The Ed Eppley Experience
The Ed Eppley Experience

Episode 37 · 1 year ago

If You Can't Teach, You Can't Lead

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode of the Ed Eppley Experience (E3'd) you get to meet one of the most enthusiastic and successful leaders in the education of our kids, Dr. Jim Mahoney. If you have a board, you MUST listen to Jim's thoughts on dealing with boards. He's led big and small organizations. He's tested his leadership skills in the military, education and consulting spaces. You'll get energized listening to this exceptional management and leadership pro!

Welcome to the ED epley experience.Twenty minutes that simplifies the complex job of managing and leading people and inspires youto take action on what you probably already know to build and sustain a smartand healthy business. Here's your host Ed Effley to introduce this week's guest andbusiness leader. Welcome to the ED epley experience, the podcast designed to simplifythe complex job of managing and leading people, and our goal today, like onevery podcast, is to share at least one proven business practice that willhelp you build a more sustainable, profitable and purpose driven company. Behind thescenes today, as always, as our good friend Shawn header, and he'sgoing to take care of all the productions. So if this doesn't sound very good, we're going to blame him. Our guests today, the characteristics Isee in him, in no particular order, high energy, man alive. Doeshe have high energy? He's got a thirst for learning. I'm notgoing to ask you how old he is when we talk, but you're goingto hear about I think he's still learning at a very high rate. Heis highly influential and by that he's got to be a highly effective leader.I have no doubts about that and I've gotten confirmation from some people I respectthat he has that capacity. He's really friendly. If you were to meetthis guy on the airplane or in a restaurant, he would become genuinely interestedin you in a very short period of time and you'd want to talk tohim. He's entertaining and I think he's a high school basketball addict. Imay be wrong about that, but I think deep down inside he's pretty addictedto high school basketball. His name is Dr Jim Mahoney. Jim, welcometo the ED epley experience. Hey, and I'm glad to be here.Appreciate the opportunity. Well, you come highly recommended from Dr Bobby Moore.are good mutual friend and I was going to have bobby on my podcast.He said to if you are going to have me on, you got tohave on Jim Mahoney before me. So that's why we're having this conversation today. Tell tell our audience how did a kid from southeastern Ohio get to bethe executive director of Bettel for kids, which is arguably one of the top, what two or three institutions in the United States for improving the way kidslearn. Very fortunate, very very fortunate. Went to a small high school butI had great teachers. Came to highest state and got a great educationthere and after I got out of the army, I was an army officer. I taught school in the s and southeastern Ohio and then moved to anotherpart of southeastern Ohiomas Cam County, where I served as a principal and assistantand superintendent for fifteen years. During that time got to do lots of differentthings, work with many, many wonderful people, and then I got acall from a consultant saying that P'Tel was going to start this new not forprofit and it was my privilege to be the found on an executive director andto work there for fifteen years before I went on to my current position tohigh university on the faculty. So very blessed. This journey is obviously gotfits and starts to it, right starts and stops to it. When didyou actually decide you wanted to go into education? You were in the military, but that they mean. What what was that move about? How didthat come about? It was that at was that a moment or was thatjust a series of things that build up over time. You know, it'sa great question and I'll tell you why, because I've often wondered about that.Because I was in the army and I had the opportunity, this isright as Vietnam was ending, and to have an early release or to havea regular army appointment which would have extended my time. I called Ohio statebecause while I had a degree in education, I hadn't student taught, I didn'thave a certificate, and they said if I want to come back thatvery next part, they'd get me into student teach and that's when I knowI wanted but I can't say I know exactly what was before that. Andthen when I did that, and then...

I got my first job at thiswonderful little school along the little Muskingham River. I used to tell people you can't, you couldn't have taught anyone in Ohio and made less money than whatI did. I found my calling there. I used to think, Gosh,I don't make any money, but who would pay me to have thismuch fun? I had the most supportive parents in the world. At alittle kg school. It talked a grade five through eight and I only taughta couple things. I was actually certified to teach. Were you married atthe time you made this careership? No, no, and it became that becamemy marriage because I had nothing else to do except in best my timeand I found that it was a labor of love. I I'll give youa side just a quick, quick, little aside, ed please, becauseplease, if someone were to ask me what was the best experience I everhad an education, it was the combination of teaching there and I got totell you what happened is the first group of kids I ever had most ofthe day were sixth graders. They're twenty five, five of them. Andthen the next year, now this is little, this little school, there'sone teacher per grade level. So the next year the seventh grade teacher left, so I went to the seventh grade with them and then, Yep,you know, the next year the eighth grade teacher not know, with theeighth grade with me. So my first three years of teaching I had thesame group of kids. We were doing looping before they called it looping,and we buried this time capsule to celebrate the vice in tennial. You're oldenough to remember the vice, and said, Oh yeah, but yeah, wedared this time caps with lots of things in with the idea that somebodydig it up in a hundred years and it would did guess those are culturelike circa one thousand nine hundred and seventy six. Well, somebody had theidea of the class. What don't we dig enough? I remember tease thosekids. Well, when you want to dig it up, you know,teasing them, and but the more they said that, the more I likethe idea. So we agreed July for two thousand. That's nearly twenty fiveyears later. Let's meet back and dig this up. And make a longstory I moved and got contacted by some of those kids and I remember meetingthem in a restaurant Marietta and I walked in there are four of them andI said, oh my goodness, you guys got old. We made plansfor it, we dug it up and of those twenty five kids, twentyone on them were there. It was a great, great day to share. Oh how I had foundation had a great to sponsor a little dinner thenight before and if I would write something, and I did, and those thingscarried over in terms of the things that I learned. If I sharedthe biggest lessons from them. There is appropriate for today's teachers as they werefor me. Now there's a long winded answer to share something too was deeplypersonal, but early on that was just a great event. Well, I'mthinking about how powerful for the kids that you stayed with them on the overthose three years. They one you knew how to help everyone of eight,each one of them. Secondly, they couldn't be asked you that at thatpoint. You knew him. Yeah, you spent more doing either the longthree years. I love it. I love it and preparing for today,you're the first person I've ever interviewed on the Ad Epli Experi that comes fromhigher education, and it occurred to me, you know, I was going toask you about the difference between being a principle and a superintendent and andif you want to give a short explanation, you know I know you well enoughto know you're going to have a simple, empithy explanation about the differencebetween one versus the other. But the second question I want to get tois why did we ever get to that structure? Why? Why did weever settle on a principle and a superintendent. Why not some other structure? I'mguessing about some of the answers,...

...but I want you to share withwith them. Well, I have to tell you people often forget that thereason they called a principle was because they were the principal teacher. They wereboth a teacher and administrator in the early day. And then as we gotaway from one room school and we begin consolidating, then there was an executivehead and and that became the superintendent. But you know, it's interesting.Ed. I'm going to put a shameless quag in for something that I workon for three and a half years. I'm going to have a book comeout. I'm working with the publisher now in the title, but I cantell you the central thesis of it. It is this. If you can'tteach, you can't leave. I'm going to argue that the same qualities thatit takes to be an effective teacher or the same qualities it takes to bean effective principle or superintendent or nonprofit head or in the private sector. That'swhat the books about. There's some endearing things, enduring things that still mattit was a different role. It took me a long time to figure thatas out. I remember a superintendent look at that first war of Jena.I thought, Oh my God, I really want to do this. UntilI started look at at the board agenda. Is Well, this is my lessonplan for the school distance and instead of twelve year olds and thirteen yearold you know, I'm now teaching and coaching adults who are working with them. But as long as I kept that in my head, that really workedfor me. You're listening to the ED epley experience. Email at now withyour questions for today's guest to podcast at the eply GROUPCOM. In his book, let's be clear, six disciplines of focused management pros, author Ed eplebreaks down key practices of professional management, how to implement them and why itmatters. Purchase your copy on Amazoncom today. Develop your competitive edge for the futurewhile building a sustainable and thriving business. I was involved in our school districtout west of Columbus, not on the board, but worked with thesuperintendent and that's actually how I got to really know bobby was, more thananything else, was as result of that activity when he was the vice principleof our school district. But I've always kind of felt like that principles wereinward looking and the superintendent job was to be outward looking. The constituents ofthe superintendent were, for all intents and purposes, the board. Is thatright or not? No, you know, it wasn't for me. I haveokay what I what I said to the board. I said, look, I just want y'all know I work at your pleasure, but I don'twork for you. I don't get up in the morning think Gosh, howcan I please a couple of board members to that and they would lap atit's the truth. I worked on behalf of kids and teachers to make itas systems that kids would want to go to. I realize I work atthe pleasure of the board and I engage the board, but I never feltlike I ever worked for them and if we did good things they would getthe credit for it. And I was very fortunate to work for boards whogave us lots of room and gave me lots a room because I learned along time ago. You know, there's about the difference between a halo anda news is about six inches. So it's a fine line. You workwith that. But I was very fortunate to work with boards who really caredabout the end results. So I never looked like I was working for them. It was on behalf the community. To Jim, you never gave themthe opportunity to think that they that you were working for them. You youmade a clear from the beginning that you were there at their pleasure, butyou are not worried about whether or not they were happy. Absolutely, youknow, I you think about most things, and I think this is where,whether it's in the private sect or not, whatever all you want,it's usually a byproduct of having done things...

...well. Somebody asked me about coaching. Said you want to win. I said no, just every game Iever coached. Of course I wanted to win, but it wasn't just aboutwinning. I know it sounds Triton Wren, but if you do the other kindsof things well, winning is a byproduct of that. If you're ina business and you do the you communicate well, you mark it well,you do the things that need to be done well, then if your goalis profit, you'll find those. But if you only talk about profit withpeople that that's a harder conversation. So while it might be focused, Ithink it's always a byproduct of doing things where they ought to be done.That sounds very much like a John Wooden philosophy about athletics and life, thatif you do these fundamental things over and over again, you're going to getrewarded innumerable ways that that probably other people would care about. But but againit's an outcome, it's not a driver as such. I'm going to askthis question because I've always wanted to and because I get to host this show, I get to do the things I want to do. So I'm goingto ask this question. What are some of the unspoken truth or things thatyou and your fellow experts and education believed to be true about? Why dowe seem to spend more on education and ever and yet feel like we getless for it? Some people do feel that way. I understand that becausethe cost of it has gone up, but the truth is we've added agreat deal to that. But if I go back to the first party years, when I think about the truth, I don't think these are true.But Harry Truman had a wonderful line I love. He said I don't givepeople hell, I just tell him the truth, and it sounds like hell. So I'm going to give you two or three truths that are to me, and I often say school is the opposite for adults and kids. AndKids, or kids rather, they get the lesson and the test. That'snot true for adults. You get the test and then the lessons. We'regoing to a major test right now with this pandemic. But putting it asidesome of the lessons, here's one. Sometimes somebody might dated me. Soall poor Bernadine, she's burn out. Well, she's not burned out,she was never lit. The truth of it is enthusiasm does matter, andenthusiasm doesn't always mean talking eight hundred words of minutes. What I mean kidsknow whether or not you really enjoy them and want to be there and enjoywhat you're doing. And that's true in sales of anything, because I kindof think we're all in sales. It's about as hard to tell sell seventhgraders on fractions on a sunny afternoon when it's ninety degrees outside there's no airsit is selling vacuum cleaners door to doors, but it's really hard to do itwith that enthusiasm. Encouragement, affirmation matters. I thought it was.It me. Several years ago Oprah Winfrey gave a graduation speech at Harvard.Somebody told me about so I had downloaded it. I read it. Shehad a great line in there. It was, and I'm paraphrasing, shesaid she was she had interviewed by that time some twenty Fivezero people, shesaid, former presidents of the US, current president and some of the worstmis grants God had ever created. But she said when the camera stop theyall said the same thing or a variation. She said they would look at meand she goes, was that okay? That's it makes sense. Affirmation matters. Now. I'm not talking around going around giving an eminem to everybody, but feedback is the breakfast of champions and people need feedback about how they'redoing, and it's not just you know it and that you get it regularly. That's why there many companies have stopped doing annual evaluations, and I sayAmen. It'd be like me coaching baseball again and I have a kid whodid X, Y Z and I wait...

...till the seasons over us. Isay well, bobby, you never watch the ball into the Gulf. Everytime. You pull your head up and say, well, do you coach. Why? You tell me if the first time I did it come wewaited till the seasons over timely feedback matters to hell, people, but youcare enough about him to do it. Dale Carnegie and his book how towin friends and influence people had a human relations prince would said. Be Hardyin your praise and lavish in your approbation. There are a lot of people whotook that for butter people up and that's not at all what it means. Yeah, not at all. You know, Lee, I like Itried to use the Lei a coco line, which would have been carnegie. Idon't know. Three point out, which was praise in public, criticizeand private. When I had something to say that was direct, I wentto the person and I was clear about it. When I had something reallygood to say, I tried to always write it down say it out loud. For some people it's doing in public, and I do whatever those things.But feedback is not one or the other. Feedback is feedback and Ithink that's one of those lessons that I think fits in it for any leaderrole. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. If you could wave a magic wandand make changes in what's going on in our colleges and universities to make themmore effective. What would it be? I think I always come back torelevancy, and that's not to make everything nuts and bolts, but it's alsonot to make everything theory either. I always remember, when all means tearsbell right, Terence Bell was sectory of education under Reagan and he came tospeaking Ohio and Terence Bell had been a high school teacher and principle and SuperintendentOut West and then was in higherd eventually made his way to sectary of educationand he was speaking to a group of super for intend and I just lovedwhat he said. He said, you know, he said when I wasa school superintendent, he said I had endless problems and no solutions. Hesaid then I became a college professor and I had in the solutions and noproblems. That somewhere. I love working for the void of this school ofpublic service because so many of our faculty are really intertwined with the community andwhat they do. So I think it's to always be in it's not tomake it a total skill shop, but it's to offer some relevancy. Theother thing there's a study that came out by a group called strata a coupleyears ago. That said it was almost fifty percent of the people have degrees. If they were to go back, would get them something else? OhYeah, now, I don't know. I think, and I don't blamethis on colleges, this is the proverbial loss. Helping kids to figure outa little more about who they are so that they don't make those mistakes atsuch high costs and high payments back. mean the average kids still has thirtyfive to fortyzero dollars in college death that they're paying until they're mid S,and it'd be nice to help them to figure out who they were and Setteraat a lesser cost earlier. It's a disservice that we let them get intothat situation. It really is, and we all play a role in that, no doubt about it. Yeah, other than a family member, who'shad the most impact in you becoming a leader you are today, I wouldsay several mentors, and I encourage people to go find mentors. Before yousell us on it. Tell us about which we I don't. We don'tanswer the necessarily know to need to know their name, but what did heor she do as a mentor that influenced you in a significantly well as anearly leader. There was a superintendent who hired me as a middle school principal. Then he made me his assistant superintendent and I used to tease him Iwas his not I was not well dressed,...

I was not quiet, I wasnot as thoughtful as I should be, and he was everything I was not. And he had been superintendent at the time for sixteen years. Heknew that not only did I need a lot of Proney, but that Ialso brought some things that he thought were important to the organization and I learnedso much from him and we work together as a team of two people thatwere different in ages and everything else. And then he became county superintendent afterhaving been a local superintendent for nearly twenty years. He did that for tenyears and I followed him again as the county superintendent and I teased him atthe time. I said, you know, I guess I need to know what'sgoing to do next, because barely almost of my life following me.But he was, he was he was worth following because I learned so muchin behavior of your approaches. All of those things influenced me a great deal. And then when I was it bet tell, I would tell you oneof the mentors was the CEO of Betel and I'm going to give his nameto Carl Court. And Carl was at the tell for a number of yearsand he was another one who was supportive but whom I learned a lot fromand he took time here. He is CEO of the largest not for profitin the world, but whenever I needed to reach him I could. Hehad talked to me, he had listened it offer ideas. He didn't goaround shooting on me. You know, and I still to this day,I don't like shutters. Shutters are the one you should if you should that, you should that now. He he would help me to frame things,think through and consider, and that's different than shutting on me. I alwaysmake that distinction between a coach and a manner. A coach will give youtwo do is. A coach will say you have to do this by thisdate. If they're if you know, basically they hold your account for doingsomething matters are really good at holding up the mirror and make and making youlook at it and say, do you like what you see? You're notright on one of the things he told me, and I think him everytime I get this inclination, he always assumed positive motivation. Always. Yeah, and I that that's the wonderful feature. And every time I just wanted,you know, ring somebody's neck, I think him. Think, okay, I just need to assume positive motivation a minute. Yeah. Um,what's the biggest thing business can learn from education? I think, and againI make this case in the book, is that the same things that maketeachers effective, for example, people who are able to engage kids, engagingkids as a proxy for learning. In the moment, leaders in any businessneed to engage their staff. You want your staff with you. So thereare principles of engagement. Engagement is not having to staff meeting and simply tellingpeople things. If you're going to do that, right a memo. Iwant people engaged so that they're actively engaged and figuring out how to do that. So I think that's one, because engagement both in business in business,we know it's a proxy for less absentee is it's it's a proxy for productivityin it's audibly a proxy for profit. Yeah, and that's where you wantto get so that's why you want to engage and that's what's what good teachersdo. What's the biggest thing that education can learn from business? Step upand take accountability. There is such sometimes a very destructive part of capitalism becauseyou know how you're doing. I always thought a had it coaching. Youwant the ultimate demonstration. It's your team out there, and the more wecan do that and feel that real sense of ownership and accountability. Now thatI you know the teachers do that, but I think it's not as transparentand too often we try to get it...

...down to a few things because itis complex. But I do think there's a real accountability in business that's unrelenting, it's clear, it's transparent. And how do we take some of thosefeatures and add accountability to schools in a way that's not mickey mouse and alsonot unintentionally destructive, not intentionally creating more collateral damage than the benefit it wouldprovide? Exactly? Well, our time has gone fast, which is agood sign for me because it means that to you and I've had a goodconversation and hopefully you felt the same way, Jim. One of the things wealways promised to our listeners is, if they listen long enough, we'regoing to give him one proven idea that will help them run a more sustainableand successful business, and that could be if they're the owner, a presidentor even a just an executive or manager within it. If there's only onething that you could share with our audience that you think you only can dothis one thing, what would that one thing be? Okay, this isthis is the bit of a big one, but I want to stay this becauseI think they'll remember it. There's a wonderful writer, David Brooks,and in a book about character, he talked about the difference between resume virtuesand EULOGII virtues. When I read a bitch, where's I read them?With this present I don't know whether I read them because I'm iris in theseare the sports pages for Irish, but I read them, but I canalways see the what his distinction. Resume virtues are he or she was chairof lead, captain, you know, they're all kinds of things that arethat are big achievements that would be on somebody's resume if they're applying for ajob. Eulogy virtues are the kind of person you were. He or shelit the room up. He or she was a friend. Everyone would takethe shirt. It's who you are. Now I have a bias. Mybias is who you are, and I thought about I'm going to finish witha quote in a book by General mcrystal. He said people will forgive you fornot being the kind of leader you could have been, but they won'tforgive you for not being the kind of leader you claim to be. Thisis why Allen Degeneres is struggling right now. So you have to decide. Mylast is, what do you claim to be, and then be it. So that's it, because the kind of person you are will determine theculture of the followers. All of that. It's not a strategy, it's ayou love it, love it, Jim. If people want to reachyou, what's the best way for them to reach reach out to you?Day Mahoney, got fifty nine at gmailcom or I've got a website red brickhill, and if you go to Jim w Mahoney, you get the RedBrick Hill or red brick hill and you can get my if you want mymonthly book notes. There's no cost for anything there. I know I haveto be the only guy that still sends his English teacher book reports. Ido every month. That help people gleans my ideas they might use because it'sstill fun to learn. And yes, my English teacher is still living andwe're still good friends. He's Jim Mahoney. He's Dr Jim Mohoney. He's gota book coming out. What September? Once it whence it coming? Well, we help. We're trying to figure out. Wouldn't be the besttime for but late this fault or early in the year. All right,if you can't teach, you can't lead. And boy I love the name ofthat. You've been such a pleasure to have on the at epli experience. Jim, thanks for being our guests, Hey, and thank you very verymuch. All Right, fine now. Thank you for listening to the EDepply experience. For more information on building a more sustainable, smarter andHealthier Business, visit www the eply groupcom for resources, tips and D's latestblocks. That's the EPLY EPP l Ey groupcom. Plus, take a freeassessment at the eply Groupcom assessment to find...

...out how you measure up as ahighly skilled and accomplished manager and where to focus on improving your skills,.

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