By Keith Danko on July 30th, 2015 | Comment on this post

The show “Shark Tank,” like much of the media, perpetuates the myth that you have to be aggressive, assertive, even confrontational to advance your career and become a leader; that thoughtfulness, politeness, and the inability to summarize an important idea in less than a minute are crippling diseases; and that the business world is akin to a shark tank where you are likely to be devoured unless you adopt the characteristics of the sharks to survive. Amusing for sure, but as true reality? As Borat would say, “Not so much.”

Confrontation sounds exciting and climactic. Directly taking on your superiors over a perceived slight or a co-worker over credit stolen can be a strong temptation. The fantasy of doing so and pulling it off is powerful. Hollywood makes billions appealing to this urge, depicting hero after hero speaking big words and standing up to formidable powers. However, in the real world, the one that we work and live in, confrontation is usually a risky and dangerous thing.…

(read more…)

By Nancy Gardner and Deidra Gammill on July 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

Welcome to SmartBrief Education’s original content series about the unique stories of teacherpreneurs. These are the innovative individuals confronting challenges, creating solutions and challenging the traditional definition of “educator.”

For teachers, the politics surrounding public education sometimes makes it feel more like 1773 than 2015. We can feel marginalized by a system that seems to subject our profession to “test”-ation without adequate representation. And while educators might dream about dumping standardized tests and NCLB paperwork into the Boston harbor, there are far better ways we can advocate for change, like getting involved in productive, meaningful conversations with policymakers.

As teacherpreneurs with the Center for Teaching Quality, both of us sought opportunities to meet with state leaders and initiate conversations about education policy. While our roles gave us structured time for this work, the five “trade secrets” we share here can be adapted and used by any teacher who wants to advocate for the profession.…

(read more…)

By Andre Lavoie on July 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

Goals drive us as a whole (company, that is) and as individuals. They define what we need to do and how we need to do it. As managers and employees, we all have individual goals tailored to the work that we do and the contributions we make to organizational success. The question is, do those goals make sense?

We’ve all heard of the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) way to set goals. Let’s go beyond the popular goal-setting acronym and take a more in-depth look at four characteristics of a truly smart employee goal:

1. It’s transparent.

Company-wide goals aren’t the only goals that should be made public. Employee goals should also be transparent. Bersin’s “Predictions for 2015″ report suggests that high-performing companies make individual work goals public for all to see. Ideally, the whole department — or even office — should be in on it.

When more people know about an employee’s goal, the weight of responsibility increases.…

(read more…)

By Jason Felger on July 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

New data sources, along with artistic product descriptions and a lack of classification standards, have dumped a mound of valuable but hard to interpret data on our doorstep. Now what?

Sweetgreen, Panera, McDonald's

We at Food Genius see food and think data. No matter if we’re looking at a menu, a receipt or an elaborate product description from a supplier, we see food terminology and think data. For example, let’s look at three Thai/Asian salads: the Rad Thai Salad from SweetGreen, the Thai Chicken Salad from Panera, and the Premium Asian Salad with Crispy Chicken from McDonald’s. Salads are simple, right? Just greens, vegetables, a protein and dressing. Ah, but we all know life just isn’t that easy. The true insight is in the detail.

Between SweetGreen, Panera and McDonald’s, they have more than 30 distinct salads on their core menus. To even begin understanding this from a data standpoint, we need to cluster (or what Food Genius calls “normalize”) them by type.…

(read more…)

By Naphtali Hoff on July 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

textbooksLast year at this time I penned an article entitled “The 4 R’s of Summer School.” In it, I presented four strategies to help teachers make the most of their summer vacation.

While school administrators are typically not “off” from school to the same extent as teachers (there is still plenty of planning, ordering, interviewing and the like that occurs over the summer months), the relaxed days of June, July and August present school leaders with a special opportunity that is unique to this time of year. I like to think of them as a principal’s own set of summertime “R’s.”

  1. Rest and relax. Without question, the school year can be very demanding. Stressors abound, in the form of instructional oversight, disciplinary matters and staffing and budgetary shortfalls, just to name a few. Principals burn their candles at both ends in order to make it to the finish line.
  2. (read more…)