personalexcellenceI finally grabbed the book off of St. Michael’s nightstand to peruse one afternoon while waiting for the plumber at home…Walter Isaacson’s 2011 book on Steve Jobs. Why did I ignore this book for so long? Yes, it was homage to the monumental contributions of Mr. Jobs, but certainly not the guy I thought I knew either. While his accomplishments are impossible to ignore, he allowed the writer to give an unflinching portrait into his world.  Most interestingly, Mr. Jobs ultimately believed his personal excellence started on the shoulders of the prior generation.

Here were my takeaways:
1. Be bold.  Young Steve needed a Hewlett-Packard part at age 12 and called the CEO, Bill Hewlett to get it; Hewlett gave Jobs his first job a couple of years later.
2. Make your own rules (sometimes).  When his college classes got too expensive, he talked the Dean into letting him audit for credit; he earned a free college education that way.
3. Pay attention to (every) detail.  Quality craftsmanship out performs every time; you pay for the quality, thus Apple products may be more expensive but worth it later.
4. Hire the A-Team!  “A” performers only want to work with “A” performers; under-performers get the boot; teaching and practicing collaboration and cooperation early in life is critical to long-term excellence.
5. Make something beautiful and simple.  Create with beauty and simplicity in mind every single time.
6. Master the art of persuasion.  This is critical in the classroom; you have to persuade learners to play along daily!
7. Leaders need to get out of the way.  Know when to let the experts do their work…teachers are more facilitators in project-based and challenge-based learning now.  Embrace the the concept of learners as leaders too!
8. Customers (learners) cannot always tell you what they need.  Raw intuition and active listening are critical; taking risks and leaps with hope works wonders in teaching and in learning life lessons.

Here’s hoping you find application into your own leadership role as parent and caregiver for our future generation; after all, they are standing on our shoulders in search of their personal excellence every day!  🙂

Note:  Day #2 this week is done!  WHEW!  Thanks for your patience!  🙂 

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