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What culture and mud pit have in common?

Leadership, CultureChanie WilschanskiComment

When I was kid I loved to play with dirt, mud and anything that could get me the most dirty. Lucky for my parents we grew up in a large suburban home with a hose in the back. 

Before we entered, we all needed to hose down and then were allowed into the house :) 

I loved the mud pits and swirling mud circles of water my brothers and I used to make. 

If you take a stick and stir into a puddle full of mud, the water and mud will blend and then when you stop stirring the mud separates and gets lumpy and choppy in the water. 

School cultures are very similar to the mud pit. 

“It’s lonely on the top” is a famous saying. The journey from teacher to director to becoming a truly successful leader is like rocking in turbulent waters and swimming in mud pits. 

It stretches every fiber of your being and it can get real messy sometimes. 

As a director you work really hard, spinning the mud pit with multiple sticks. 

Multi tasking and trying to keep everyone happy. 

But eventually you exhaust yourself and let go of all the sticks, and then the mud starts to get lumps. Your teachers aren't as happy as you would like. 

The mud gets choppy, there is division with your team and not everyone is on board with the new changes you want to implement. 

That’s the fun thing about leadership- it’s an ever changing journey

One thing remains the same! -

 “Leadership is about serving those who serve others”
- Simon Sinek. 

Simon is one of my top 3 favorite authors of all time. 
Simon has written and published 3 books:

  • Start with Why
  • Leaders eat Last
  • Together is Better

For many of you, Simon is not a new name. You’ve heard of him before and perhaps read his books. I’ve shared his Ted Talk several times (here is the link for you to check out if you’ve never seen it!)

Simon is known as the WHY guy. And his vision is to have a world where people wake up in the morning and are happy to go to work, feel safe and come back home and feel the same way. 

As an unshakable optimist. It’s pretty amazing to be in this person’s presence. 
I recently went to a book signing of his and got a chance to listen to him speak live. 


When he opened the floor for Questions and Answers - I raised my hand and asked. 

“How can a director in a school create a culture of innovation and risk taking where teachers want to be innovative and creative?” 

Simon replied:

“ A leader needs to truly have people’s backs! Be there for them like no one else will! And then be able to give them real authentic feedback so they can continue to grow” 

He then went on to answer another gentleman’s question who was there from Russia to hear him speak! 

I was determined to speak with Simon again. I wanted to dig in more. 

  • What is a culture?
  • How does a director create one?
  • What are the daily actions and small things a director can do to switch this paradigm even when she thinks there is no hope. 
  • Even when she feels it's the point of no return
  • Even when she has very old and veteran teachers who are stuck in their ways
  • Even if…….

I wanted to unshackle every single excuse and hiccup that any director has ever thought of of why she doesn’t have the culture that she wants in her school.

And here's the deal - I got an interview with Simon! 

So as I told you last week, as a loyal subscriber you get to hit reply and
I want you to tell me
Every single little thing that stands in your way of creating the culture you want. 

Tell me EVERYTHING - no one reads this, it’s only for me.

I want this interview to be epic and I will have Simon unpack every strategy he has in his tool chest, besides for the stories he will share. 

As a brilliant story teller - I always get emotional by one specific story her shares and I hope he will share it will you as well. 

All right, send me an email and let me know - :) 
This is your chance to get answers on how to create the culture you want in your school!