This past semester, I had the honor of leading a Mastermind with principals from across the U.S.
Like eating a meal with family members each week, a Mastermind is a way for consistent growth with people you trust and admire. Dr. Jeff Springer has helped facilitate the Principal Matters Mastermind by leading our weekly book study portion. In this week’s podcast episode, we spend time talking about the benefits of Masterminds for education leaders.
Welcome Back Dr. Jeff Springer
An educator for 34 years, Dr. Jeff Springer is the founder of Spring Strategies LLC and the G.O.A.L. TEAM (Getting Others to Achieve Higher Levels), created for helping high school students and young adults to maximize their personal leadership potential. Jeff, a former Texas High School Head Football Coach and eleven-year veteran of the classroom, is also formerly the Principal at Magnolia High School (2002-2016), in Magnolia, Texas. In 2013, he was selected as the State of Texas TASSP State Principal of the year. Jeff resides in Montgomery, Texas with his wife of 38 years. They have two children, and two grandchildren.
Community, Engagement, Transformation and Collegiality
WDP: One of my friends Jethro Jones compared the Mastermind to eating a great meal. A conference or workshop can be a great event or experience, like a quick meal. But a Mastermind can be like a family meal shared every week with people you trust, admire and respect.
Dr. Springer: Yes, I like that analogy. The opportunity to sit around the table with leaders from across the country who bring their own flavors to the feast. We enjoy several courses, and each week we experience new recipes from each other. And you walk away with one new idea to apply every time!
WDP: I know we want to talk about how Masterminds building community, engagement, transformation and collegiality. Can you start with how a Mastermind builds community?
Dr. Springer: The ability to share what you learn is a powerful opportunity. To listen to leaders share where they are – the different localities, grade levels, experiences that can inform others. That support provides a community approach to leading your campus.
WDP: Yes, it seems every time you are together, you discover something new about the other members you didn’t know before. During our book study of my new book Pause. Breathe. Flourish., for instance, we build community through exploring areas each of us is discovering in self-reflection.
Dr. Springer: There is the professional growth. But the bonus is knowing each other on a personal level. Between meetings you also share via Voxer messages. This Mastermind is a great model for carrying into your in-person relationships with your teams and schools.
WDP: Can you unpack how Masterminds lead to engagement?
Dr. Springer: What I have seen and hear from our Mastermind members is that this is vital part of their week. Whether they are principals or assistant principals, they make this a priority. They are so involved in the process, they don’t want to miss a week. If duty requires them to miss, they ask for the recording so they can keep learning.
WDP: I love how the Mastermind also facilitates additional conversations. Even outside the hot-seat moments, people continue connecting after the meetings for further learning and collaboration.
Dr. Springer: That leads to our next area, which is transformation. We didn’t do this intentionally, but community builds engagement. And you cannot have transformation without engagement. Even though you come to the table with an idea, you discover there is plethora of ideas because there may be more than one idea for a solution. Now you have more tools in your toolbox because of the conversations that happen in a Mastermind.
WDP: During the pandemic, principals have brought ideas that have helped one another with lessons that can help them as they face new challenges that others may have already faced. Can you unpack our final takeaway: the benefits of collegiality?
Dr. Springer: Collegiality and community are closely related. The professional growth that happens in these meetings leads to a group of professionals who care deeply what is happening in each others’ schools. This happens with confidentiality and a commitment to helping each other grow, which is why the resulting collegiality of a Mastermind is so powerful.
WDP: One of things I’m excited about for 2021 is the possibility of opening an additional Mastermind with you, Dr. Springer, leading as a Principal Matters Coach. If school leaders are interested in these offerings for the new semester, they can visit the “Mastermind” tab on my website for more information.
Now It’s Your Turn
Listen to the entire podcast episode for more takeaways. Whether or not you join a Mastermind, you can always find more growth when you are willing to connect with others and to be vulnerable about the challenges you are facing and lessons you are learning. What is one way you can commit to connecting with others in the coming semester so that you continue growing?