Transitioning from one year to the next is often filled with time to reflect, gain insights, and the golden opportunity to push the “reset” button for new exciting opportunities.  

As you enter 2015 you have probably thought about some things you would like to improve both personally and professionally.  Maybe you even thought about the traditional “New Years Resolution” that is often abandoned by most people in February.  It can be very difficult to narrow your focus to one thing you would like to change with the very best of intentions.  So, keep it simple in 2015 with one word.

Last year, I stumbled upon a book by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen entitled “My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word“.  They outline a simple process to help you lose that long list of changes you would like to make personally or professionally in the new year and suggest to narrow your focus to just one word. Below are three simple steps they recommend to help you focus.

Step #1 Determine the Type of Person You Want to Become

The first step is to simply take some time and decide what kind of person you want to be at the end of this year. This goes beyond simply being healthier and wealthier, but it must drive deep into your soul.

Step #2 Identify the Characteristics of That Person

Get a picture of that person and then simply identify their major characteristics. What are the qualities of the person you want to become?

Step#3 Pick A Word

Once you have a list of characteristics, simply pick a word. There might be fifteen things that you want to change, but you must not resist the temptation to promise you will do them all.

I have used this approach for the last two years and have found it very helpful in making lasting improvements both personally and professionally.

So, why not use a similar approach with your faculty or staff in 2015?  Below are some ideas to try at your next faculty, staff, or department meeting in 2015. 

Idea # 1

Try the same process outline above at your next faculty or staff meeting and have each individual pick one word from the list of characteristics they identified about the person they want to become.  Sharing their personal word should be optional.

Idea #2

Use the same process outline above but change the type of person to the type of STEAM Leadership/arts integration classroom.

  1. Determine the type of STEAM/arts integration classroom you want to create. 
  2. Identify the characteristics of that STEAM/arts integration classroom. 
  3. Pick one word from the list of STEAM/arts integration classroom characteristics. 
  4. Have members share their words in small groups and explain why they selected their one word.  Narrow the words to a single word. 
  5. Visually display all the word in your school or office area for everyone to see and refer back to them at future meetings.  Place the single word they faculty or staff came up with in the center. 

Idea # 3

Use the same process outlined above but change the type of STEAM/Arts Integration classroom to the type of STEAM/arts integration school/district.  You can use this activity with your entire faculty/staff or your STEAM leadership team.

  1. Determine the type of STEAM/arts integration school/district we want to create.
  2. Identify the characterises of that STEAM/arts integration school. 
  3. Pick one word from the list of STEAM/arts integration school characteristics. 
  4. Have members share their words in small groups and explain why the selected their one word.  Narrow the words to a single word. 
  5. Visually display the one single word for everyone to see and refer back to it often. 

Idea #4

Use the same process and modify to meet your needs with your STEAM/arts integration implementation and have fun.  This also might be a great activity to do at the beginning of the school year and use the January faculty meeting as a reflection on the word the faculty or staff selected at the start of the year.

What words did your faculty or staff select regarding the type of STEAM Leadership/arts integration classroom, school, or district they wanted to create? 

Were there any other modifications you made to this process to help support your faculty/staff that other leaders would find useful? 

Share your experiences and words with us!