Our last two Wellness Wednesday focused on hanging on to what we ought to hang on to and letting go of what we ought to let go of. When we seriously examine what we are hanging on to and what we are letting go of, we are practicing self-reflection.

I practice self-reflection from time to time, but not deliberately and not enough.

However, I was inspired to practice self-reflection more intentionally when I met Baruti Kafele (pictured above) at the National SAM Conference in July. As a school principal, Baruti has led the turnaround of four New Jersey urban schools. His leadership transformed Newark Tech from a low performing school to one of national recognition. Baruti’s strategy was self-reflection.

At the end of each day, Principal Kafele would stand outside as his students boarded busses to leave school.

When the last bus left the school grounds, Baruti would turn towards the school building, fold his arms, and ask himself, “Was my school better because of my leadership today?” Each day that single question resulted in one of two answers: Yes or No.

What he did next was the secret sauce. Baruti would return to his office and, if his answer was ‘yes’, he would write down what he had done that day that made his school better. He would reflect on how he could repeat that practice the next day. If his answer to the question was ‘no’, he would write down what he could have done to make his school better that day. He would write this item at the top of his list for what he would do the next day.

Baruti’s ten-minute daily reflection made him better. As he became a better school leader, his school became a better school.

Reflection: Consider who or what you lead…a relationship, a family, a school, a team, an organization. Is it better today because you are its leader?

From Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney and Tom Cody, whose desire to serve you better activates our self-reflection at Top 20 Training.

Paul Bernabei
Top 20 Training