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I broke my golden rule for you on this!

There’s no plausible rhyme or reason for some of the rules that I live by.  I always put my left sock on first, I always eat my vegetables before my meat and I NEVER stand up to take photos of a slide when a speaker is presenting.

Yet here I was watching James Clear, the acclaimed author of “Atomic Habits”, speak in Sydney recently when I found myself fumbling with my phone to catch a shot of a slide – so deeply did it resonate with me and so fervently was my wish to share it with you.

See what you’ve done to me!

As leaders, we all have an ego, and while it may feel good to be well regarded by those we lead our reputation is actually something that we’d do well to cultivate intentionally from time to time.  Your reputation, you see, is more than just a vague judgement or meaningless assessment provided by a colleague over a few drinks on a Friday evening.

Your reputation is your legacy as a work in progress.  Those you lead will not remember so much of what you did, regardless of how Machiavellian that work may have been.  I personally remember being disappointed upon my departure from one school as Principal that those still there never spoke to me about my effective strategic plans or the operational targets that I hit.  

More than anything, they remembered the quirky and happy “Good morning!” that I gave every class and every assembly.  Of course it didn’t matter so much that I said “Good morning”.  It was how I said it, with joy and enthusiasm followed by two claps (again, for no plausible rhyme or reason), that they remembered.

With every “Good morning” I was building a reputation that I was a joyful and enthusiastic person to be led by.  Every “Good morning” was a vote for the type of leader I wanted to become and be seen as.  More pragmatically, this reputation allowed our school to be positioned as a destination school in the area.  Therefore, we attracted enthusiastic and positive educators who achieved outstanding results.

The embedding of that simple habit grew into something quite profound for our school. 

My question to you today is a simple one.  How are the actions you are demonstrating today working as votes for the reputation you want as a leader?


One day is all it takes to transform your instructional model, your relational focus and your classroom climate.  It’s really a no-brainer!



Teacher stress is caused by the absence of a plan for improvement in student behaviour. This day is about building that plan.