Lead from the inside out.

In Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ is the idea that his Golden Circle corresponds with the brain. The “what” level of his circle corresponds with the neocortex, responsible for rational thought and language.

The inner “why” corresponds with the limbic brain, responsible for feeling and behavior. His example of primarily communicating our “what” explains that we understand other’s meaning, but we might not feel what they feel, and our behavior is not changed. 

But if we communicate our WHY, if we communicate from the inside out, we use emotion. We are connecting with our stakeholders on a more gut level, and we are able to capture their belief with our own.

In considering my innovation plan of constructing ePortfolios, I can make a similar comparison to the brain. My students will be constructing learning in each content area on their ePortfolio. They might be initiating that construction in those classrooms, with those teachers, divided from other teachers and content areas by classroom walls. But when they become more invested in the EP construction, and start collaborating more with their peers, they will be able to make connections that would not be possible without the ePortfolio. Much like a brain, constant connections will be formed anywhere and any time collaboration happens. As they construct their EP, they construct learning. They learn how to learn. 

And first, their teachers need to understand how to facilitate that construction and collective action. Communicating this why to them will create a sense of urgency, inspire belief, and change behavior. 

Why What How by Colby Clifford

Vital Smarts Video. (2015). How to change people who don’t want to change: the behavioral science guys. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/9ACi-D5DI6A.

Dr. John Kotter. (2011). John Kotter – The heart of change. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/1NKti9MyAAw.

Dr. John Kotter. (2013). Leading change: establish a sense of urgency. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI.

Sinek, S. (2009, September). How great leaders inspire action [Video]. Ted Conferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en#t-546057

Tedx Talks. (2014). Why Ted Talks don’t change people’s behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/W0jTZ-GP0N4.

BRAIN Based Universal Design for Learning

Reading through research on Universal Design for Learning is fascinating – each part is important and evident in a significant learning environment.

But the WHY is the crux for me. My first blog post is a response to Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, with WHY in the middle. He hammers home his thesis by suggesting that the Circle is a visual for the brain, and effective because it’s what the brain looks like.  

And thinking about what happens in the brain when we have a growth mindset, I keep visuallizing connections happening when we are confronted with challenges, and the connections that WE are all making as we confer and discuss what we are learning with each other.

I was sort of figuring all of this out, feeling like an imposter when I wrote about it on March 2. It’s AMAZING how much we’ve learned since then.

If we keep our WHY at the forefront, we feed our growth mindset!

And what does EDL and personalized learning mean for the learner? EVERYTHING! Personalized learning is COVA – is provides the opportunity for choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity. It’s all connected. 

Start With Why- ePortfolios?

I just finished reading Simon Sineck’s best selling book of the same name, Start With Why. Sineck effectively illustrates the difference in companies that motivate and inspire long-lasting change in the way we think and live. Companies that function more as movements that change the world.

His idea comes down to something very simple: The Golden Circle. This circle is actually three circles. The outer circle narrates WHAT; something that every company rattles off quickly, and is almost always in the lead. The second circle is HOW; the quick follow-up to the WHAT. The inner circle is WHY. Your purpose.

Sinek proposes that when WHY is in the lead, there is a message that is much more compelling. When we hear a motivational reason at the very start, it functions as a lit match, and the follow-up HOW and WHAT just burn brighter.

He even compares his visual of the circle to the biology of the brain. We can’t help buy love the WHY first because our brains are built to receive it.

I love it. I bought it. Not only that, I was able to identify my WHY right away.

I want to be the giver of favorite books. I want hundreds of people to remember middle school for what they read.

If that can happen, I believe they will have more meaningful, connected lives. That’s WHY I teach. The WHAT is that I teach. And my HOW changes constantly.

Maybe this space (ePortfolio, blog, website…whatever) can function as my own Golden Circle. It will exemplify my WHY, WHAT and HOW.

Maybe I’ll build it with blog posts remaining on the homepage, with my WHY to keep my focus on my purpose. Readers can click around if they are curious about what I’m reading, or what I’m learning about. This will be my corner of the internet to document how different learning environments are coming together, or how projects are going.

And here, on the home page, I will always start with WHY.