How Negative Nancy’s at Your School Can Be A Blessing and Not A Curse! | The Better Mindset Podcast | Episode Seven

Every leader, whether you are leading a school or your classroom, has faced those people on your team who cause disruption and lower the overall temperature. We can get trapped in a spiral of avoiding and judging them. Mark and Bex dive into some effective and practical steps for identifying and overcoming, even enhancing your team through the help of these kinds of people and mindset. Richard, one of the UTB trainers, also has his best attempt at convincing severe spreadsheet avoiders why these tools can be an asset in your classroom and schools.  

Here are some of the resources we’ve mentioned in this episode:

1. Good to Great – JIm Collins
2. UTB Online Excel Courses
3. UTB Online Sheets Courses 

We post every week and would love to have you keep up with us. If you know someone who would get value from these episodes, hit the share button and let them know. Lastly, if you have questions or anything to share with us, email us at You can also contact Bex at to find out how you can get free PD in your schools (NZ) or follow us on Instagram at @usingtechnologybetter or on

We’d love to hear from you! See you next week.


2:15 – People who are stereotypical “speed bumps”
6:30 – The analogy of a bus and the walker
29:30 – How to turn a skeptical person into a champion once you win them over
35:22 – How to use spreadsheets in education
39:12 – Spreadsheets are like a puzzle

Podcast Transcript Podcast Below

Bex Rose: 0:00

Tell a kid. They’re really good at keeping you accountable.

Mark Herring: 0:03

All right, yeah, yeah.

Bex Rose: 0:05

The kids in your class you know, if you say you’re gonna do something, gosh, I remember when I had to fill up my prize jar or whatever. And I forget and, and sometimes I would actually get emails from them saying, this is where I was remember to get the night

Mark Herring: 0:20

Yeah. And this reminds me like all of these types of people like it when you’re in your school as a leader, you will have these people on your staff and in your teams, but as a classroom teacher, this is totally irrelevant, because you will have this people, these people as your learners in front of you in your classroom the better mindset podcast. Welcome to the better mindset Podcast, episode seven. I’m Mark. I’m Vic’s conversations about leadership, learning and educational technologies. On today’s episode, we launched into two new segments. Next, the first is going to unpack some practical things that you can do to lead stereotypical speed bumps on your team. And Richard, one of the trainers is going to try and convince us that spreadsheets are not just for number nerds. Okay, big. So what do you typically do when you have someone booked for an interview, and then you have cyclones. And then last night, we had an earthquake, and we’ve got all sorts of different things going on. Sometimes plans have to change, right? Because for a lot of people, you might not realize that we record these pretty much one or two weeks in advance. And so at the moment, what has been happening is all of the cycle is happening and Auckland, we’ve had to change our plans. So when you’ve got to come up with something that last minute, you invent a whole new segment. So that’s what we’re gonna be doing today. We’re inventing a whole new segment. And what I thought we could call this new segment is, wait for it handy how tos. And so you’ve also the little bumper that we’ve got at a time. Now, if you’re walking on a treadmill or something like that, and you heard me wrong, I didn’t say hansy. How to that wasn’t Handsy how-tos. And we want to, we want to but I didn’t tell you that check in advance. We want to we want to just be able to dive into some things that are really going to help you in the leadership teaching space in your schools. Because this is an education podcast, we’re talking about all the different things that are going to help us lead, whether we’re a leader with a title or whether we’re leading a classrooms. And so the topic for today, the Handy how to is all about how to deal with people who are stereotypical speed bumps. And it’s an analogy that I thought relates really well to the types of people in our team that are sometimes slowing us down causing friction. Some analogies, we’ll call them anchors or the types of people that as leaders, we can kind of see as somebody who is just restricting any progress, and we’ve got some names for them. Do you want to give us those names very quickly. Next, tell us speed bump people up?

Bex Rose: 2:48

can indeed and I’m sure you will picture people as you go along. So stereotypical speed bumpers are Negative Nancies, The Know-It-All Nigels, Say, YES do NO Nellies and Skeptical Simons

Mark Herring: 3:05

Awesome. You’ll notice that what we’ve done with those is we’ve got some gender balance there. And I just want to have a quick little caveat. I didn’t include any Karen’s because I think Karen’s have had a bad rap over the year. I know some wonderful parents. And if your name if you are assignment, or you are Nancy, that doesn’t mean that we’re talking we still absolutely, yeah, so we’re gonna be talking about those people specifically, and give you some handy how tos on how to deal with people who fall into that category. But something that I think is quite interesting to reflect on for all of us is the fact that we can sometimes fall into that trap, like, I know, I’m not pointing the finger at people and saying that person is less than we definitely don’t want you as a leader to go around and start handing out name badges. But just one of the things that you can do as a quick reflection is thinking about the times when maybe you’ve been a little bit of a negative Nancy, or some, you know, you’re kind of being a bit skeptical, okay, so we’re going to talk about that. But we’re going to unpack all four of those different types of people. And that’s not exhaustive, but those are just four that we’re going to look at today, and give you some practical how to use to how to deal with it. But there are some key things that we think in the leadership space that will help you deal with all of them at once kind of like filters or frameworks or ways of thinking that will help you, you know, still get the traction that you want to in your team. So the first key is to think about the fact that relationship building is key, right? So you have to build strong relationships with those people. And I know that when I’m when I’m in teams, and I’ve got people who have got those kinds of traits, or they might have that lens that they look through, it can be really easy to just sort of avoid them in the corridor or not. One is it makes them in the staff room or, you know, like not really warm to them very quickly. But relationship leadership is all about relationships. It’s it’s one of the core pillars, and something that I think is really important. And so there are lots of different ways that you can build relationships with people. I think about the listening skill, you know, you’ve Think about every time that you stop and help them carry something into their classroom or how, you know, like, help them pick up stuff. It’s all pennies in the jar, right? It’s all those, you know, building credits for the time when you actually need them. You know, is there anything that you’d add to that relationship building anything else that people can think about to do that? Yeah, totally.

Bex Rose: 5:18

Last week, we touched on the workplace love languages. So knowing what their workplace love languages, you’re not likely remembering the coffee order all the way through to knowing what their grandson’s name is. So those things really make a huge difference to people. But knowing exactly what would float the boat in terms of relationship building would be key to that, I think.

Mark Herring: 5:40

Yeah, and we even heard on a recent coaching session that we had internally where someone was saying, you know, on the coaching notes that you’re making, right down the person’s name of their partner, what’s their dog’s name, your dog’s name, you know, when are they birthdays, those types of things, and just sort of keeping across that some people are really good at doing that. Other people like me, just really not detail orientated. So

Bex Rose: 6:02

yeah, having never forgetting my dog’s name.

Mark Herring: 6:06

One time, remember one time? Yeah, yeah. So that’s, that’s really good. And also, I think, you know, the other thing that I’ve got on my notes there for for building relationships is just giving people airtime. So when you’re in meetings, you know, I just saying, you know, Nancy, what do you think about that, you know, actually doing that, at this moment, you’re deliberately creating space and it builds relationship, you’re telling them how much you value them. So that’s the first kind of key that relates to all of them. The second one is that whole idea that came through in the Good to Great Book, and Jim Collins explains this whole analogy of a bus. And I think as a leader, it’s quite important to have in the back of your mind, because it helps you deal with the big picture and not so much get dragged down into the low negative interactions that you’re having in the day to day. And if you haven’t come across that book, it’s fantastic. We’ll link it in the show notes Good to Great is an examination of all of the different organizations that are super successful and what’s made them successful. And in that book, they use the analogy of a bus being a group of people who are going in a direction, and he talks about how it’s important to do three things. Number one, get the right people on the bus, get the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats. So when you have that philosophy in the back of your mind, and you’re thinking that lens, then it’s, it’s a way to be able to not sweat the small stuff, but recognize that the whole team is on a journey, and that that team might change over time. But you can just kind of have that collective direction that you’re going in, that the bus is heading and as a team, but recognize that at the end of the day, there are going to be some people on your team who might just not fit the direction that you’re going. And they may have been a perfect fit for the previous leadership or the previous version. But as you’ve adapted and evolved, maybe they’re not the right fit going forward. So it’s not about making sure that we keep everybody together. And it’s definitely not about thinking who can I get rid of, and that space. But it’s just kind of being aware that as people, we we form different groups over time, and sometimes my, my, my leadership style, or my teaching style might suit one school, but if it evolves and changes, then you know, I’m going to either grow with the company, with the school or with the organization, or maybe I’ll grow out of it. And so, yeah, I know that that’s, it’s almost those two keys, thinking about relationships and building relationships, but then also thinking about the organizational health and where you’re trying to go seem at odds with each other. You know what I mean? But they can actually work hand in hand, can’t they?

Bex Rose: 8:32

Yeah, that’s right. I think and especially in Altidore, New Zealand, we talk about the walker, it’s very similar sort of analogy, you know, you have this Walker full of people, sometimes they’re rowing the wrong way, sometimes they’re not at the front of the boat, sometimes they’re not at the back of the boat, so it’s just other Walker. So yeah, just making sure, again, people in the right seats rowing in the same direction, otherwise, that Walker isn’t gonna go anywhere. You know, like, if you think a walker is not going to go with it, if someone on one side rowing, let’s run backwards, and someone on the other side is wrong forwards. So it’s acknowledging that being the person at the front of the walker was at the back is the leader and in making in having the export overview from the top looking down, and making sure that people in the right places?

Mark Herring: 9:21

Yeah, there’s an amazing quote that I picked up recently from Warren Dennis, and he said leaders are people who can translate the vision into reality. And if you’ve got that in the forefront of your mind, number one, you have to know what that vision is whether that’s the reason that the walkers going in, but you’re you’re really working hard with everybody in the walker to make sure that they are helping the team translate that into reality. So that those are two kinds of tensions that you’re holding. In mighty language. We call that toe so you want to have a balance between those two things. See, I’m picking up my vote. Feeling rather chipper about that, in the analogy that we’re going to we’re going to break down we’re going to Talk about those four different types of speed bumpers. So there are people thinking about that analogy, which I think is quite helpful. We’re not thinking about them lying on the road, you need to go over top of them, as opposed to feel like that. But there’s a couple of things I just before we break them down. From a an analogy point of view, if you think about the role of a speed bump on the road, they’re usually in a place that we’re wanting to go past. And as a leader, sometimes in a negative sense of speed bump can be frustrating, because they try to slow you down, you feel like you need to, you know, you’re going in a good direction. And all of a sudden, we need to stop and listen to this conversation. And here, this person is bringing this thing up again. And you know, oh my goodness, that person, you know, it’s been a speed bump, because they’re not giving us approval for something or they might be in the accounts department. And you know, we’ve got to go through that that’s within analogy connects, there’s a couple of other things. One of them, sometimes if you go over them too fast, they can ruin your suspension. Cars. Yeah, I’ve never had cars that have been lowered too far. But if you think about it, it is quite funny. It, they can have an impact negatively on your organization. So if someone’s constantly being negative, or if there’s constantly slowing you down, or you know you’re having to go, you know, they’re constantly affecting that trajectory of where you’re trying to go and ruining momentum, it really can have a ripple effect across the whole organization and the whole, the whole car. I’m just sticking with his analogy. And then the last thing, that one of the worst things that you can do sometimes is that you can see, you’ve got a momentum going you can see a speed bump up ahead, and you can actually change track. So you can go, I’m actually not going to go down that road because of x, y and z and this person. And there’s a bit of a speed bump, so let’s just change, let’s not do that thing. And it might be that that was a really good way to go. You know, it could be that that was exactly the direction and the steps that you needed to take, but that person’s kind of in the way. So those are some negative I think, impacts at the very end of this, I’m just going to frame it up as an analogy, and just flip it on its head and see how speed bumpers can be really helpful. But we’re gonna get to that. So we’ll, we’ll hold on, you’ll have to listen to the end of this. So shall we shall we start? Let’s jump into it. And let’s go have a go through and do some actual how to use for each of them. You want to start with number one?

Bex Rose: 12:08

Great. So let’s go with negative nancies. So yeah, let’s, let’s have a look at what they look like.

Mark Herring: 12:15

So what do you think negative Nancy, what is it? Really? How does it relate in your experience? Okay,

Bex Rose: 12:20

so I’m picturing someone that says no, before yes to everything. So the ones that go, No, we can’t do that. Because XYZ it and it’s funny, because he’s just start picturing people and family members and all sorts of people like it doesn’t just have to be the, you know, business side of things. The ones that always sort of see the negative before the positive, there’s potentially can spread that around as well. So but yeah, it can, it can be really contagious than negative, depending on the mindset of others where their cup is filled. If it’s not filled to the top, then they might be more inclined to listen to the negative nancies. And then sort of spiral out of control there. What else might happen? What can you tell us about? Yeah,

Mark Herring: 13:03

yeah, I think you’ve had it, one of the things I’ve noticed with people who have got that kind of trait, or that that Beant of thinking or that way of thinking is that they often are a temperature effector in the room. So you know, you might be leaving a meeting, or you might be guiding something or trying to galvanize everybody, and you’re trying to lift the temperature and try and get everyone excited, they can say one word, or you look at them, and all of a sudden that temperature lowers. And so that can be a huge that can have a huge impact on, you know, the feeling of the room, and just that whole overall culture. But one of the things. So here’s some things that you could do about that one. Number one, I think you have to reframe, and change how you see things and see that type of person in your team. Because in one sense, they can be really frustrating, because it’s like, well, here comes the negativity. And what that what that does, whenever I’ve encountered it in my, in my experience, sometimes I can start judging that person. And then they start to get even more, more negative because it’s like, well, I’m doubling down because you’re not listening to me. And it’s kind of like, they’ll set quiet, he’s not listening. I’ll say it louder. He’s not listening. Now they start shouting at you, but they don’t do it in volume. They do it on negativity, they if they say something that might be negative in that meeting, but then they don’t feel like they’re getting heard or their concerns that aren’t being addressed. And they’ll go away and do it even louder somewhere else. It’s just that you’re not hearing. Yeah. And so that’s, that’s really where it’s coming from. But if you if you flip it around, and recognize that where it’s coming from sometimes there are a couple of different reasons where that negativity is spanning from the roots of the negativity, sometimes there’s just some personal stuff going on for them, you know, and it’s something that is kind of affecting the way that they’re seeing things at work, there could be something going on at home, and that’s where that relationship can come in. So, you know, it’s super important to ask them, you know, how things going on, I noticed that you know, there were some things that you weren’t quite happy with that conversation or if you bring something up, you can kind of tell on their face, whether they’re excited by about it or not, and just understanding the person but more likely it’s it’s really a reaction to Fear. And this is the way that they react to it. So if you’ve if you take the time to talk and listen to that person one on one, or even give them time to voice their concern and do the whole five why’s approach that we talked about in coaching, where you just say, tell me more about that? Why do you think that’s happening? Why is that? Why will people react like that? Why hasn’t that happened in the past, get down to the core root, there’s a, there’s, there could be some real gems there, that could really help you. So I think that that’s really important, because if as leaders, we see negative nancies, as less of a speed bump, and something that’s unnecessarily going to slow us down and see it more about a gifting of discernment that is just sounding negative, because of the way that I’m receiving it, you know, there can be a really important impact or step on the process of the journey of making some decisions, you know, because you could have some, some ideas and then the person’s negative, but actually, that’s, that’s a really important part of that understanding process to decide about making a good decision.

Bex Rose: 15:57

I think also, if they don’t understand that, why so we’ve talked about this before on the podcast as well, and they don’t actually they should they see it as maybe just another task for no reason, you know, and so I guess it then comes down to that whole communication around, you know, the clarity piece around the why, and the vision or that kind of stuff, it could fall out of that as well, if they’re just not understanding and I think, also nine times out of 10, it’s because they’re unsure of their own capabilities, or their own understandings of whatever it might be as well. So they’ve kind of put this barrier a wall up, and it comes out as negativity as well.

Mark Herring: 16:35

Yeah, yeah. And that was actually in my notes about this one. This approach, because I think that sometimes people who are in that space, have learned over time that when they discern, which we could see as a gift, and see some things that other people can’t see, in the past, they may have had experiences where they’ve had negative responses, or they’ve been shut down or told to be quiet. So what they’re doing is they’re giving it in a way that is protecting them. So they’re using the putting up a big sword, you know, stabbing with a sword and putting up a big shield, because that’s a defense mechanism. But if if we can get them in a space, where we’re accepting and embracing and actually saying, Hey, Michael, hey, net are using at net, Nancy, I know that you’ve had experience in this, like actually creating a space to tell us out when can you see anything that might not be so great about this idea? Or what are some of the things that we haven’t thought about? So I can see on your face that you’re thinking, you know, what I mean? Or I know that you’ve you’ve had that experience? So as a leader, formally and informally having conversations afterwards, giving them space to express that, that, that thinking actually can be a real positive for you. So you’re kind of turning it around. Okay, so that’s negative Nancy was number two. And the next

Bex Rose: 17:46

one is no at all, Nigel. So what comes to mind for me is the one that goes Oh, yeah, I’ve done that before. At my own school, or? Or, or Yeah, I did that, you know, in my last course or this net? So has been there done this? You don’t you’re not teaching them anything new.

Mark Herring: 18:04

Yeah, exactly. Right. It’s the person often I’ve been down that pathway before, and I’ve kind of seen it, or they’ve been involved in the cycle of change before in the past. And, you know, like, if you’re involved in education for longer than 20 years, you know, yeah, you know, inquiry learning when it was a big buzz. When I first started teaching, I had teachers who were teaching in the 70s and 80s. And they were like, oh, yeah, we were talking about integrated cross

Bex Rose: 18:28

curricular next at the moment, phonics, teaching phonics 20 years ago. Yeah, let’s come back as a third. Yeah, Ted, totally, you can picture them, can’t you?

Mark Herring: 18:37

Oh, yeah, yeah, and often, they those types of people can be really hard to get on board, because they kind of, you know, that there might be really busy people, they think that they can just, you know, I lost it out the last wave of this thing that’s coming through. So I’m just going to hold on and wave, you know, last the wave, you know, the title come back in again. So you get there. So, it can be really frustrating, particularly if they are in a key position in your team to be able to influence others, you know, often node or Nigel’s do have a lot of influence, because they’ve been in that space before they have that experience, and they have that skill set. So some things that kind of help with that type of person or that type of approach are number one, and including them in the process in the decision making process right from the very start. So if you’ve got someone with it, experience, you want them involved in the ideation phase, or whatever kind of development of of a new initiative, or whatever it is that you’re doing, don’t tell them further down the track, you know, because they’re going to be harder to bring on board if they haven’t been part of that process. Even if you just give them an opportunity to contribute, even if they’re not in the meeting. I think that that can go a long way to it and as a leader that takes some forethought, right. So you’ve got to kind of think, who in my team could be in this space once this decision is being made. I’m going to strategically you know, for the sake of the organization, include them at the very start and I’ve made that mistake. I’ve been involved in teams that have made that mistake in a number of different areas, not just in education, you know, so that that is really important. But to be quite honest, sometimes there are people who are in that space that you’re just going to have to go around, you know, just like we do with speed bumps, sometimes we just have to go you know what, I’m just gonna drive you know how you can go up to a speed bump, and you can go around to the lift and the lift can just go yah, yah, yah, yah, yah, oh, going on an angle. There’s so many arm and there’s so many ways this analogy could work. You know, so just try a different approach a different angle. But yeah, I think that those are the two key things, involve them in the process or just go around them. But yeah, then there may be some other things that other people have got, they could put some things in the comments, email us at team.

Bex Rose: 20:44

It’s a really good way when you’re learning something new. So it doesn’t have to be something part of education. But a tactic that I used without even realizing it, I think was one of the team building or culture days, we had one of those second paid people come to our meeting. And so it’s one of those things we use sip away on a glass of wine, and you learn how to paint a picture. It’s a really sort of paint by numbers type way of doing it, but it really does put some people that No, all the things out of our comfort zone. And I think, yeah, it was a really neat way. I think sometimes you can, I can, like, I can learn new things, you know, and it’s the same as even when I was doing my post grad. And there were people in there that hedge been leaders for a really long time. And so seeing when they were doing their post grade learning new things, it kind of reinvigorated them, you know, like it kind of made them go, Ah, it’s that, you know, that buzz when you learn something new, you know, like, it’s so so putting them in a position where they kind of have to learn something new, because it’s kind of sparks something back in your brain and wanting to learn again. So yeah, could be another way.

Mark Herring: 21:52

Yeah, yeah. 100%. And it’s that shift in culture that we’re trying to everybody’s been talking about, how do we about about developing a growth culture within your team and not a fixed mindset? That and that’s been around for quite a while, but it’s amazing how many educators you meet, who are efficient, or who are supposed to be professional learners or professional teachers. But with you know, so many of us are in this mindset, where we just do the same thing every year. Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s a real challenge. It’s a real challenge. And it’s probably another episode podcast theme, but it sounds like you can work on number three.

Bex Rose: 22:25

So it moves me number three, saying yes, do no Nellie, so yeah, I’ve all over it, I’ve got it, I’ve got this and you’re kind of like, put on your calendar, put on your to do’s like someone put it on the thing, because they’re gonna forget, they’re not going to do it. They’re just going to say they’re going to do it, and then we’re going to get a deadline. And it’s not done.

Mark Herring: 22:44

Yeah, 100%, you can see it all the time. And it happens in schools a lot, you know, somebody will go along to a really good iPad and invigoration day, it’s like, let’s find out all the different things that we can do on the iPad, and the teachers are like, you know, the, the Nalli is like, Yeah, this is amazing. And I’m gonna do all this stuff. And then you go back into the class in a week’s time. And, you know, you pick the iPad up and say, Well, why isn’t this charging, and it’s because the multibox didn’t actually charge and you realize that it hasn’t probably been working for the last three months, and they haven’t done anything with what they’ve just learned. It’s, it’s super easy for that person to develop this as a learned behavior over time. And you know, that adage, as leaders that what you accept is what you are, what you allow, is what you have accepted. So if as a leader, we can inspire some change or get an agreement with everybody that they’re going to do something, but if you don’t follow that up with something, in terms of an accountability setup, then people just kind of go Yeah, I can be all enthusiastic about at the start, but you know, they go behind closed doors, and you know, it’s never going to happen, actually, we’ll just last this one out and, and in the enthusiasm will fizzle out. So that is the kind of person that that is very difficult to sometimes deal with, because they’re not in your face like a negative Nancy. And they’re not like it’s not obvious, like I know it all Nigel. So some things that you can do about that number one, except that you have to be in charge really, of setting something up, or you can be intentional about creating some accountability structure there. So it doesn’t mean that you’re walking around with a clipboard. But there are little things that you can do to try and hold people’s feet to the fire. So number one, when you’re in a staff meeting, or in your team meeting, or you’re doing something and everyone says, right, we’re going to do this actually make them set a commitment to that. And they say that people are much more likely to commit and follow through on their commitment, if they actually write it down. And you can write it down. There’s like a percentage follow through rate that you can track if I say it, you know, there’s a certain percentage that will do it. If I write it down, more people will do it. But then if I actually write it down, share it with other people and put my name to it. And then if I know that the next time we meet, it’s going to be like, Okay, everybody got what around the table. Tell us how you went with X y&z You know, and it doesn’t mean that everybody will do it all the time, but you’re much more likely to get over the line with that, right? Yep. Does that So

Bex Rose: 25:00

yeah, I think that’s one of the cool things about coaching is about having those coaching conversations and have those coaching accountability points. Because yeah, you do specifically write down when that is going to happen. And having those accountability dates in your diary or on your calendar is when you start seeing traction.

Mark Herring: 25:18

Yeah, 100%. And I think when you’re making those commitments to the next point is just to make sure that that’s specific. So we always talk about smart goals, I would like to prefer to focus on the eastern theme. So make it specific, make it measurable. So when are you actually going to do it. So I’m going to do this, on this day on this, you know, every Monday morning, when the kids come in to do their role, we’re going to do X, Y, and Zed and how many times you’re going to do it, so make a number behind it. But then the other thing you can do is actually pair them up with someone else. So if you know that there are lots of people who say they’ll do something and then you know, it’s just the dust thing that’s in the cupboard, pair it up with somebody else who you know, is more likely to do it. So I know that Michael isn’t an ally. So I’m going to pair Michael and Nelly up so they’re going to do buddy teaching or they’re going to do something

Bex Rose: 26:03

Kelly can they’re really good at keeping you accountable.

Mark Herring: 26:07

All right. Yeah, yeah. They can take a class

Bex Rose: 26:09

you know, if you say you’re gonna do something, gosh, I remember when I had to fill up my price jar whenever and I forget and, and sometimes I would actually get emails from them saying, this is where I was remember to get excited, like and the night telecare?

Mark Herring: 26:24

Yeah, and this reminds me like all of these types of people, when you’re in your school, as a leader, you will have these people on your staff and in your teams, but as a classroom teacher, this is totally irrelevant, because you will have this people as your learners in front of you in your classroom, right? So I’ve had I’ve, I’ve taught year three and four, and I’ve had negative nancies sitting there right in front of me, and I’ve had say, yes, do nothing. Now, let’s say it’s all irrelevant. So. So I hope we haven’t lost any of the classroom teachers who think in a leadership position because they astounds me in its own right. That’s a whole nother podcast series as well. Every teacher is the CEO of your own company. If you’re a high school teacher, you’re the CEO of about eight different classrooms, in company, so yeah, totally irrelevant. That’s so cool. So differently, things like holding people accountable, pairing them up with other people being relentless. Like if you get people to commit to something, it is on us as leaders to make sure that you follow that through. So for me, I’m terrible at remembering those things. So if I if I ask somebody to do something, or if someone says, Yeah, I’m gonna do this, then I will put it on the agenda for the next meeting. Or I will make a note of it or put a block on my calendar, chicken with Beck’s about this, you know, for next Tuesday, so there’s little little things that you can do to make that Alright, last one skeptical summarize

Bex Rose: 27:41

Alright, Skeptical Simons. Oh, yeah, cuz that’s gonna work because I’ve we’ve done this not haven’t done this before. Have we in the comments in the background? It’s just that really passive-aggressive, like, yeah, that you can you can push them sort of in the corner, like muttering under the breath?

Mark Herring: 28:01

Yeah. 100%. And after often, they can be very overt, can’t they, but sometimes they can just be by the very body language. And like I was saying, the temperature in the room we actually speak is that about 80% of our communication is with our face and our body

Bex Rose: 28:14

Leaky faces. Have you heard the term leaky face?

Mark Herring: 28:17

I was told I’m a leaky face. I was told that my resting face my thinking face is grumpy.

Bex Rose: 28:25

I remember when my first years of leadership, I got told I had a leaky face. And so I actually actively worked on it. So now I’m just smiling all the time. You know, I could have had a really bad day this morning. I’m good.

Mark Herring: 28:38

Yeah, you do it, you do do a good job. But there are times when I’ve seen I can tell exactly what happened. And so the skeptical Simon, I think is quite similar to the negative Nancy, but they are slightly different. There is a little bit, it’s not just that the negative that they might be positive, but at the same time, they might be positive about it, but kind of inside or to the people that they’re talking to they kind of I don’t think that’s gonna work. It’s like, yeah, who Yeah, let’s go, let’s do it. But you know, actually, they don’t actually put the actions to it. So it can come across in terms of their actions. I’ve had a conversation recently, we were trying to read some targets or something. And we’ve only just gone into the period of all of us looking at the data and you know, the metrics and what we’re trying to achieve. And I made some statement, we’re obviously not going to get there. And the person pulled me up on it straight away. It was really I needed it. It was like we’re in week two, and you’re already saying like when they were definitely not going to get there in six months. So it was a good wake up call. And I think that’s something that you can do with skeptical songs is pull them up straightaway and do some of the stuff that you’re doing with with with the negative nancies actually get to the root cause and just spend time talking to tell me why it might not work that my number one how to for Skeptical assignments, is to actually realize that they can be the most powerful people on your team once you win them over, because I think sometimes what they’re doing is they’re actually got very high levels of discernment. And because of that very high level of discernment, when you win them over, they become your biggest champion. You know what I mean? And so I’ll give you an example. Sometimes you will be working with like, we’re a training company, we work with teachers and schools around digital fluency. And were in the classrooms with the teachers. So many times, we might frame something up with a teacher and say, you know, we’re going to come in, and we’re going to do some digital fluency with your students around iPad use of iPads. And they might be teaching five and six year olds, I know that on their face, they’re like, incredibly skeptical. They’re like, they’re saying, Yeah, that’d be great. I’d love for you to come in. And one, since they’re going, Yeah, you take an hour off my plate, and you can run the class. But in another sense, they’re like, Yeah, that’s you haven’t seen my class? You don’t know. Yeah, you’re up against it. So what we do is we use the students to reach the teacher. So they’re kind of like a doorway to reach the heart and the mind of the teacher. But once you have them, once they see that five year olds can create movies in an hour. And once they understand the engagement that happens with that student that’s been, you know, a thorn in their side, because they’re so disengaged all the time, suddenly, the iPad, turns them on and engages them, that skeptical person becomes your biggest champion. There are people who are who are champions just straight out the gate, you’re like one of them. So you just enthusiastic about just about everything, which is great. And we need fixes. We need people like that. But sometimes you can get a 2x Beck’s. If you can turn a skeptical person, right, turn

Bex Rose: 31:31

it into a superpower, turn it into something that will then share the message because someone who’s had their mind change will be the ones that share the message.

Mark Herring: 31:39

Yeah, absolutely. Because I’ve been through all of the the reasons why it won’t work. And I’ve had that changed. And so they’ve actually got much more, more much more commitment to the cause. And I’ve seen that I’ve seen schools, you know, at the start of a process where we’ve worked with them, or I’ve been involved on leadership and schools, where the person who was the most resistant at the very start becomes the biggest champion and actually is critical to the role. That’s a good feeling, isn’t it? Yeah. And it’s a really important thing to have in the back of our mind as a lens for leaders. So to wrap this up, you know, how is saying that sometimes we can see road bumps as being really annoying, while if you spin it round and see speed bumpers, so your negative nancies, you know, Nigel’s etc. And if you start to see them as being a real important part of your team, and an important part of the journey that your school is on your leadership team is on, then you can reverse it round, and you can use it to get even more traction. Because if you think about the analogy, so if I said to you why why did city councils and wider regional councils put speed bumps on the road? But what would be the purpose of it? It’s obviously drivers, right? Slow down?

Bex Rose: 32:47

Yeah, yeah. Yep.

Mark Herring: 32:48

And where do they put them?

Bex Rose: 32:50

In this in places? That’s really hot, really, really easy to go fast?

Mark Herring: 32:56

Right, exactly. And then

Bex Rose: 32:58

they need to pass. Yeah, outside schools,

Mark Herring: 33:02

you know, hospitals, parks, where there are lots of people around, and they want to make sure that people are driving a little bit slower. And it might be in a high accident zone event. But what the what city councils don’t do is they they put them in the right places, right? So they have them in the areas where you need them. Mostly don’t? Yeah, mostly. But they don’t put them everywhere, because they’re too expensive. So they’re selective about it. And that’s, that’s, I think, one of the takeaways from this whole analogy, as a leader, you want to think about where in your decision making processes and your implementation strategic planning? Do you need to have some of those core people in your team who can be like these speed bumpers? So who’s got a gift of discernment? Who’s going to be on my champion team that has a really high influence? Or who might be a little bit skeptical at the moment, but then I can turn around and become one of the most critical parts of my team? Who say, you need to think critically where we’re in the process? Do I need those people? And how can I use them, but then at the same time, you don’t want to have them all over the show. So if I go for a drive to the dairy and I have, and it’s only like one kilometer and I have to go over 15 speed bumps, then that’s not good. So we need to have them in the right places. So I don’t want to be having negative Nancy at every single meeting and implementation, spreading her negativity around, you know, so I guess like to wrap that up, if we see these types of traits and our team as a positive, if we’re building key relationships with them, if we’re thinking strategically and seeing them as opportunities, and safeguards around what we’re doing, and also if we’re using them at the right time and at the right place, and with the right measure, you know, we’re only going to be better leaders and more successful as schools and as organizations as we we can be. So you got what do you think depends?

Bex Rose: 34:51

Absolutely. I think that it’s really important to take the judgment out, use use it as an opportunity to refer leaked on tasks, productivity, anything like that and and use it for the better make it better.

Mark Herring: 35:07

Perfect. That sounds like a bit of mindset to me. All right, well, we’ve got Richard on the call today, one of our trainers in Auckland. And what you might be able to hear in the background is heavy, heavy rain. All right, and it’s not like a buzz of the microphone. Is it still raining up there, Richard?

Richard Campbell: 35:22

It’s eased off a little bit. But it is gone from sunshine to heavy rain. Weird.

Mark Herring: 35:30

We were just saying that Bix and Richard, you’re about a kilometer away from each other and ones and sunshine and ones got back getting rain. So

Bex Rose: 35:38

welcome to our new zealand summer.

Mark Herring: 35:41

Yeah, so wherever you are in the world, you can you can relate to the fact that we’ve all got different weather. Last night on the call, I had an earthquake, I was doing a group call online. And that was exciting. So yeah, my microphone was shaking. Anyway, we’re digressing. So what we’ve got is this this whole episode, and we’ve got two brand new segments. So we’ve got a new segment to introduce you to Richard. So usually, we’ve been getting trainers to come on for a good to know. But this is a little bit different. We’ve changed the segment up, and I’m gonna frame it for you. If you go to some YouTube channels, there are certain people usually in the right out of the political spectrum, they’re usually conservative. And what they do is they set up a desk at the university, and they have a sign on the front that might be quite controversial. And they’ll say something, basically, they’ll have a statement, and then they’ll say change my mind. So this is the change my mind segment. Okay. And so what I want you to do is I want the statement is spreadsheets if a number nerds change my mind, right, because we know that spreadsheets are your thing. But in terms of books, and I like we can’t stand them, I deleting anytime I have an email that even has a sniff of a spreadsheet on it. It’s in the trash. And I’ve got these little things that send it like, you know, what do they call them? Yeah. Anyway, filters tell us why a leader, a teacher, somebody involved in education should use a spreadsheet and not pass them on to somebody in the admin team.

Richard Campbell: 37:04

Okay, where do we even start with it? I mean, you’re blowing my mind when you say that spreadsheets are awesome. But the worry, look in the classroom situation, they’ve got so many uses. First thing I would do day one, or even before day one of tuning up for a new year is I would download from the learning management system, a list of all my students. And from there, you can start building things out, there’s so many things that you can use, for example, it’s a great way of tracking all of your assessment data. So you can actually start putting these kids in groups based on where they’re at. So mix grouping, you can make sure that you’ve got some high kids and low kids, if you want to do streaming, you can do it that way. I know that’s a dirty word at the moment streaming. But there’s lots of different things that you can do just for grouping how you want those kids to be structured, the filtering, if later on, you want to get into something exciting, like pivot tables, and these aren’t things that come to you overnight, I know, come on.

Mark Herring: 38:02

You’re out the door. Explain that to us.

Richard Campbell: 38:09

And we’ll get the door. No, something can do that. But it’s a really nice way of being able to look at your data so that you’re, you’re actually got a data driven assessment, so you know what you’re teaching, one of the things that I love the most, I think that’s probably the most powerful is I’m very much a visual person. So that’s another big scary word for you. But this one’s called conditional formatting. So that data that’s sitting inside your spreadsheet, if you can have that color to get you high needs kids, or somebody who’s not done particularly well in assessment, if it comes up automatically red, you can see at a glance that, you know, this could be one of those kids that you need to give more attention to. Likewise, if they’re coming up green, you said, Hey, let’s pair off a red and a green kid. And they can help each other so you can see at a glance, who’s who’s doing well, and who needs a little bit more support.

Mark Herring: 38:57

Yeah, that conditional formatting is a visual, like it’s I’m very visual. And I like that kind of approach. And if it’s set up for me, it doesn’t need to be you doing that, right. You can get a template off another teacher who’s like you who’s a bit of a nerd, I could say Richard could create a conditional formatting. And I just want to put the names in. And then like that would

Richard Campbell: 39:15

work right? Absolutely. So yeah, another great feature Mmm, it’s in a lot of applications in Word and Excel Docs and Sheets as well as that Format Painter use it in Word and, and the format fader. So basically, it copies the format and you can use it in Word or sheets or any of those things. So it also gets the conditional formatting as well. So once somebody sent it once, you can just copy it and paste it over. Just takes all the hard work out of doing it more than once.

Mark Herring: 39:48

And some of those systems you know the systems that you can buy like there are platforms you can buy online and pay monthly fees for that give you that data overview. Your you can actually do that for free yourself and In Google Sheets, and Microsoft Excel and numbers, you know, in the Apple ecosystem. Yeah, I

Richard Campbell: 40:05

think one of the things I love about spreadsheets is it’s like a puzzle, you know, you’ve got this data. And you’re I mean, there’s a million ways to solve any problem. So it’s about how you do it. It’s I guess it comes down to I know, you talk a lot about the geniuses minds, the inventor genius. And that plays in really, really nicely to sheets. It’s a way of, of creating and coming up with new ideas and just how you solve those problems.

Mark Herring: 40:28

That’s cool. All right. So there’s two things I’m starting to warm up a little bit. And

Richard Campbell: 40:33

here’s another one. So remember, I was saying out of your learning management system, when you download that file, and you start having all your names, you can start adding things to that not just the assessment data, but you could have email addresses, you can have parents email addresses. So rather than having to create groups, you can just copy that whole list of parents or student emails, and then paste them straight into your email product, whether it’s Outlook or Gmail. So a nice quick way of being able to copy and paste. So

Mark Herring: 41:02

everybody, BCC, so they don’t see each other.

Richard Campbell: 41:06

Yeah, you don’t want parents communicating behind your back?

Mark Herring: 41:09

Yeah, reply all.

Richard Campbell: 41:14

If you want to. It’s funny, you mentioned this, too, because I’ve been doing this morning is recording some videos on mail merges. And this works really, really well, especially with Excel. So if you’ve got this list, you can actually send it individual emails at a push of a button, and it goes to all the parents and it can rather than say, your child, you can have the child’s name in there. So Dear Mr. Mr. Jones, or Mr. Smith, Dear Bob, if you want to just to the first name, your son, Fabian has been doing really well in maths. In fact, this is the percentage he got on, we wouldn’t use percentages, but this is the how he’s doing. And you’re gonna send out personalized emails with all that relevant data, to individual emails to individual parents, it can be done at a push of a button, and they just sends out you know, 30 emails and you look in your inbox. And, you know, within three seconds, you’ve got 3030 emails going in the outbox. It’s also great communicating with your schools as well. If you’re,

Mark Herring: 42:12

if you’re leading a soccer team, or a football team or something, you know, a hockey team and you want to send out personalized emails to the parents, introducing yourself and saying who you are. And here are my contact details and things, then you can do that. Right. So you can have the first name of the student you can have Yeah, everything personalized. That’s fantastic.

Richard Campbell: 42:28

You could even say if you had a like a reading group say, you know, Hi Bob, your son Johnny is in the walkies a reading group. And this week we’re going to be focusing on Mrs. wishy washy or whatever book it is you happens to be that you’re reading. So, again, it will go out to everybody in that group. And I know another scary word filters. You can filter it just to the walkies group and send it straight out to them. So really,

Mark Herring: 42:52

that’s like I think, you know, in terms of like, warming us up, I’m definitely a lot more interested. But there’s some things that I know a lot of teachers listening to the specs, they’ll be sort of thinking, Well, I don’t know what the heck is talking about mail merge. I don’t know what a pivot table is. That’s a good lead into some of our online courses. Right? So can you tell us where can people go if they want to get some of our online courses or some training books would

Richard Campbell: 43:13

be that would be a great person to get in touch with, depending on whether you know, you’ve got a pod contact with us. I would love to come into school and help you with things. It is my jam it is fills my bucket just working with sheets. just lit up. I know. Right? You don’t have to be a nerd. I mean, look at look at this face, you know, this is not good looking.

Bex Rose: 43:37

Yeah, I think it sounds like they’re really big help with that efficiency and productivity. He’s in our jobs. And when you’re spending time on these mundane, Admony type tasks, that means it’s less time on spinning with the kids and creating learning experiences that are really going to shift to student achievement. So if we can really streamline those, those tasks, that’s a win. He’s won me. I

Mark Herring: 44:02

got one more button. Oh, one. Yesterday, this is what nerds do. Sorry. This is

Richard Campbell: 44:09

one thing, okay. When you’re in the morning in the classroom teacher, you’ve got all these kids come in and you’re sitting out for the day, it’s probably the most chaotic time of the day. That before school.

Mark Herring: 44:22

Right out the back where the books were. Yeah.

Richard Campbell: 44:26

If you’ve got a camp on or a Mufti day, when kids are coming in, and they they’re giving you money, they’re dropping it on your desk, then you’ve got no idea who has dropped that money. So if you’ve got a spreadsheet, you can have it just a tick button and say, yep, they’ve done it. And they’ve given me $8, which, where it’s, you know, it’s also they can be a $10 note where it’s a $5 fee. So I’ve got to give them some change. And you can go through in all of those things that you’ve done. You just highlight them and it will give you a total so that you when you count up your money and you sending it off to the office, you know that your balance is

Mark Herring: 44:58

so good. And even better than that. You can get a student to do that. Exactly. So you get

Richard Campbell: 45:03

this student who you trust and is quite capable. And you can share the sheet with them, they have access, and you can even limit what kind of access they have. So they can’t go delete anything. Of course, you’re only going to do it with somebody who you you’re a little bit comfortable with. And they can look after that for you in such great learning. And then there’s teaching statistics with it as well. But we weren’t even getting there because we just don’t have time. But yeah.

Mark Herring: 45:29

Well, you’ve changed their mind. Yeah, like, Oh, I think it’s something that we do differently. But if you need some training on this, if you’re listening, and you’re thinking that would be really great. We do have some online courses that you can sign up for, we’ll put a link in the show notes. And we’ll we’ll get in touch, you can get in touch with us, and we’d love to help you out with some training. Thanks.

Richard Campbell: 45:47

Awesome. Cheers, guys. We’ll catch you later.

Mark Herring: 45:53

Episode Seven all over pigs tell us what you think.

Bex Rose: 45:55

Yeah, well, the silver lining with this weather event was that we actually got to have a bit of a deep dive into those stereotypical speed bump team members. And I think we could all relate to one or many of those types of behaviors that we described today. Or perhaps we’ve sunk into those stereotypes ourselves from time to time. I guess it relates back to ensuring that we don’t let our own well being and our cups get to empty because when we can handle these types of situations far better when we’re feeling our best. That was my takeaway, and I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but I really want to go and Deborah sheets now I feel like my life would be better with them. And so thank you, Richard.

Mark Herring: 46:35

Yeah, and I think I’m definitely warming to them, which is saying something for probably how much I loved them normally. So yeah, I’m getting closer, Richard, I think you did a good job. So if you have to some of the links or resources that we’ve mentioned today, have a look on the show notes and make sure that you’re subscribed. We post every single week and we’d love to have you keep up with this. This is episode seven. So who knows how many episodes down the track we’ll be getting to. If you know someone who would get value from those episodes, hit the share button and let them know and tell them about your favorite episode. I’m sure there’s something on there that you would specifically like to call out. Lastly, if you have questions or anything to share with us, email us at team at using technology We’d love to hear you and see you next week. Kaki day see ya

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