Friday, 1 December 2017


I have had a great week with some amazing friends, colleagues and young people and I constantly wonder why is there is so much negativity, criticism and unpleasantness around. Education, schools, teachers and colleagues, some working in some of the most challenging contexts, are doing a great job but are constantly criticised in the media, by OFSTED and by the DfE. We need to change the culture surrounding education and learning to create a more positive, reflective and supportive framework and critically we all need a rule book to help us live our lives.

 Interestingly, I re-read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” recently. It’s a great book, first published in 1937, and things don’t get any clearer than this:
  • Don’t criticise, condemn or complain;
  • Give honest and sincere feedback;
  • Be genuinely interested;
  • Smile and laugh;
  • Remember colleagues names;
  • Be a good listener;
  • Make colleagues feel valued;
  • Avoid arguments;
  • Respect colleagues opinions;
  • Admit it when you are wrong;
  • Be friendly and supportive;
  • Get colleagues to agree with you;
  • Let colleagues do the talking;
  • Let others feel that ideas are theirs;
  • See things from colleagues’s viewpoints;
  • Be sympathetic to other ideas;
  • Appeal to the moral purpose;
  • Tell powerful stories;
  • Set colleagues challenges;
  • Begin with praise and appreciation;
  • Identify mistakes indirectly;
  • Talk about your own mistakes;
  • Ask questions;
  • Help colleagues save face;
  • Praise every little thing;
  • Talk colleagues up;
  • Use encouragement;
  • Encourage people to be happy at work; and
  • Keep it simple.
Whatever you do 'keep it simple' should be etched on the wall in every staff room, every office and every home. Complexity is a type of intellectual pollution that drives out clarity of purpose, smothers thinking and common sense and impacts negatively and destructively on colleagues happiness, productivity and engagement. We all know that life is becoming more and more complicated and if we don't make the effort, if we don't train ourselves to make things simpler, you can guarantee our lives will become busier, less efficient and even more stressful and destructive.
So... Keep the faith and keep it simple!

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