Blanchard Leadership Institution Kicks off the New Year

The Blanchard Leadership Institute began the second Sprint® of the 2020-2021 school year on Monday, January 4th, with the entire Brookstone faculty participating.

It speaks volumes to our faculty’s ability to adapt and to their level of preparation that they were able to devote three and a half hours of the very first day back to school in the new year to professional development, despite having been told we would be moving to all virtual instruction only three days before. It is one more reminder of Why Brookstone? Because our faculty is the best!

Having completed a pilot Sprint® this past fall with 40 faculty members and 30 students, this Sprint involves the entire faculty, administration, and staff members as well.

Perhaps you are thinking, “What exactly is a Sprint® ?”

A Sprint® is an intensive 4-week experience to help you set and reach your individual and work-related goals while building a stronger and more cohesive team. It’s both personal and professional at the same time. What makes it easy to implement during the school year and in the middle of a regular work day is that it is not an additional item on your to-do list. It is not additional work. It is working on how you work, thinking about how you think.

Meeting in both large groups and smaller “Peer Groups,” all of the “Sprinters” have chosen one improvement goal to work on and conduct experiments throughout this process to test our assumptions. A goal can be anything – something professional or something personal, something lofty or something very small. For example, some goals might be, “I want to get better at being organized.” “I want to get better at being direct in my communications.” I want to get better at being flexible with my schedule.” It can be anything. The Sprint® is designed to help you break these goals down and then set you on a path to actually growing or improving in these areas.

And since it’s January, it’s a good time to point out that this is not the same type of goal setting as some might do when setting New Year’s Resolutions. This work is rooted in human behavioral science and is based on researched methodology out of Harvard University. It helps participants understand their “Immunity to Change” and how to overcome it, leading to true personal and professional growth.

As TDE writes, working through your “Immunity to Change” process, “you shift your behavior more easily and sustainably because you’ve actually changed the thinking behind your actions (or inaction). You’ve let go of old assumptions that have held you back, and you’ve moved into a larger field of action than you previously thought possible. You’ve also helped others do the same within a peer community of mutual support and accountability. 

Stan Vaughn, our Director of Facilities, shared with the faculty his thoughts on the Sprint before we got started.

Many of our faculty and administration have participated in more than one Sprint® now and we all know how much we’ve benefitted from the experience each time. Through these Sprints®, we will be equipping our students and faculty with the skills and tools needed to have a continuous growth mindset both personally and professionally. It will become so ingrained in their thoughts and habits, it has the potential to produce change like we’ve never seen in a school community before. Not only will be this transformative in the lives of our current students and faculty, we also know it will be an incredible recruitment tool for us to use as we seek to attract the very best faculty around. 

We’ve received some really positive feed back already. One teacher wrote in an email, “You could not know how special today was for everyone in my peer group. We shared our hearts and souls in the first five minutes of our time together! We have many common threads. It was a time to breathe, reflect, and connect. I feel very blessed to be a part of this CARING COMMUNITY and to have my PEER GROUP. What an experience… speechless. Very touching!!!”

Another teacher said this process brought things to the forefront that they’ve been meaning to address but just haven’t. Still another wrote about how much she appreciated the wisdom and insight gleaned from working with the TDE team.

Another one said, “I am thankful to be doing this deep and worthy work.”

The long-term plan is for the Blanchard Leadership Institute is to host two Sprints® a year, one in the fall and one in the spring, with the option of a third sprint in the summer that could be opened up to the broader Brookstone community including parents and alumni.

To help us accomplish that goal, six of our administrative team are being trained to become Sprint® leaders themselves.

Our Head of School, Marty Lester, completed the first part of his training in November with Dr. Bob Kegan from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. The rest of us completed the first portion of our training with Dr. Deb Helsing, also from Harvard University. It was fascinating to take part in it and, again, served as such a reminder of what an incredible opportunity this is for us as a school. We were training with people from all over the world, most of whom worked for a company based in Switzerland, but were located in Greece, India, France, Austria, Canada. It was amazing. To say that Brookstone has partnered with a world renowned organization is not an exaggeration. 

We want to thank the Blanchard family again for this opportunity. Working with The Developmental Edge and the Blanchard Leadership Institute will be and has already been transformative for Brookstone School.

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