their responsibilities, and are able to anticipate the needs of the team. This does not happen by accident, but by design…so, leader…what’s your plan; or do you expect Anybody to do it? Just askin…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, November 21, 2014

Time To Look at the Donut...Not the Hole

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it appropriate to take a moment to ask the simple question, “What is it for which you are most thankful?” It’s really a simple question, but one I’m afraid we don’t ask often. Many times, as we’re trying desperately to increase, expand, develop, or simply sustain, we often lose sight of that which we have focusing on things that we want or need.

Hopefully this next week will offer time with family and friends and some precious time of reflective stillness.  I urge you to consider the bounty you have, the many blessings that surround you, generating a spirit of gratitude rather than a mindset of want.

So let me end with where it is I started…What is it for which you are most thankful?

Be good to yourself…

Friday, November 14, 2014

Yesterday you said, "tomorrow".

“Yesterday, you said tomorrow!”

I came across this little quote the other day and it’s been haunting me ever since. As leaders, we can’t afford to procrastinate, but as human beings we can’t help but to fall under its allure on occasion. Here are some things I’ve come to realize about procrastinating:

  • Things NEVER get done by themselves 
  • Simple things become harder… harder things just get harder the longer I wait 
  • Rather than giving me more time, it ends up STEALING precious time from me 
  • Sometimes I use “perfection” as an excuse versus getting started and improve as I go along 
  • Fear plays a major role 
  • Sometimes dreams are lost 
  • Most importantly… I feel MUCH better after something is DONE versus having it hang over my head indefinitely 

My dad would tell me that the hardest part of ANY job is getting it started...

So my friends, what your excuse? What’s stopping you today? Remember today IS tomorrow’s yesterday…Get it done…you’ll feel better…promise…

Be good to yourself

Friday, November 7, 2014

No "I" in TEAM? REALLY???

Have to admit, I never really embraced the saying, “There’s no “I” in TEAM.” As a member of a TEAM shouldn’t I be asking:

  • What can I bring to the TEAM?
  • What can I contribute? 
  • How can I support others?
  • Who am I going to turn to when I’m not sure what to do?
  • What can I do to help move the TEAM forward?
  • What questions should I ask to help others think past the obvious?
  • When should I be the leader of the TEAM…when should I be a good follower?
  • How can I best be an asset to the TEAM? 
  • If I take no ownership on the TEAM am I destined to wait for others to do something for me? 
  • No "I" in TEAM...Wait a minute....

Be good to yourself…

Friday, October 31, 2014

What do you see?

I’m guessing you’ve all seen this picture a few times. During my career I used it, or one like it, numerous times to help parents and students look past what it is they see to broaden their vision as to what others may see looking at the same thing, physically or figuratively.

As a leader, we too must look at ALL perspectives. We don’t need to agree, but at least acknowledge that anytime there are more than two sets of eyes on a situation, there are usually more than two perspectives. What do you see??? Not that important…what do others see? As a leader it’s imperative to understand before trying to be understood.

Be good to yourself…

Friday, October 24, 2014

You can lead a horse to water...

We’ve all heard it during our lifetime, usually when results aren’t what we were hoping for. It’s used when trying to find answers or rationalize less than stellar outcomes. It attempts to place the blame on others, rather than looking at OUR practices, OUR pedagogies, OUR deficiencies.

While it IS true that you can lead a horse to water, but can’t MAKE it drink; isn’t the responsibility of the leader to make the horse thirsty? If we do that, not only will the horse drink, but will seek for the water on their own…just sayin…

Be good to yourself...

Friday, October 17, 2014

What you what you get...

Photography has been a hobby of mine for a number of years. It has proven to be a curse and a blessing. I have found, at times, I completely miss the beautiful views the vistas have to offer as I’m so concentrated on a small, delicate, flower nestled in an obscure, dimly lit cavern.

I recently saw a quote that gave me pause to ponder…”The world we see is created by what it is we focus on. It’s never too late to adjust our lens.”

So my friends…where is YOUR focus? Is it so laser sharp that you can’t see the forest for the trees? As leaders, we sometimes lose sight of the “whole picture” as we’re too concentrated on only a very small, delicate, obscure, part of the entire landscape…which is OK, as long as you adjust your lens often…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, October 10, 2014

Time to prune...

Every Fall I’m reminded of the importance of cutting away the dead wood from my shrubs and trees in order to stop any further deterioration and promote healthy and new growth. Although much easier on a plant, if you detect “dead wood” in your organization, this is the time to start preparing for its removal as “dead wood” never adds anything…it only takes away…

Be good to yourself… 

Friday, October 3, 2014


Think about it…

Just don’t OVERTHINK it…find balance

Be good to yourself…

Friday, September 26, 2014

TIME - Such a powerful little word...

Time…such a powerful word.  It seems as though we never have enough of it.  In some cases we want to shave a hundredth of a second off a particular event, only to wish that we could add hours to another.

In his book, First Thing Every Morning, Lewis Timberlake gives us his observations on the subject for our consideration – my thoughts are highlighted in parentheses:

First: Nobody can manage time. But you can manage those things that take up your time.  (It’s OK to tell a staff member that you’re in the middle of something – to come back later – like AFTER school or during their lunch. You’ll be surprised how much faster that meeting goes)

Second: Time is expensive. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of our day is spent on those things or those people that only bring us two percent of our results. (Not sure what research supports this, but the point IS well taken. Take an honest look of how much “bang for the buck” you’re getting with a project or relationship and make a conscious decision to proceed or simply “cut bait.”)

Third: Time is perishable. It cannot be saved for later use. (As my dad would say, “There’s no time like the present.”)

Fourth: Time is measurable. Everybody has the same amount of time…pauper or king. (It is not how much time you have; it is how you use it.)

Fifth: Time is irreplaceable. We never make back time once it is gone. (True, but hopefully with each passing day we LEARN from time spent on how to be better in the future.)

Sixth: Time is a priority. You have enough time for anything in the world, so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities. (Revisit your goals, professional as well as personal, prioritize…some things ARE more important than others…your actions ARE stronger than your words…)

So my friends…how will YOU use the 86,400 seconds you have tomorrow?  Each second is a precious commodity to be used wisely.

Be good to yourself…

Friday, September 19, 2014

Water Anyone?

Have you ever asked for a glass of water only to have someone try to fill the glass with a fire hose?  I think of this analogy on occasion as I sit in various meetings with assorted audiences and presenters. Their faces tell the story as the audience is being drowned with way too much information while the presenter seems intent on providing more and more in the hope that thirst’s will be quenched.

As leaders, it’s sometimes difficult to grasp the idea that, at times, less IS more…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, September 12, 2014

In The Dark?

Have you ever been in a completely dark room? I mean completely dark…void of any light…What emotions did you encounter? What went through your imagination? What’s your natural instinct to make your situation a bit more tolerable?

I find it curious, that as leaders, we sometimes place those we lead completely in the dark, void of any light, void of any vision, filled with confusion, fear, and hopelessness.

As leaders, we must continue to be that beacon of light to cut through the darkness. Our vision must be clear and communicated regularly. It is our passion and modeling that are the sparks that generate others to shine and bring the dark room into the light.  

I have found that people in the dark look for a light…any light…make sure the light they find is the light you want them to follow…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, September 5, 2014


Consider these two phrases….

Over Promise – Under Deliver

Under Promise – Over Deliver

If I were to ask people in your building which of the two of these represented you the best, where do you think the consensus would lie? Although most, if not all of us want to be considered “good to their word” circumstances that are out of our control sometimes dictate otherwise.

If you had to CHOOSE one over the other, which would it be? Why? Just askin, as your integrity depends on it…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Labor of Love Weekend"

You have to admit…we have it pretty nice in education. What other profession begins a year only to have a holiday weekend following their GRAND OPENING???

I hope your GRAND OPENING was indeed Grand, and that you take time this weekend to perhaps give some attention where attention may be needed the most…with your family.

With the hustle and bustle that a new year brings, many, if not all, work long hours well into the evening and even into the weekends, to insure a smooth start. The craziness of a new school year hits you in the workplace as well as on the home front.

This Labor Day, I’d have you to consider making it a “Labor of Love Weekend.” Reconnect with your family, leave your cell phone on mute, resist the urge to go into the office to “catch-up” – I guarantee your building WILL be there on Tuesday and will pay $1,000.00 to anyone who’s building explodes because they didn’t go in or respond to an email or text immediately.

As a kid I worked in a cemetery during the summer months…NEVER did I read “I wish I would have spent more time at the office” on ANYONE’S tombstone…just sayin…

Be good to yourself…be good to your family…enjoy your Labor of Love Weekend…

Peace and all good things…

Friday, August 22, 2014

Coffee Anyone?

Don’t know about you, but I’m a morning person…always have been.  I love the peace and quiet of a new morning enjoying a cup of coffee, my mind wandering…wondering…no phones ringing to distract me, my cell phone on silent…just thinking…about everything…about nothing.

Have you ever given much thought of why our eyes are where they are? Of ALL the places on our body they could have been they ended up where it is they are…looking FORWARD…looking ahead.

As leaders, I find this particularly important! As leaders, our focus must be on the road ahead, anticipating, calculating, preparing for where our path is leading and searching for better paths as we move forward. I find it curious, that when we’re forced to look back, we must stop our forward progression to do so. On OCCASION, this is a good thing, as at times, it is important to look back to see how far we’ve come.  We just need to be careful that we don’t spend too much time looking back…our eyes face FORWARD for a reason…

Enjoy your cup of coffee…

Take care of yourself…

Friday, August 15, 2014

On your mark...Get set...

On your mark…Get set…

As the starting gun is poised to begin a new year I’d like to remind each of you that this race is meant to be run as a marathon…not a sprint.

For those of you entering your first year, be careful not to exude all your efforts in the first few weeks, or you’ll surely “crash and burn” sooner than expected. The year will be grueling, filled with unexpected twists and turns and HILLS…those blasted hills…but with each uphill battle there IS relief as the road flattens or even gives a brief respite as the elevation declines. Regroup, gather strength, take care of yourself physically and mentally, pace yourself accordingly, and enjoy the journey…learn…grow…there WILL be a new race next year, and you’ll be expected to do better as each year should prove to be a “Personal Best.”

For those of you entering this year with experience behind you, armed with a few secrets and self-confidence I urge you not to be complacent or caviler as you step up to the starting line. As you know, each year brings on new challenges, new unexpected potholes that can easily take the most experienced warrior down a path of despair. I have found that it’s the new experiences that can either excite us down our trail or wear us down. Ask any marathon runner; they’ll tell you running a marathon is just as much about your attitude and your mental conditioning as it is about your physical strength and endurance.

And for those entering your final marathon, your wisdom, courage, and stamina are to be celebrated. Many have started, but few have finished the entire circuit. I hope you consider modeling and coaching the less experienced, let them learn from your experiences, and perhaps you might be able to renew and learn from them as well.

To each and every one of you…enjoy your journey this year; set attainable goals and when you go out and exceed those goals take time to celebrate your accomplishments! If you fall and stumble…GET UP – KEEP MOVING FORWARD… there will be many on the sideline…myself included, cheering you on to the finish line…


Be good to yourself…

Friday, August 8, 2014

Top Three Qualities In A Leader

Not sure how many of you are using LinkedIn ( as an outreach to various professional organizations, but I routinely follow discussions and various blogs through this professional social media.

A question was raised in one such discussion as to what the members felt were the three most important qualities a principal (leader) should possess. Realizing that entire books and dissertations have been written on the topic; it was an interesting exercise in prioritizing and identifying where my beliefs and values rested.

I’d urge each of you to take a reflective moment and consider…of all the great leaders you know, what qualities drew you to them? If you had to identify three and only three of the most important qualities, what would make YOUR list?  As you review your list, how do you measure up to these qualities? If I were to ask your followers what qualities you model, would there be similarities while comparing their list to your list?

As you begin a new year, ask yourself what changes HAVE to be made this year??? And then follow the advice from Gandhi, who is given credit of saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

What were my top 3? Not that important…What IS important is that you search YOUR heart…YOUR beliefs…YOUR values…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!  The Krause Quips have returned. These reflective Quips are written weekly August through June. They are simply intended to add some humor, encouragement, and/or topics for your consideration.  Sharing is encouraged; just give credit where credit is due.

Recently I read an excerpt from Seven Choices for Success and Significance by Nido R. Qubein. The first thing that struck me was a word in the title. Can you guess which jumped out at me? As a leader, there are times when there’s an overwhelming feeling that events dictate to US our course rather than the importance of the CHOICES we make!

He goes on to highlight strategies which we’ve all heard ad nauseaum, but are worth repeating for reflection as a new year is about to begin.

1.    Have a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish – and share the vision OFTEN with those who are expected to carry it out.
2.    Develop a solid strategy that answers – Who or what are we TODAY? – Who/what do we want to become? – How do we get there - and how do we know we arrived?
3.    Employ PRACTICAL systems to achieve goals.
4.    Commit to consistent execution.

He goes on to simply boil things down to the three “Ds”:

·      Decide what you want most to achieve
·      Determine the first steps of getting what you want.
·      Do the first thing that will start you moving toward your goal.

As things begin to swirl about you, as they certainly will do in these 1st few weeks, CHOOSE what it is you’re really focused on this year, stay focused…you DO have a choice!

Be good to yourself…welcome back!

Monday, June 9, 2014

I hope the last refrain of Pomp and Circumstances has finally been played and your school year has finished on a positive note. 

As we conclude another year I wanted to congratulate you all on being a great leader, and thank all of you for your willing hearts, your positive attitudes, and not only your desire to make a difference, but for the differences you've made with so many students, staff, and parents. I am proud to be an educator and proud to be associated with each of you.

Enjoy your good to yourself and your families...and as always...

Peace and Good Things...