Posts in Education
How to Connect the Enneagram to Your Work

If there’s a personality test out there, I’ve probably taken it.  

Myers Briggs was helpful as was DISC.  I’ve had my teams take them for years and have always learned something new about my colleagues as a result.

When was the last time you took a personality test?

These days, I’m using the Enneagram test to learn more about myself and my colleagues.  I first learned about this through the excellent podcast The Road Back to You with Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile.  Their show is based on the book with the same title.

The Enneagram is an ancient test used by Christians and other traditions to help people understand themselves better.  The word means "nine ways".  

It turns out that Fr. Richard Rohr, one of my favorite weekend homilists (you can check out his podcast here) is one of the preeminent experts on the Enneagram.

How can the Enneagram make a difference in your work?  I’d like to suggest three ways:

1. The Enneagram will show you more about yourself than any other test.  This leads to greater self awareness.  For example, I’m a “1” on the test which has many blessings.  Unfortunately, it also brings some negatives such as a tendency to think that I’m right.  Now that I understand this better, I try to listen more and suspend my own opinions when I can.

2. The Enneagram will make you more humble.  As Fr. Thomas Judge once said, “humility is truth”.  When you know what you’re good at (and just as important, what you’re not good at), you’ll realize that you need smarter people around you at all times.  It will also help you to be confident when you’re in familiar territory.  Finally, it will let you know that you need help more often than not.

3. The Enneagram will make you more compassionate.  When you see that God has wired someone else a certain way, you immediately appreciate them more.  This makes you more effective at work as you learn one another’s moves and tendencies.  

If you haven’t taken a personality test like the Enneagram in a while, make an investment in your own leadership today.  I would guess than 10 minutes of assessment will lead to hours of understanding.  

10 Podcasts I Listen to Each Week

Listening is like reading but with the ears.  There are so many ways to "consume" books, articles and podcasts.  For me, my daily commute is a great opportunity to learn and catch up on my "reading" list which consists of mostly podcasts.

While the following podcasts aren't updated weekly, I check on them and feel like they are my mobile professors.  Just search in your podcast catcher of choice:

  1. The Accidental Creative.
  2. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast.
  3. The Art of Charm.
  4. Beyond the ToDo List.
  5. The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.
  6. HBR IdeaCast.
  7. How I Built my Practice with Gene Monterastelli.
  8. MacBreak Weekly.
  9. NPR Politics Podcast.
  10. Rainer on Leadership.


Why I've Chosen Catholic Education for my Career

Sometimes you choose a career and sometimes your career chooses you.   

Over the Christmas break, do yourself a favor and watch some of Netflix's The Chef's Table.  One of my favorite episodes is that of Massimo Bottura, considered to be one of the finest chefs in the world.  

Massimo "found himself" through food.  It's as if he can't imagine his life without the art and gift of cooking.  It's part of who he is and the reason why he once said, "I am Massimo Bottura. I close my eyes and I want to understand where I am, cooking is about emotion, it's about culture, it's about love, it's about memory."

How about you?  

It’s about culture, it’s about love, it’s about memory...
— Massimo Bottura

Can you say these same things about your career?  Is there passion behind what you do?  Does it animate your heart and mind as you wake up each day?

Chef Massimo Bottura

Chef Massimo Bottura

For me, it's not as if I chose Catholic education.  Rather, it found me.  My wife will tell you that when I started working in a school, I became happier.  She told me in 1998, "You're happier now.  Maybe it's the bells that ring all day long."  

Whatever it was back in the early days, it's stuck.  I've been a teacher, a curriculum supervisor and ultimately an administrator.  Each role has stretched me and taught me something profound.   Each role provided me  with wonderful mentors who brought me along and challenged me to "be more" for kids and for my peers.  

Each mentor showed me servant leadership which would ultimately become my calling card.

Catholic education has a proven trackrecord.  I often tell parents that Catholic education "works" partly because strong families produce strong children.  The University of Notre Dame, considered to the torchbearer of Catholic education, articulates some of the other details about how and why Catholic education is so effective:

  • The achievement gap is smaller in faith-based schools (Jeynes, 2007; Marks & Lee, 1989).
  • Students in Catholic and other private schools demonstrate higher academic achievement than students from similar backgrounds in public schools (Coleman & Hoffer, 1987; Coleman, Hoffer, & Kilgore, 1982; Greeley, 1982; Sander, 1996).
  • Latino and African American students who attend Catholic schools are more likely to graduate from high school and more likely to graduate from college than their public school peers (Benson, Yeager, Guerra, & Manno, 1986; Evans & Schwab, 1995; Neal, 1997; Sander & Krautman, 1995).
  • The poorer and more at-risk a student is, the greater the relative achievement gains in Catholic schools (York, 1996).
  • Graduates of Catholic high schools are more likely to vote than public school graduates (Dee, 2005).
  • Graduates of Catholic schools are likely to earn higher wages than public school graduates (Hoxby, 1994; Neal, 1997).
  • Catholic schools tend to produce graduates who are more civically engaged, more tolerant for diverse views, and more committed to service as adults (Campbell, 2001; Greeley & Rossi, 1966; Greene, 1998; Wolf, Greene, Kleitz, & Thalhammer, 2001).  (Source: UND)

All of this might convince a person to pursue a career in Catholic education.  For me, I never entered education because of statistics or academic findings.  I chose it because it spoke to me and gave me an environment where maybe, if I stuck with it, I could make a difference.

That's my hope for you and your career- that you find something that resonates with you and that you find a space to truly impact the world.  

New Podcast with David Allen

What do you ask someone who has been interviewed hundreds of times? 

That was the question I asked as Nancy (my cohost) and I prepared to interview David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.  I didn't want it to be just another interview with the same old questions being asked and the same result- a predictable interview.

The result: something different.

I think you'll enjoy this podcast interview we did with David.  We talked about parenting, school, information overload and of course, productivity.  David was down to earth, direct and inspiring.  We also got a sneak-peak at the new edition of Getting Things Done which debuts in March of 2015.

It was so much fun and I can't wait to share it with you so sit back and have a listen.  Jump below the podcast button for some of my past blog posts on GTD.

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New Podcast with Greg Dhuyvetter, Superintendent of Schools

In our recent episode of Techspiration, Nancy and I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg Dhuyvetter, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Orange.  Greg shared with us how he has balanced time in "central office" with time in the field with school leaders and teachers.  From the sound of things, there are a lot of fortunate students in Greg's care.

Click here to listen to the cast!

Click here for Greg's personal website.

Click here to follow Greg on Twitter.

Click here to listen to previous episodes of Techspiration.  

PODCAST, EducationMike StPierre
My Interview on the Transformative Principal Podcast

They say that if you want to get good at something, ask around.  This is true with my podcast with Nancy Caramanico, Techspiration and with educator Jethro Jones.  

Jethro's podcast, The Transformative Principal is one of the best when it comes to finding educational leaders and then delving deep into their practice.  Beyond finding new and emerging voices for the podcast, he really goes deep into the questions he asks.  If you hear me saying "that's a good question" over and over, it's because it's true!  Jethro challenged me to think deeply about what we're doing at work and how I can lead better each day. 

Jethro was kind enough to feature me last week on the show and you can listen here.  Enjoy!