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Choosing the 3rd Button

There's power in simplicity. Clarity compels. Change is more likely when complex concepts are distilled into digestible ideas.

Meaningful change requires comprehension. Before we try to change something we should attempt to understand it better. And this, almost always, requires some level of creativity.

Charles Mingus is credited with saying, "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."

One of the reasons I love reading Seth Godin's daily blog posts is his ability to take complex concepts and make them understandable. Relatable. Actionable.

Several weeks ago, Seth shared something that resonated, but also something I've wrestled with because it seemed incomplete. Basically, he said "Every person in an organization needs to wear one of two buttons."

Button #1: "I don't care."


Button #2: "I'd like to help."

Of course, the simplicity of the two-button concept makes Seth's point hard to miss. In that respect, it's incredibly creative.

However, I'm wondering if we missed an important third button. Because most of the people I know care deeply about the work. And they'd like to help. But their stories, schedules, and situations are...complicated.

And this is precisely why Button #3 matters; it represents a more complete version of the people who make meaningful change possible.

Button #3: "It's complicated, but if you get to know me

and listen to my story I may surprise you."

If this blog post resonated, you might like my newest book, Reclaiming Our Calling: Hold on to the Heart, Mind, and Hope of Education. The book tackles a tension many educators are feeling using a combination of stories and practical strategies. If you’re interested in technology integration, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students is a best-seller with Corwin Press. Both books are built on the belief that everything we do in education starts with relationships and connectedness.



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