Barry Phillips Meets... Leadership – 5 Key Development Areas - 5 Quick Wins – Special Episode – in Association with ASCL(NI)

Posted in : Podcasts on 30 October 2018 Issues covered:

Barry Phillips

This special episode recorded at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast (18th October) is taken from the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders.  Barry covers five key areas of leadership, identifies quick wins and aims to leave the audience of head teachers with homework to do. For he argues that conference “Takeaways” should really be “Workaways”. Changing the habits of leaders in any field requires application and hard work.


The five key areas are:

  • Recognition
  • Decision Taking
  • The Skill of Saying No
  • Single Tasking
  • Leadership Wellbeing – Mindfulness & Journaling


Robert: Well, ladies and gentlemen of our embassy, good morning so far. Our next speaker is Barry Phillips. Barry is a former practicing barrister turned entrepreneur and founder of Legal-Island, which is a multi-award winning training company well known for innovative ways which it leads and motivates its staff. Barry also hosts a podcast interviewing standout leaders in Northern Ireland. We're all excited to be the "new Northern Ireland." And Barry started Legal-Island with £500 loan from his father. The business now turns over almost £2 million a year working in three different countries.

Barry is the founder of Northern Ireland Diversity Awards designed to promote diversity and inclusion here in Northern Ireland. I suppose you can say he practices what he preaches. He was born in England. His parents were Welsh. He was he educated in Scotland and he's married to a Russian woman. He told me recently that his daughter who has started primary one came home to say or told her teacher that she was half Russian, half English, and half Irish. Ladies and gentlemen, Barry Phillips.

Barry: Thank you very much, Robert, for that very kind introduction. You know, just listening to the introduction there I realized I think I still owe my father that £500. I better do something about it. It might explain why he's been a bit icky with me over the last few years, I suppose. Good afternoon. When Robert first asked me to cover this session on leadership, I was of course very flattered. It really is a great privilege to be in front of such an esteemed audience and to speak about something that I feel so passionately about.

Robert has explained I head up, amongst number of things, a training company and we deliver a lot of training. And I guess a lot of training sessions not unlike this one that I'm covering here this afternoon. So it may surprise you for me to say this, that I actually think quite a lot of training in the UK, including sessions not unlike this one, are actually a complete waste of time. Let me explain that and quickly. When I first started my company, Legal-Island, I used to send all my staff away on these training events to things like time management and appraisal skills and communication and so on. And they come back and I say, "How did you get on?" And they say, "Oh, the training or the speaker was really, really good. Very engaging. Very witty. Made me laugh. And yeah, we gave him five out of five on the happy sheets."

But I wouldn't see after that day's training any noticeable change in their behaviour. And I certainly wouldn't see any upskilling in the skill that they were out there to train upon. And so when Robert asked me to do this session, I thought, there's actually a real big pit and hole or hole in front of me here. And if I'm not careful, I'm going to fall into it. You know, I could be informative. I could be engaging, hopefully, might be able to make you laugh. But if I can actually persuade you to do anything differently as a result of listening to me in the next 30 minutes, 40 minutes, then I think I've wasted my time. And worst still, I think I've wasted your time.

So what I have to do today is to try and send you away thinking, "Yes, I've got to work on these leadership skills to become an even better leader." So I'm going to take you through five areas. And I'm going to leave you with a slide with five areas to work on. But they're not takeaways on this last slide, they are workaways. Okay, so my bar here is high. But I know the real reward is high too. Because if I can convince you to work on a leadership skill or two, and that will help you improve, then the trickledown effect of that is great, because I know how important your work is.

If you become a better leader, that's going to impact positively on 50, 100, 150 staff members. And they'll be a trickledown effect from that because there'll be a positive impact in terms of your pupils as well. So five areas. Five workaways. And as I go through, I'll see if I can identify a few quick wins as well. They say that every presentation to have any chance of being considered a good presentation has to start with a story. And my story goes as follows. When I use the word story, I should qualify that by saying what I'm about to share with you is absolutely true. I promise you.

I've been living in Northern Ireland for about 20 years yet, but people say I sound like I got off the boat just yesterday. I might be in a supermarket on the north coast and somebody say, "Are you enjoying your holiday?" It's quite remarkable. But I'm actually I was brought up in Devon. And just over a year ago, I went back to Devon for the first time in a very long time, and I enjoyed a glorious week of sunshine. Devon was just looking at its magical best. I went to lovely English fates, and spent quite a bit of time, perhaps too much time in beer gardens behind lovely thatched cottage pubs. It was wonderful.

I was on my way back to Exeter Airport, and I was passing a village with my wife and my daughter or signs to a village. And I said, "I remember this village for one reason and one reason only." And my wife said, "What's this?" And I said, "It's where my favourite teacher of all time, Mr. Dark, used to live" And she said, "Is he still alive?" And I said, "I don't know. This is 40 years ago when I last walked out of his class on the last day of term." She said, "Why don't you try and find him?"

So I turned the car around and I followed the signs for this village. And I drove into this village. And I don't know if you've ever played a kind of game with yourself in your head and you decide to leave something to chance and you just think I'll follow this outcome and I'll accept whatever the result is. And I said to myself in my head, "I'll drive into this village. And I'll ask the first person that I see if they happen to know Mr. Dark and where he lives in the village. And if they do, I'll go try and find him. If they don't, I'll hop back in the car and I'll go straight to the airport."

So I drove into this village and there wasn't critter around. And I'm driving up and down the streets in these avenues. Just nobody about Saturday morning, 10 o'clock, nobody around. And I drove up this final avenue and said to my wife, "We'll drive up here. If I don't see anyone, we'll go straight to the airport." And we drove up, nobody about. Turned out to be a cul-de-sac. So I'm turning the car around and I spy two people in the corner of this cul-de-sac. One guy up a ladder trimming a hedge. And a lady on the bottom of this ladder, who I assume to be his wife holding it steady.

So I got out the car and went bouncing up to this lady. And I said, "Look, I'm really sorry to interrupt your morning. But a bit of a random on this. Would you happen to know of a guy called Mr. Dark who used to live in this village 40 years ago, who used to teach science at Sidmouth [SP] secondary school in the '70s and if so, where I can find him?" And a big smile came on her face. And she said, "Yes, to all of those questions. He's my husband. He's up the end of this ladder." This is true, I promise you.

So Mr. Dark comes down, and I guess I was a bit starstruck and I said, "Hello, Mr. Dark. My name is Barry Phillips. And I don't live around here anymore. I live in Northern Ireland but you used to teach me science. And I was just passing and on my way to the airport. I thought I'd come and find you and say hello." He looked at me and he said, "Hello." And we got talking about old classmates and teachers we could remember between us. And then I said, "I have to go literally. I have a plane to catch." And he held out his hand to give me a very English sort of stiff upper lip handshake and I refused it. Instead I gave him a big hug. And as I was pulling away, I said to him, "Thank you." He said, "What for?" And I say, "Thank you for believing in me. You're the first person to do it."

And I got into the car. And I said to my wife, I said, "Did you see? I think tears were welling up in his eyes." And she said to me, "But don't think you're so hard. I think tears were welling up in yours as well." And it was a big moment. I thought, "Goodness me. What was that all about?" And I reflected on it for quite a while. And I thought, "This is insane. This has taken me 40 years to say thank you to the person that's had the most important impact in my life outside my family and my friends." So every story has to have a moral and what's the moral of this story? You'll be pleased to know, it's not that you're going to have to wait 40 years before somebody comes and tries to take you off the ladder to say thank you for contributing to my education.

But it made me think and I thought this thing, recognition, you know, and I thought, "Why is it? Why did it take me so long?" And I thought, "Is it to do with my gender? My culture? My nationality? My race?" I thought, "Actually, no. I think this has to do with human beings. We are not wired very well at all when it comes to recognition. We have a need for recognition, which is right up here. But we have an ability to dispense it, which is right down there." And I think as leaders, we need to focus an awful lot on recognition, because there is this huge imbalance. And I'd just like to share with you two things that my company doing this area of recognition in case you find them useful.

First one, it's a bit left field, but that's Legal-Island for you, I guess. The end of every year, we print out a number of cards, and we give one to each member of staff. And on the front, it says, "Top banana." And we invite every employee to send that to somebody they want to recognize that year to say thank you for. It may be exceptional customer service. It may be exceptional supplier. It maybe just very good customer service down a local spot. It doesn't really matter. The important thing is that we're profiling importance of recognition and getting people talk about it and to think about it throughout the whole of the year.

Second thing I want to talk about is group recognition. Because if you read any books on leadership, it's very interesting that they talk about single recognition, but they don't really talk about group recognition. And group recognition I think is really important. You probably last time you were leading a team and that team didn't perform very well. The chances are you got the team together. And you did a post mortem on that team and its activities. And that's exactly what you need to do.

But let me ask you this. When was the last time you actually got a team together that had been really successful? My guess is to analyse why they had been, that team had been successful. My guess is possibly never. And I think there's a quick win to be had here. And it's to do with this word, post-victoriam.

If you're not familiar with this word, then I'm not surprised because I've made it up. And I should say I made it up with the help of a friend of mine. I phoned him up and I said, "Look, this is what I want. Can you come up with the word?" This guy he used to teach at St. Dominic's in Belfast. He was a language teacher. St. Dominic's, anybody from St. Dominic's? Yes. And five languages, I thought, "Yes, he's my wordsmith, phoned him up." And I said, "Look, I need this." And he says, "I don't think this word exists." I said, "Michael, that's exactly why I'm phoning you. I want you to make one up for me."

And he said, "Leave it with me." And he phoned back the following day and he says, "I think the word you need is post-victoriam." And he says, "And make sure you stress the "riam." If you stress the "vict," it's wrong." And he says, "It's Latin and it's certainly accusative because it follows "post." And I, "Thank you very much, Michael."

And post-victoriam, I think is a very powerful concept. Because if you can get your teams that are working really well together and analyse why it is that they are doing well, two magical things will happen. First, it's a brilliant exercise in terms of recognition. You'll be recognizing individual in front of their peers. And that's very, very powerful. Second thing is you'll have an opportunity to identify why it is that that team has been so successful with a view to repeating that behaviour again and again and again. And who knows, maybe even improving it further still because everyone in business will tell you if a CEO is trying to raise the profits in a company and to get it to do better, it's far better concentrating on the people that are already doing well to see if you can get them from good to great or good to excellence. But you can't concentrate on the bottom quartile.

Next thing I want to talk about and this is my number two area is communicating as a leader. When I was first at university, I bought myself my first car and it was a Mini Cooper 850. And it cost me £180. And it left me with 20 quid to join the AA pretty quickly and it was the best thing that I could ever have done because this car was forever breaking down. So many times on the way to university, the AA actually got to know me quite well. And I was worried they're going to throw me out of the AA at one point. But I used to watch them and they'd come to the car and they'd open up the bonnet, first of all, then they would open up the fuel cap. And then they'd look under the bottom of the car.

And I said to one of these guys once, I said, "Why do you always do it like this and in this order?" And he said, "We're go into the bonnet because 80% of breakdowns of cars is to do with electrics, 10% has to do with fuel supply, and 10% is to do with something else." And if somebody said to me, "What's your 80% in your organization in terms of problems and breakdowns I suppose in your organization?" I would definitely say it's communication. And somebody said to me, "What would you or should you had spent more time on when developing your company?" Then I would have said communication without a doubt.

So I just want to say a few things about communication. But first, let me ask you this. How many people here would operate at an open-door policy in your school in terms of your leadership? Hands up? Can I suggest to you that you should ditch your open-door policy? Can I be even more cheeky than that and suggest that your open-door policy may be damaging your school? You know, when I was a boy, I used to really enjoy being cheeky to my headmaster before he caned me. And now here I am being cheeky in front of 60. And I must admit to having that same sort of buzz and that same sort of feeling.

But let me explain why in relation to my own experience with open-door policies. When I took my first office, all the staff went in and it was open plan office apart from my particular part of the office. And there was an adjoining door between my office and the open plan. And symbolically I opened this door. I wedged it open. And it was my way of saying, "Well, look, okay, I may be head of this company, I may have lots of diplomas and certificates and degrees. I may be a qualified barrister, an employment expert and know how to recruit and to fire people lawfully. But, hey, you can come in anytime and you can share your feedback with me. You can communicate. I'll approachable. This door is always open."

And three things happened. First of all, they did come in, but they didn't really share the sort of feedback that I needed at that point as a leader, but they came in with all sorts of rubbish quite frankly. And it took me away from doing the sort of job that I should have been doing. I see people are nodding and smiling. Is this perhaps resonating?

The second thing that this open door was doing developing a dependency culture on me as the leader. And that was the exact opposite of what I was trying to do, which was to get a coaching culture going on in this organization.

And the third thing, and worst of all, was this, that it really prevented me from giving any serious proper thinking to how communication should be done in my organization. Because I always fell back on the excuse, "Well, they can come in anytime. The doors open. I'm approachable. And they could have told me that. They could have given me that feedback."

But what I didn't realize was that communication is a lot more complex than that. And there's all sorts of reasons why staff won't go to a leader to give you the sort of feedback and the sort of information that you need to do your job properly. It may be safety to speak issues. It may be culturally they don't feel comfortable in doing that. It may be that they just don't have the skills or feel they have the skills or the confidence to approach you and go through that open door and sit down and tell you the sort of things that you need.

So we got a business consultant in and she said, "Look, Barry, the very first thing I want you to do is to close that door. Now tell me what other methods of communication have you got between staff and you and you and staff and for information flows throughout the company?" I couldn't tell her. I couldn't tell her one.

So we built this dashboard of communication channels. And I'll just show you now what we have. We do this dashboard every year. We just list down one side of this dashboard all the methods of single communication that there are in the company between employee and the head of the company or the manager, then we will list in the middle all the group communication possibilities, regular team meetings, adult meetings, lunch and 360 appraisals.

And then we'll list annual staff satisfaction survey. All staff communication that is possible. Once a year or once every two years, we'll present this to staff and say, "Do you think these are enough? If not, tell us what else you think would be useful." I noticed a few people taking photographs. There will be these slides sent out to everybody after this.

Next, I want to talk about decision taking, because this is critical in leadership. And it was Einstein who said this. He said, "If I had one hour for every challenge, or to resolve a particular challenge, I would spend 15 minutes trying to work on the questions that I should have been answering and should have in front of me, and then 10 minutes actually working on the solution." And I firmly believe that as leaders, we don't spend enough time asking ourselves, do we have the right questions in front of us? Are we asking the right questions before we go into a decision process?

Let me see if I can just illustrate that with a very simple example. A few weeks ago, I was staying in Cardiff for conference. It's three-day conference. First two days, I stayed in the hotel for breakfast. I think is the holiday and great breakfast.

But on the third day, I went up the road just for a change. And I went into this cafe, and I had a really bland, very ordinary breakfast. The waitress came up to me halfway through and she said, "Is everything okay?" And I said, "Yeah, everything is okay." And it was. But who wants to have a breakfast or lunch or dinner that's okay? I wasn't planning to go back there. I went up to the hotel and I was checking out and the lady said to me, she said, "Did you enjoy your stay, sir?" And I said, "I did. It was great." And she said, box out of 10, what you give us?" And I said, "Eight and a half." And she said, "If you were to stay here again, what would we need to do to get to 10?"

And I said, "Well, you offer soya milk as an alternative to dairy for vegetarians. Vegetarians don't drink soya anymore because there's too much oestrogen." She said. "I didn't know that." She said, "What should we offer?" And I said, "I think it's almond milk." She said. "That's really great. Thank you." I wrote it down and she said, "I'll pass that back onto the kitchen." So two very similar situations, but very different outcomes because of the quality of the questions.

Language fascinates me, particularly how leaders use language to give themselves I think sometimes excuses as euphemism in language and sometimes quite frankly downright lies too. One lie I've stopped myself from or forbid myself from actually saying is that I don't have time to do something because it's just not true. I do have time. You know, if I was asked, "You got time to build a rocket to the moon?" I do have time. But everything else is going to be bumped. It's more a question of priority. I'm not prepared to prioritize my time.

Now might sound like a distinction without much of a difference. But let me see if I can give you an example to illustrate that. A few weeks ago, my wife said to me, she said, "There's a neighbour who's going through quite a bad time at the moment. She's getting a divorce and she's not getting out of the house much. I think we ought to invite her over for dinner."

And over dinner I said to her, "That's a lovely idea. I was just about to say, but I don't have time at the moment." But I remember that I had forbidden myself from saying that. And I then said in my head, "I'm not prepared to prioritize this." When I put it that way I felt, "Well, actually, this week, I'm going to be watching trash TV for at least two hours. Is that a priority over this lady and inviting her for dinner?" So I think we have to be careful of the language that we put to ourselves.

In my early days as a leader, I wasn't particularly good at taking decisions because I found and I realize now I reacted rather than responded. And there were many times that I acted far too quickly out of anger or I had so much emotion going on in my mind. That even as I was taking the decision, I just realized that I wasn't taking the best decision here. Now, I try and do what I sometimes refer to as a, "Checkup from the neck up."

And I asked myself before I take a big decision, "Okay, what's my neural hood? Or what's under my neural bonnet at the moment?" I'll ask myself, "Am I feeling tired? Am I angry about this? I am feeling frustrated? Am I feeling annoyed?" And if the answer to that is, "Yes." Then I deliberately I'll take a break, I'll go for coffee, go for a walk or I might even say, "Not today. This is a big one. I'm going to come back to it tomorrow."

Abraham Lincoln, probably one of the greatest decision takers and certainly one of the greatest political leaders in American history. A lot of the American archivists have found lots of letters that he wrote to people but never sent. And they all seem to agree that really he was never intending to send most of these letters. And what he was doing was taking him through a process so that his mind would actually be in a better place to take his big and important decisions after he'd gone through the cathartic process of just writing a letter out to the person that he wanted to communicate with.

Next thing I just want to talk about is leadership habits. And Professor Duhigg says that it takes 66 days for us to change a habit or to ditch a habit. And I think one leadership skill that we need to work on and it's a definite leadership skill is the skill of saying, "No." I think there's a quick win to be had here as well. And it looks like this. Over the last 12 weeks, I've been practicing this, a fast no and a slow yes. I forbid myself to say to anyone, when they invite me to do something to speak or to go to a breakfast seminar or something immediately, "Yes."

Instead and say to them, "I'll check my diary and I'll get back to you tomorrow." And in that intervening period, I'll ask myself lots of questions and say, "Do I actually really need to go to this? Could somebody else go to this? Does anybody from my company really need to go to this at all?" And what I discovered was, I've been suffering from quite a bit of this. Anybody conversant with tech speak FOMO? Anybody likes something about FOMO?


Man: Fear of missing out.


Barry: Fear of missing out. Thank you very much. And I would go to things like breakfast seminars, annual dinners and I think to myself, "Why am I here? What is the purpose of this?" And I couldn't help but think quite a lot of the time it's the fear of missing out. Fear that I might actually be missing out on something. So I need to be here just to cover that off. So I looked to this FOMO and I thought, "What if I can change FOMO into this?" Anybody? Any offers on the J? Joy? Who said Joy? Ollah [SP].

Thank you very much. Yeah, the joy of missing out. So instead of actually feeling guilty for not being at the breakfast seminar, when the breakfast seminar was on I would actually practice the joy of not being there. And I'd be thinking to myself, "If I was there now, I'd be tucking into a rotten vegetarian and oyster fry." Now I'm actually looking after my health and I'm swimming up and down the Antrim swimming pool 30 times. And I think this is a much better place to be.

Last night. I should have been at an annual dinner listening to some expert talk about Brexit. He reckon he knew what was going to happen. I wasn't there. Instead . . . where was I actually last night. Yes. Last night, I was actually at a Halloween disco with my daughter with P1 pupils. Maybe that's not a very good example. I don't know.

But to use another example, perhaps a bit closer to home. I was thinking in my daily routine and various different things and senior team meeting, and I thought, "Do I actually need to be there at this?"

And I concluded, "Well, yes, I do. But not for all of it." And so I got the agenda items and I actually front loaded it. For those parts of the meeting that I needed to be there, I stuck those at the front. And it meant instead of having to sit through a two-hour meeting, I actually left after an hour and passed the meeting to the MD and she was fine about it and everybody else was because the rest of the items just didn't require me to be there.

I've quoted Einstein and I've also talked about Abraham Lincoln. I can't finish this session on habits without talking about Harry Duckworth. Harry Duckworth was my grandfather and he was from Lancashire. He was a Lancashire man and he used to dispense to me all sorts of wisdom. And one of the things he said to me once was, he said, "Son, if you can kiss a woman whilst driving a car, there's something badly wrong."

And I thought about this and I thought about this for a long time. He told me this when I was about 12 and it wasn't until I was about 18 or 19 that the penny dropped. What he was trying to say was do one thing at a time and do it well. And I really do believe as leaders we have to get back to the power of single tasking. In the '90s and the noughties, this big, wonderful world of multitasking was around. Job descriptions would say, "Successful candidate must be able to multitask." But all the behavioural scientists will tell us that we cannot multitask. We're just not wired to multitask.

When we think we're multitasking, we're not. We're doing us a series of single, short single tasks often in very different directions and making a real mess of it. So how do we get back to single-tasking? I think we need to start batching our work. Doing similar sorts of things in batches. We need to start chunking our work to try and do chunks of work in 30 minutes. Usually 25 and give yourself 5 minutes break just before you go on to the next item. And we need to try and get two items of work and think, "I'll go to this once and once only but do it well so it's off my desk."

Finally, I'd like to talk to you about you as a leader. And Jeff said, you've got to look after yourself. And he's absolutely right because if you're not doing that, then if you haven't got your health and your good mental stability, then everything else is going to be in jeopardy. And I think there's two quick wins to be had here. And they look like this. I'm a great follower of this guy, Tim Ferriss. Anybody come across Tim Ferriss? A few people nodding. Ferriss I like in this book "Tribe of Mentors" is fabulous.

Because what he does, he tries to . . . or he does interviews, 180 successful leaders in this book across a whole range of disciplines, not only education, but science, the arts, entertainment, business, investors, and so on. And he tries to identify the common traits between all of them, which will explain why these people are successful. But what's interesting is I don't think he finds very many at all. With the possible exception of two things.

First, he notices that about 70% of people featured in this book all do mindfulness practice of 10 minutes every day before they go into work or start their work. For anyone who's not familiar with mindfulness practice, it's basically meditation for 10 minutes when you're single focusing on just one thing. This is back to training your brain to single task again. And that one thing is usually your breathing but it may be a certain parts of your body as well.

I know there's a few people in the room that are familiar with this, because they've come to a course that I arranged on mindfulness practice. If anybody is interested in going on a similar course, we have one coming up on the 8th of November. I promised Robert that I wouldn't try and sell you anything today. And I'm not. I promise you because this is free. This is something that I do with a friend of mine. She's a yogi guru. She loves meditation. And we do this because we believe it makes a real difference to leaders. And so far, we've trained 150 leaders in Northern Ireland how to do mindfulness practice 10 minutes a day. If you'd like to attend, there are about five places left. Just ping me an email at the end of this presentation.

The second thing that many people in this do is they practice the art of journaling. Now just to explain journaling a little bit, I don't have very much time. But journaling is different to keeping a diary. Keeping a diary is about a record of what's happened to you that day. Journaling is really sometimes it's called Morning Pages. And it's about setting your mind down on paper to work out what is in your mind and then working forwards from there. It's a lot more purposeful than keeping a diary.

And Tim Ferriss would keep a journal. If you wanted more information, just google Tim Ferriss journaling, and you'll find an example of it. But very quickly I can show you what he does. On the left-hand side of his journal, he'll brain dump and he'll just for four or five minutes just write down what's in his head. And he'll say, "It's not so much the product, it's the process that's important here because as you write stuff out, you realize what's in your head." And he says, if he doesn't do this, he's got all these different things going on in his head, like bullets ricocheting from one side of his skull to another.

If he writes them down, it's a great way of starting the process of getting some clarity going. On the other side, he will do what he calls the power of three. So, first of all, he will write down three things that will make today really special. He doesn't use special. He says, "Awesome." But that's just an American word I can't bring myself to put up there. And three things that you're grateful for. Because a lot of journal people who keep journals will know your attitude to gratitude has a very direct connection to just your levels of happiness.

And the third thing is to write down three affirmations, "Today I will be successful because I'm good at leading meetings. I'm good at preparing for meetings. I'm a good listener," what have you. Yes, it's a very American thing, this affirmation, but it does seem to work.

So what have we got here in terms of workaways? First of all, recognition. Experiment with a post-victoriam. Communication. How about a communication dashboard? Just put it up on a flip chart somewhere and ask yourself, what's going on in terms of communication? What channels that you have? And what areas could you possibly improve decision taking?

Think about importance of questions. First, leadership's habits. Why not try saying a slow yes over the next two, three weeks and see what impact it might have. And finally, don't forget to work on yourself. I might add that 66 days from today is the 17th of December. So if anybody would like to pop me an email to that address and commit to having a go at one of those 5 areas for 66 days then feel free to do it. And after 66 days, on the 17th of December, I'll get back to you. And I'll ask you how you've been getting on and I'll wish you a merry Christmas at the same time.

I just want to finish by giving to you, sharing a quote from Robin Sharma who's a great writer on leadership. And he said this, he said, "Leadership is no longer about your position. It's now more about your passion for excellence and your passion for making a difference."

And I have to say that since working with our school on various projects over the last 10 years, I've got to know a lot of principals and a lot of vice principals and I've come to realize just how difficult your work is but also how passionate you are about striving for excellence and for making a difference. I'm with Jeff on this. I think you are doing great work. I really do. I commend you. It's very, very difficult but you are doing some excellent work. Thank you very much for being such a great audience and enjoy the rest of the conference. Thank you.

This article is correct at 30/10/2018

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