My friend Ron has a long history of being in bands with ridiculous names that become popular.
We’ve got Weekend Nachos. We’ve got Bongripper.
There’s something to be said for the idea of making yourself laugh in your creative work – and sometimes that strikes a nerve with other people as well. In fact, when I was standing outside of the Metro for Bongripper’s recent show, there was a Jimmy Buffett concert at Wrigley Field just down the street.
A cadre of Hawaiian-shirt clad Parrotheads hurried past me – only to stop in front of the Metro and loudly exclaim in excitement upon seeing the name “Bongripper” in giant letters across the marquee. Hopefully they checked it out.
But Bongripper isn’t just a band with a clever name. They’ve pulled together an incredibly loyal following of people who like slow and heavy riffs and long songs.
Check out this conversation with Ron to hear:
How Bongripper creates songs – and how they think about the relationship between structure, riffs, and the overall texture of the song. And – the frustrations of practicing 20 minute songs while everyone is counting each part differently.
How Ron listens to music and records, and how he processes different styles of music as an analytical musician
Ron’s top pop music recommendations, including Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Tove Styrke
Lindsey Love Jenks used to coach over 100 individuals on their nutrition. But, she realized there was a much larger market for something in between the individualized nutrition coaching she was offering and impersonal, unadaptable templates.
Macrostax offers customized macronutrient prescriptions, as well as a meal generator feature. But, I was mostly interested in learning how Lindsey handles the psychological foibles of the individuals who are using the app – and how she’s built and grown her company.
Check out this conversation to hear:
The common and damaging psychological traps that CrossFit athletes fall into with their nutrition
How to lead and manage a technical team as a non-technical founder
How to take user feedback and figure out what people really want – rather than what they say they want
I went to a party at Debra’s dance studio to celebrate that it was full of toxic mold and that it was shutting down.
That could have been the end of Design Dance, but – after getting fired from a call center that “a dog could work at” – Debra decided to start calling schools to see if they needed an after school dance instructor.
10 years later, Design Dance isn’t the studio she originally envisioned. Instead, they run after school programs teaching dance all throughout the Chicagoland area. And Debra runs a non-profit called Prismatic focused on teaching students entrepreneurship in the arts – because not all companies have to be started to create some sort of app.
Check out this conversation to hear:
How a mold-infested dance studio morphed into a company focused on dance education
How to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders in a business: school administration, students, contracted teachers, and parents
How to handle being talked down to and minimized as a female business owner
Cal Wysocki is the founder of Fulcrum Education Solutions, a company dedicated to improving the quality of instruction in our schools.
As South Loop Strength & Conditioning has grown, we’ve found it more and more important to re-focus on the quality of the product that we’re offering in our facility – and the main arbiters of that quality are our coaches who are working with our members on a daily basis.
We’ve begun to build several systems for continuing education, dialogue, and feedback with our coaches – and we’ve seen massive changes in what’s happening in our classes. Logistics run more smoothly, workout explanations are more clear, and our coaches do a much better job of handling the social dynamics of delivering coaching and correction to members who may be frustrated, distracted, or confused – without running into nearly as much pushback.
In this discussion with Cal, we focus on the strategies and tactics that he uses to elevate the processes by which schools improve their own teachers. This is not a simple discussion of a few “quick tips.” Instead, Cal is thinking in multi-year processes surrounding building trust with staff, getting quick wins for teachers in the classroom, building trust with students, developing consistency in order to change the dynamic of feedback in a school’s culture, and integrating all of this with long-term professional development strategies.
As a person who is concerned with the quality of coaching going on in my gym on a daily basis, I found this discussion invaluable – and we’ve immediately implemented some of the ideas from this conversation at SLSC. From the bigger picture of a person who is concerned with the quality of education and the pitfalls of misaligned incentives in the school system, this conversation gave me a better foundation with which to think through the problems that we encounter as we try to improve the quality of our public schools.
[2:13] Teachers having meltdowns and abandoning children due to improper feedback
[6:36] When tactics fail – why building trust before implementing changes is paramount
[8:54] What is the process that Fulcrum Education Solutions uses to work with schools? And how do you actually improve teaching performance?
[17:30] How do you build trust and cut through skepticism with teachers since you’re an outside consultant”?”
[22:37] What are some of the typical quick wins” that you see work well for teachers to immediately improve the quality fo their instruction?”
[28:42] Using role-playing to practice skills of classroom management with teachers.
[36:00] What is the assessment process for figuring out what a teacher needs to work on – and what a school needs to work on asa whole?
[45:47] The nuts and bolts of the observation and coaching process for improving teacher performance.
[59:28] How do you coach teachers to handle students who are disruptive or who push back?
[1:04:06] Creating systems for deliering feedback effectively to create behavior change – and avoiding resentment and mistrust
[1:16:46] The many parallels between the fitness industry and education consulting.
Resources and Individuals Mentioned
“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
-Haim G. Ginott
Carleen Matthews is a multiple time individual CrossFit Games competitor. It’s always interesting to hear how people competing at the highest level in a sport think and operate on a daily basis – but Carleen’s story has another layer.
She has a history of addiction as well as eating disorder, and this gives her insight into the mental battles people fight underneath the surface that we don’t always see.
Carleen owns and operates CrossFit St. Helens in Oregon, and also runs a program out of her affiliate specifically for people who are on the path to recovery from addiction.
Through some enterprising members and her connections in the local community, Carleen was able to get government help to fund this program. If you’re interested in working with the recovering population in your area, Carleen almost certainly has some insight in terms of how to set up a program, hurdles you may face, and how to potentially get help from your local government. Direct message her on Instagram if this is something you’re interested in: @teamcarleen