Do you believe in the transformative power of education? Are you interested in re-imaging education for our children? We are. We believe they deserve nothing less than our best.
In this episode we discuss what the essence of education is and how we can create new systems of learning that focus on what really matters. Enjoy!
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Ross Leadbetter 0:00
There's a subset of students that become covered by by their own thoughts by their own, you know, self feedback, but also by society and family. And I thought to myself, I want to take that out, I get take that Governor out so that brain can, you know, expand to the brilliance that is, I want to brilliant carpenter. I want a brilliant mechanic. I want a brilliant really childcare worker, and they are, so let's start again, abusing them through education, and this is part of the stiltedness of education, and let's start providing opportunity for all people to find their pathway.
Stuart Murray 0:38
Welcome to episode number one of the connected movement podcast. I'm your host, Stu Murray. Are you disillusioned with our old outdated systems and stories? Are you tired of the growing polarization in society? So am I my aim is to engage in and unpack conversations with people from all walks of life as a means of CO-creating a way forward for humanity. Today's guest is my dear friend, Dr. Ross Leadbetter who has over 30 years experience in education and leadership. Ross has conducted action research and content development of deep learning methods as a provincial Learning Specialist for the province of New Brunswick, as a CEO of iHub learning incorporated as an author and more. He holds a PhD in knowledge conversion and high performance work teams with extensive background in the development, retention and use of knowledge to create high performance action. More recently, Ross has taken his decades of knowledge and wisdom to create a high performance culture coaching program, where he helps organizations remove their self imposed governor to take their productivity, performance and well being to new levels. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. And before we dive in a big thank you to our sponsor, Karen Phytoplankton, for helping to make this show possible. All links can be found in the show notes at connected movement.ca. Without further ado, let's dive in. All right,
Stu Murray 2:11
I'm here with Ross lead better. Thanks for joining me today. I'd like to start off by asking what brought you into education in the first place?
Ross Leadbetter 2:28
Oh my gosh. Now, that's quite a long time ago. You know, it's funny, you should ask that because it really was a moment in my life or a period of my life when I had to make that decision. Or when I made the decision, I was thinking, you know, what do I want to what do I want to do with my life? What do I want to, you know, look back upon when I'm more at the age I am now or further along. And, and it was really important to me to do something that I felt had implicit value. And I was a bit of a bit of an entertainer, a bit of a fun guy, and goofy and really athletic and, and I was I excelled at the Arts and so on. So it was kind of natural, I did have to I did have to sort quite a bit. But I thought to myself, if there's some way that I can add value that I can contribute in some way to this world, what would it be, and what's best suited to me. And that's where I thought, You know what I think this education thing is probably it, I was fairly certain I grown up around quite a few educators, my parents weren't, but through sports and so on and friends of the family and everything. There was, you know, there's quite a number of important people in my life that were educators. And yeah, so I that was it was the values and trying to make a difference trying to contribute, thinking that I could bring something to to students to systems. You know, I thought of the classroom first but then I, I moved from there throughout my career. But yeah, I think that I think his values and a sense of Will I get a sense of accomplishment out of this life, this path?
Stuart Murray 4:14
Very interesting. Okay, I'm hearing a theme of values being mentioned. So when you talk about that, like what are the key principles and values that drive what you do both in your profession and in your personal life if there's a crossover there?
Ross Leadbetter 4:30
Yeah, it's all been really important to me that there's some sort of value set I wasn't brought up with any type of religion, anything. Anything dogmatic my my parents had been and then they made a decision when they came to Canada from England, they wouldn't have us kids go to church unless we wanted to. And I chose to play soccer and rugby on Sundays instead. And that was my choice and but we were still As with, you know, really, you know that to be a good person is extremely important. And then, but then how do you determine if you're a good person and so on. So, in my early days, I don't think I would have been able to define for you what my value set was that, you know, would take quite a bit of time, and that sentences versus words and so on. But interestingly enough, as I got into education, I saw that I was, in fact having an impact in my classrooms, and, and that I did, in fact, have a skill set or, or was developing skill sets probably, for leadership and for, for what I thought was, you know, I thought I could have if I couldn't have this influence in a classroom, maybe as a vice principal, I can have this or as a principal, or, or as I became, you know, a district leader. And, and, and then, you know, a provincial educational specialists, that sort of thing. I thought, those concentric circles are things that seemed like I could fill and, and I knew, you know, pretty early in my career, I started my master's after my first year, my master's in leadership, I had done some other things I've worked construction, I had run a couple of small businesses, so I wasn't, you know, just a young pup, I was still pretty young, but I'd had a few life experiences. So they let me in to the program, you know, just because of those life experiences. So I go along, and I'm interested in the leadership track. And so I get involved in that. And I'd become a vice principal. And it was only about eight or nine or 10 years, and somewhere around there that I started looking at systems thinking and how can how can I take what I, you know, this core set of values this, this influence and bring it to larger and larger systems? So I started looking at systems thinking and, and how is it that we can influence the culture of an educational setting, so that it is, you know, high performance, and it's not only full of values, but it's valuing of others, and so on. And I happen to go to a conference with that Rushworth Kiter was running and he had been, you know, and again, the timing has been, you know, somewhere around the mid 90s, I can't quite remember to be honest. But around that time, I went to this conference, and he had just been around the world to every continent, and had spoken to a bunch of people don't research essentially a bunch of people about what are the values of a good person in your area of the world, and you know, race, religion, gender, it didn't matter. He talked to everybody. And that was actually the point like, is there some sort of shared, you know, crossing point, and he came up with five, excellent. Well, he didn't come up, he derived these five excellent values, which are compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility and fairness. And when I saw that, I thought to myself, is there any of those that are, you know, bothersome to me? No. So that's my core set. I said, Yeah, I adopt these that I actually with integrity, believed I was already living by those. I just hadn't really, you know, brought them to the fore, like his research did. Wow, excellent. And then I thought, also, this is an excellent place to meet people, either in community or in conflict. Because if we have a conflict, if we can be compassionate, honest, respectful, responsible and fair, then we can actually deal with the conflict instead of just each other. Right. And so, Deutsch and Holman and others have said, you know, treat the conflict is the third thing. So, so that was, yeah, that was what I realized, oh, my gosh, that yeah, that's my value set. Now beyond that, I'm not really sure that high performance is necessarily a value, but it's something that I do value. I value contribution. Yeah, and it goes on from there.
Stuart Murray 9:07
Interesting, it's nice to be able to reduce that. And I guess you could probably interchange some of those words, with other adjectives or other descriptions, but it's right, it's nice to be able to kind of refine that down. You keep bringing back, you know, I asked initially as more as an individual in your life, but you keep referring to that being part of a larger system or a larger culture. Why? Why is it so important in your lens to have a strong underpinning of values that guide a culture or that guidance system or that guide an organization?
Ross Leadbetter 9:45
Well, I mean, unless you're going to be completely alone, and even then I don't know how you can be in society if you're, you know, because even if you're a bit of a hermit or what have you, you still have to or likely out have to interact in some way with society so much further along the spectrum from that I deal with people every day and I work with people every day, I just think it's really important that we have a bit of a bit of a structure to how we operate with one another, and it should be positive, it's probably better to be positive. In both my masters and my PhD, I did not mean to, but in both of them, I went gravitated towards Japanese management theory as a as an underpinning to the research that I was doing. And if I looked at that now, and I don't think in my master's, I was I was quite as clear about this, but I certainly was when I did my PhD. But if I look back at all of that, now, what attracted me to Japanese management theory, more than anything, was this notion of there are ways in which we can interact with each other in the best possible way for me, and for you, and for everybody else. So that our system, our community, or organization, or team, whatever the collective is, can, you know, continuously improve continuous improvement is really an important part of my life. So is there a structure is there a, you know, this, these are the questions that I kept asking myself, and I would ask myself that, even as a brand new teacher, you know, as a teacher, you better create, if you don't create an environment that's positive and supportive, that you're going to, you know, these are the teachers that have trouble, right. And, and it was a bit of a trick to figure out, I gotta tell you, it took me a couple of years to get my toe wet on that, and then a couple more to get even a little bit good at it. And then I did get really good at it. And I was able and and am able to create community rather quickly, because I always have this idea of it's not, it is individuals, but it's not individuals, it is a collective, or any group that we have any classroom that we work in any group of professionals that I work with corporate and organizational levels, it's if we don't have a bit of a rule base, or a bit of a rule might be a little bit too strong. But maybe it's not as well, I don't know, I'd have to think about that a little bit more. But if we have some sort of structure that helps us understand how to communicate with other that we can agree upon some sort of common agreement, I just think everything's so much better, and so much more able to be improved. So So I guess at the base of my answer, I'm always looking for leverage.
Stuart Murray 12:36
That's interesting. I mean, when I had first met you, you taught me a lot about that. I felt personally, I had a strong set of values that underpin what I did personally, but helped me really amplify that to the structural level at at schools, and starting to build these frameworks. And as you say, perhaps even other than rules, I might call it a container, a way in which we can shape something and how others can show up together and something that we can hold ourselves collectively accountable to. So in that, I noticed tremendous changes in the way that my students were interacting, that I was interacting, and that started to have ripple effects in the school, largely, thanks to a lot of the work I was doing with you. And I'm wondering, what do you notice when when that culture is starting to change when we're starting to see shifts? In any sense, even interpersonal? What are some of the elements that build these strong, underlying connections? And what does that what might that even look like?
Ross Leadbetter 13:42
Interestingly enough, I have read some research and I can't remember I think it's marketing is the is the fellow but I from Berkeley, but I'll leave that at that for now. Where
his his his contention is, is that the fat like if you think of Skinner in psychology, you have your, your set your and then you have to see it in your behavior and a consequence, and it's the set of I think it's a good way to describe it, and I don't want to misquote him, but but this is what I derived from his research. It's how you think about the environment at first, how you are, when whether it's, you know, I've done a lot of adult learning and training and so on, as well as the students, there's no difference. I am the very first part of the equation. And I have to find myself in not necessarily calm because presenting to others is not necessarily the call me the most calming experience, but But you know, sort of a dynamic tension that I can feel levelled within. And so a really easy thing to sit back on is again values and then you have aspirations and intentions and share those with the group. I find that being honest, immediately being honest about what I know and don't know and and how I'll treat mistakes that I'll make, and that others will make whatever mistakes are I mean, it's just all learning really. And opening the door to being vulnerable and to being human. Is this probably the second step? I think somewhere in there. And again, I've never really wrote these down steps, but it is definitely starts with the person. And then your first emanation is honesty and integrity and being real authentic. Hey, I'm a person here, this isn't some we're not playing acting, I'm here for you. Let's do something together. I think that's extremely important. And then I've noticed that that immediately sets the tone. So for instance, with adult, excuse me, adult learners, one of the because adults come with so much experience, the biggest word that an adult has in a learning experience is Is this person going to be some sort of condescending jerk, that is going to pretend that they know more than me, because adults knows that? Well, so to students lead, don't get me wrong, students are brilliant, honestly, younger kids are brilliant, since we have to help help them to, you know, expand and grow their brains. But adults, you know, they've got somewhere in their world and so on. They want to know that they're not going to be essentially abused as small a but abused by the, you know, this condescension, and so on. So, I will say right away, what I'm about to teach you, and what I'm about the experience I'm about to take you through, you probably know a lot of it, that's honest, because they probably, however, you may learn something brand new. And let's be open to that. So there again, that's honest. And then I'll say, but what you might notice is that the way that I'm packaging it the way that I'm doing it, the the system, the sequencing, that's the real magic of what I think I'm offering to you. And then there's an immediate acceptance, okay, is not going to be condescension, he's actually teaching me a technique for all of the great amount of experience that I already know, there's some techniques and tools here, yes, that's what I'm here for. And then I think, probably somewhere along the line is fourth, or wherever I'm up to, to have a really clear positive intention. I don't think that without setting some goals, that you can really get anywhere, you know, we get to the metaphors of a boat without a rudder or, or one that I use at all my sessions is our most of my sessions, I'll say, you know, even if we had a world class sprinter in the middle of a field, and just, you know, pull the guidance and go, well, first of all, wherever they go, and even if they determine for themselves somewhere to go, they'd never be close to their best time, because they wouldn't be running with clear objective purpose. So, you know, I always think of that, and then and then belief in the other belief in myself, it's good to have confidence, I think, as long as it's not condescending, and belief in the process. And if you can, if I have belief in the intention, the outcome, if I believe in you, and I believe in myself, I'm supporting a fair bit to get us started. And then when students of any age, but particularly the younger ones start to actually believe in themselves, because you're helping them see themselves through this notion of objective and objectives, goals, whatever. And they are, in fact, brilliant, then that's when the magic starts to happen. So it is, I found that it used to take me quite a long time, but it's funny how old compacted and interwoven things can be and, and I'm, you know, very, very fortunate, I put in a ton of work, but I'm also very fortunate that I'm able to do this with a fair bit of impact fairly quickly, and with relative ease. The one other thing I would add to them is Dr. William Glasser, his work is helped me immeasurably, in that. He said, If you can give people the five things they need, you'll never have any trouble. And the five things that all people need is obviously first and foremost survival, which is why in schools, we have breakfast programs and lunch programs, and so on, because we were trying to help with all of that Maslow, Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
love and belonging. The reason that gangs exist is because it's a place where love and belonging can be got. The reason good classrooms exist, this is a place where love and belonging can be got, and so on. So, you know, we're social creatures we need that is power is number three, empower people give them power. What is you know, what, if we're teaching and learning, I have to be empowered to teach and learn and you think of, you know, Pink's autonomy, mastery and purpose, right? You have to have some empowerment, or are you Why am I here? I'm just going to be you know, batted around and told to, you know, write stuff down with the teacher, you know, regurgitate it. No, regurgitate it. Fourth is a freedom and the fifth is fun. If you can provide those for people. Why wouldn't they be in the environment with you, you know, unless they really need to be somewhere else. Right. So Those are the things that I have within me that at the very concentric base of me Ross like better, and I find them if you emanate from there, it works rather well. And it's actually kind of magic it really is kind of magic when when you get all that turned on and tuned in correctly,
Stuart Murray 20:22
Man, I couldn't agree with you more on all that being a scientist have experienced myself, I've certainly put a lot of that rubber to the road and have felt very similar interactions amplify with my students. And it makes me think also, I'd like to touch on the impact aspect after as we move into AI hub and some of the research you've done. But even prior to that makes me think of our mutual friend Chris Treadwell, who always said that the kid is a curriculum, you know, we we get caught up in these dictates and all these things. But teaching is inherently relational. And so if we're not building that deep connection, and that deep trust, out of all those things, that the processes that you were talking about, I think, lead to strong connection and strong trust, then we're missing the boat, if we're following some target that's been set out by a centralized organization, rather than the needs of that child arrayed in front of us, I think that becomes a tragic starting point for us in education.
Ross Leadbetter 21:26
It can be Yeah, and, and quite the opposite. If you're aware of that, or somehow, you know, you do, you know, created these skill sets to be able to, to bring children along on the journey of learning. Because when you're on a journey, every aspect of every moment is learning. But if you're just kind of delivers sequence content that is distilled, and separated from any process of learning or being together, I'm not sure what that is. But it's not learning. It's, it's it's a, it's a, it's a terrible form of teaching is what that is. And I think that some teachers are closer to that. So probably some teachers are just terrible, as in all professions, but more teachers, in my experience, and I've worked with a lot of teachers, I've done a lot of reviews, and so on and witness teaching. And I've learned so much from so many excellent teachers throughout my career, I think most teachers are much further towards the relational, and the excellent ones, get exactly what you're saying. They whether whether they could name it, or they just figured it out, like I mean, when I met you, you were a young teacher, who had figured out so much just implicitly. And so you know, so whatever, whatever gifts your teachers have given you, and your family and society and so on those, you know, you are able to quickly translate those into the graph. And, and that's why you accelerate so quickly. And so early. And you know, and you continue to build on that, as you, you know, as you even do this, like what a great idea is this forum that you're creating, to hear from and learn from others, because, you know, we're not involved in continuous learning and continuous improvement. Water gets stagnant pretty quick.
Stuart Murray 23:17
Absolutely. So at some point, speaking of continuous learning, you had mentioned you, you did your masters, and then you actually did your PhD, a fair space, you didn't go right into that right after the masters. Right. So you're later into the career, it was a very intentional, you want to talk a little bit about your process with a PhD and what you dove into there, and maybe even a few things you've gleaned from it.
Ross Leadbetter 23:42
Oh, boy. Yeah, sure. Yeah. So I think the Masters was really good to do early, at least it was for me. And I had already brought some life experience to that maybe not with the life experience, it might not to be as good an idea. But I knew I knew that we're going back almost 30 years now. I knew then that I was really interested in these systems, these processes that like what, what is this that creates excellence? What is this and now as a young man, I'd been involved in some really excellent sports teams, I was able to represent my province for a time in rugby, I was rated in Canada in racquetball used to be a really big thing. I don't even know if you can play it anymore. And so on and so on. So I was really fortunate to, you know, have already experienced so much excellence in it, like you say, in the arts, and so on. And so I was fairly deliberate with my masters. And I thought to myself, what is it that makes excellence and so I took actually business theory, and in a management theory, you can apply it to an excellent school. And of course, you have to prove what is an excellent school and that's why you write a master's because it's not easy to just say in one sentence, so And I found amazing direct correlation. So well then that influenced me becoming, you know, a leader throughout my career in terms of, you know, running, whether it was a committee in a school or, or like I say, you know, vice principal, Principal, district principal, you know, provincial learning specialists, and all these different types of leadership that were that were part of, and coaching, I did, coach 21 years straight while I was doing all of that. But then, so I get to the point, where I'm going to do my PhD, actually, a few lucky things happen. And some, you know, these coincidences are not whatever they are, and, but I got to this point of like, okay, I'm gonna literally take time out, and, and not you know, and drop this whole mantra of, Oh, you got to earn, you got to earn, you got to earn and say, No, I'm, I'm actually going to not bother with any of that. And I'm going to learn, and I think learning is a far bigger part of life than earning, although it's nice when it translates into some monetary and don't get me wrong. Money is useful, as long as you use it, right. So so I thought to myself, when I do my PhD, I want to really look at what is high performance? What are high performance teams? How do they continuously improve? You know, or Are any of these opposition's true? And is there a formula? Is there anything? Is there anything at all? So I took a few theories and brought them to my research. And I looked at high performing teams, and again, you have to prove what is high performance. And again, it's why you write a PhD, it takes a little while to prove. But I looked at a high performing team in an educational setting, I looked at a high performing team in a not for profit setting. Another one in a for profit, oil and gas company, international oil and gas company. And where did I get to I got the education, not for profit for profit.
Holy smokes, I'm blanking out on my fourth one, it'll come to me in just a second here. I'm more are more interested in the point that I'm trying to make. And that's why I'm forgetting it is that it occurred to me through asking people like the questions that I did, doing the research, going to the sites, virtually or in person. And I found that there are five, sort of major elements to all high performance in organizational culture. And, you know, those would be the first of all, it's a system. That's why I talk about systems all the time any, whether it's poor or great, it's a system. And then the next part is that, interestingly enough, all high performance teams are highly relational. And the iron that stuff out is doesn't just happen, you have to be deliberate. And then the next one is they have goals, and they have orientations towards objectives and completion. And they have impact measurements. And they have, you know, so you're able to study all, and they have well defined and well shared and well used processes. And then finally, the Institute learning and the conversion of knowledge to action, for high performance, right? So I think of it is you're going in a direction. And that's where you're trying to get there. That's the end that you're trying to get to. And then there's the relational you know, if it was a rocket or something, there's a relational fin that keeps you stable, and the process fin, and then the drive is learning. That's the engine. And or, in my case in my PhD was knowledge conversion, but essentially, it's like, how do you take learning and take it to action? Right. So that then, and I tell you what I spent five years looking at, I don't know how much research 1000s and 1000s of pieces of research, and pages of research. And there's not one thing that I can read anywhere that doesn't fit into one of those five areas. So I became 100% convinced of this, this way, because I mean, it wasn't I didn't make it up. I deduced it from the literature, right. But then I brought it to the fore and said, Well, there it is. And then I tried to disprove it over and over and over and over again. And then so did as an a PhD, so did many other people. But it survived. And so I'm now left with these five orientations and and they are basically you know, as the values that we talked about just a minute ago, became core to me, those orientations now are absolutely core to me, as well. And in the relational is the values.
Stuart Murray 29:38
Incredible. So after you finished your PhD, what was the next step you were in New Brunswick at this point? Was that the jump in what you do after that?
Ross Leadbetter 29:49
So just by the way, the other one was a government speaker speaking of this, it was a it was a tech group within government a high executive tech group so bad that I forgot them. Yeah, so the next thing that happened was just, I was just finishing up. And I was pretty sure that I was probably going to be a professor. Because of my teaching skills. I walked directly into the first year, and had one of my one of my professors, my supporting professors say to me, would you like to teach some courses? And I said, Yeah, absolutely. And so I taught, I taught courses in educational law and ethics and a couple other things around education, I taught some stuff in philosophy, it was really cool. And I liked it. And it was, it was, it's a different type of teaching, for sure. Definitely separate, it's sort of adult, definitely adult. But it's sort of like, quote, unquote, you know, the younger schooling, it isn't really neat in between, and, you know, you've got these intelligent, bright young minds that are really wanting to form something of themselves. And I really did enjoy that. But then I got this opportunity become a learning specialist for the province of New Brunswick. And, you know, going back to how I put myself through University, was by doing construction, you know, if you ever go to black hole on the coast of British Columbia, and you ride the jersey plane, I was part of the crew that built that if you go and I don't know why it's all about skiing, but if you go to, you know, the interior BC and Kamloops and you go to the hill there, it's changed its name. So I don't know, I can't remember what did they change the tune, I helped build the roads that lead to the various cabins and cottages and stuff like that. I did electrical stuff all through northern Alberta, and so on. So I say all of that to say that they were looking for somebody with a really good background in, you know, essentially trades, and who had the, you know, the experience and the pedagogy necessary to build curriculum. And so that was me. So it really was just a kind of a fluke. And so I walked right out of my PhD started working for the province of New Brunswick, as a learning special provincial learning specialists. And I developed is not it's a curriculum, but it's not I developed a structure that allows for the opportunity for students to prove their knowledge, their experiential knowledge in certain pathways, and we call it the Essential Skills achievement pathway. And, you know, so if your pathway is to become a welder, or a chef, or early childcare worker, at the beginning, it had nothing to do or very little to do with the university, but much more to do with college courses. I know that it's evolved since then, and it's all very positive. But that's where we started. And so I walked into that as a as my first role after finishing my PhD. And it was brilliant, because it just brought together everything that I had learned and everything that I was and, and I was able to immediately apply all of my research to, you know, to the setting. And to this, this curriculum. That also satisfied my value is like this, this whole notion of you know, all kids are brilliant, and you want to be a brilliant Carpenter, but you ain't no good at that. Chaucer's stuff for that Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare, but a lot of people don't deal with it. Right. Like, so let's, you know, so I've always thought give people what they need. Right back to Chris Treadwell, and, and wow, you've read really convert the curriculum so that it fits the child rather than than get the child to fit the curriculum. Yeah, that's what we were doing. And it was under Christian Mills tutelage that I did this. And then just to keep his name going, he was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Education at that time, and he's now retired. But him and I would have lunch together or meeting or whatever. We found that we got along. We knew each other before that, but we got along quite well. And we're both highly motivated towards changing the system of education, because it's a bit stilted. It's a lot stilted and it really damages teachers and students the way that it is stilted
you know, and again, teachers can get around some of the problems and if they're really good, they do a great job of that, but so many teachers are held back anyways, so Chris was looking for how can we get experiential, authentic experiential learning into schools to try to change the system and give teachers the opportunity to, to try different ways of teaching gets the students the opportunity to learn in different ways much more hands on so I was the perfect person now for this next part, which was to create a not for profit that that I literally came out of my job to be CEO of this not for profit organization supported by a cola, Atlantic Canadian opportunities agencies. supported by pedal. What does pedal stand for? Yeah, post secondary education mover. It's been a while I've been out of it for a few years here. And then the Department of Education EECD. And all supported so that I was in charge of creating really unique grants that teachers could get with a one page application might have been two by the time you signed it, but that was super easy, super straightforward, which I know you got benefited from and your students benefited from, that would allow teachers to think about teaching in a different way, much more hands on much more authentic, much more experiential, all of the things we know are what real learning is about. And there's an I will always make two distinctions, teaching learning to different things, and information and knowledge to different things. So anyways, without getting into that, yet, I was like, Hey, so what we take, so you want me to run this organization get, let me get this straight, where I get free money from all these places, obviously, I get paid to do this. And then I give free money up to all these across the province. And then I get to do research on that to see if this in fact works. I mean, and so we started a beautiful journey, and got in the first two years amazing, over 400 sets of research that supported this idea of authentic, relevant engagement, and how to do that and how to, and a lot of my, so I do that, and from obviously, all my years of experience as a teacher, but also I drew them from my PhD. And then I drew also from the Essential Skills achievement pathway, which was all about authentic, relevant education. So getting to be the CEO I have was what I thought was going to be the pinnacle of my career, and that I would do until I retire, enter scary music and tragic fall due to the malevolent misgivings of some really short sighted people. So I have went away, and we're in court, actually, to this day, because it was defunded by Pedal and EECD, the Department of Education in New Brunswick, specifically George Daley, and I guess, dominant Cardy to some degree as he's the top guy. But specifically George Daley, the deputy minister, he couldn't get Chris Treadwell to retire quick enough, couldn't get him out of the door quick enough, this highly esteemed highly esteemed across the world, honestly, across the world, he goes to the Dominican Republic to teach them how to run systems of schooling. Even now, in his retirement, he couldn't get them out the door fast enough. And after 31 years, they didn't even have a retirement party for him. So that kind of flavors, the shortsightedness and as I was a protege of sorts of Chris's and the DIS highly successful highly, and we have all the evidence to support 705 pages, by the way, in the courts of evidence to support highly effective system was was brought to, you know, you can't run it without the money was brought down by them actually, literally breaking the contracts in our second year. And just saying no, that's over. And so anyway, so it was a high high pinnacle, for me, but now you know, I move on and recreate and, and survive and all of that sort of stuff. It's
Stuart Murray 38:33
quite a it's quite a journey. I mean, meeting you when you started, I have transformed my journey as an educator, that's for sure. But I want to actually go back before we go forward, could you explain what it would look like for a student going through the Essential Skills pathway because I can I can attest as a teacher having been in the New Brunswick system, that program caught on like crazy across the province expanded very fast. And the success rate and the engagement rate was through the roof, which are, you know, metrics that we weren't seeing virtually in any other program in education in Brunswick. And even when a pandemic hit this program went on thriving. So could you just allude to what, you know, a high level pathway might look like for a student going through that just to get an idea of this other alternative curriculum you're talking about?
Ross Leadbetter 39:32
Yeah, well, absolutely. So when I was growing up, one of my father's really good friends was a man by the name of Don Ennis and he was a principal and he was a rugby player. And my father had been a professional rugby player in England and so was you know, he's older and wasn't playing anymore but he was coaching and helping out and so I grew up around the best sport that exists. Just little plug for rugby there. Been it's been a good game. I am And I remember Don saying to me are probably more so talking to my dad. But being around that rugby had kept so many students in school, and that he he was involved with as a principal and coaching and so on. And probably what inspired me to coach even when I was a principal, he was involved because it kept students in school that who otherwise would have dropped out not seeing the need for school or weren't engaged in school, I mean, around the world, even today, by the time we get to grade 12, only 34% of students are fully engaged in school. And that's worldwide. That's it, that's a New Brunswick, it's in Canada, it's in North Americans around the world. So that's a terrible statistic. What the heck happens when they're in kindergarten, they're 95% engaged. And part of the reason is, is because they think, Oh, my gosh, this is it, this is the best thing of play. I'm working with stuff in my hands now. And then we slowly move them away from all of that, and we go into this high, high level of abstraction, that for me, as a student was fine for you as a student was fine. But I remember thinking, I've got friends that aren't, this isn't working for them, you know, so what about them, and they're good people, and there's nothing wrong with them. So I remember hearing don say that, and thinking about that a lot. And as it became an educator, I thought to myself, I'm not leaving anyone out of this, there's, I'm not going to exclude students, it's really important to me that I find ways of reaching every single student. And then somewhere along the way, I ran across something that Einstein was purported to say, I think it was him, but you know, you know, who knows all that stuff. But the code is really good. It goes something like, you know, if we, if we view intelligence, by climbing trees, the monkey will always think himself smart, and the fish will think himself stupid. And so I thought, you know, I've used the metaphor inside my head, and I say it a fair bit. I wanted to create lakes for the fish and trees for the monkeys and stop there. I don't know what else holes, but the squirrels, who knows, I get the idea. So I thought when when I had the opportunity to create, essentially create this essential skills achievement pathway, I really brought that lens to it, like, what is it that is missing for certain students, as they get great candidates kind of the dropout years, we know, I always think it's grade nine, but they just do it in grade 10. And that's because of all this disengagement. Oh, and I'm stupid. And you know, and he's smart, and I'm stupid, and she's smart, and I'm stupid, and all that sort of stuff. And, you know, there's a subset of students that become covered by by their own thoughts, by their own, you know, self feedback, but also by society and family. And I thought to myself, I want to take that out, I get ticked that Governor out. So that brain can, you know, expand to the brilliance of this, I want to brilliant Carpenter, I want a brilliant mechanic, I want a brilliant, really child care worker. And they are. So let's start again, abusing them through education. And this is part of the stiltedness of education, and let's start providing an opportunity for all people to find their pathway. So what the Essential Skills achievement pathway was, and again, it's morphed just a little bit all very positive. The people that have taken it on after me nothing but great things to say about them. But as we started that grade 10, we started with those students who are going, I'm not sure that that pathway, and again, all of our educational system is geared towards University, though only 20% of students go there. So I don't know, let's get that figured out one of these decades or centuries, and I'm not sure that this is for me. What else do I do? Oh, I guess I'll drop out. Or I'll become a behavior problem. Or I'll you know, or how about, we treat you as really smart and say to you, you can go into these areas. And again, there's like, I don't know what there are now 30 pathways, but we started with probably think it was 16 comes to mind somewhere on there. But you get the idea. So
I kept on thinking about structures and condition structures and conditions, like curriculum itself is fine. As long as you know how to end one. That's, again, comes back to the skill of the teacher. But how can we create structures and conditions for a student to learn about math, let's say that wants to go into carpentry, but doesn't like math facts? Well, if you've ever done any carpentry, you know really quickly that if you're going to be any good at that you better be good at math, or welding or so many other. And so just as an example, we would create and I had two different partners, but so I was so I'll say we one of them went back to the school and then another one who's now doing it now continues on with it. So we would create these opportunities for students to be able to demonstrate their knowledge of, you know, basic area or this or that and we did that and so we created a way of doing this and I can't explain it exceptionally well in a short interview without some, you know, aids on the board and stuff like that. But um But we will create opportunities for them to be able to demonstrate. And so demonstrating was authentically demonstrating. So show me by building something, how about that, here's an idea. Show me by doing something physically, like, show me by so so we created a kind of a way of teaching. And again, I'm always suspect to using that word as a way for students to learn, and demonstrate their learning. And as we went through it, I said, I started looking at it going, Wait, there's a cycle here, there's something going on. And so the key elements of this cycle, which at first I called Alec, which was an acronym, the super the, you know, the parts of engagement and so on
an authentic learning and engagement cycle, I was able to teach that as a cycle after my 400, or thereabouts, pieces of research, we, you know, again, just like it did in my dissertation, I was able it probably because of my dissertation, I was able to distill this knowledge to a place where here's a model, this model is, you know, and I could give you literally easily six pages of just one after another statements from teachers saying, and that many, again, from students say, I can't believe how this this way of teaching and learning has improved my craft, it was so very scary, it was difficult, but the rewards were amazing. And the students going, Oh, my gosh, I was never going to finish school. But here I am, you know, the success of both teachers and students. Absolutely amazing. And so the cycle now is called a care. And it's a cycle of authentic, relevant engagement, and just, it just fit better for how the cycle works. But it's basically just, you've got to have, you know, some sort of inputs, so you have whatever the inputs are. And so it's, you know, learning to do certain things that are related to your pathway, or whatever. And we were really always really interested in global competencies, things like critical thinking, and cooperative learning, and so on. Because those are really important. employment skills are they're important as an entrepreneur, if you're going to, you know, run your own company, and so on, you need to be able to do all these things. So we made those inputs. And then we thought to ourselves, okay, how what would we work with the students? What would be the way that you could demonstrate that you've learned those inputs? And so they would think about, we would work together and work with the teachers think about how can an every single time it's just slightly different. But the thing is, it's really easy to do. So it's not not a hard thing. So basically, what are your inputs? What's the activity you're going to do to demonstrate those inputs or that you're going to do and how are you going to through that activity demonstrating. And then the only other part to make it a cycle is, the more the student understands that the more they are able to reflect on their own learning, which is the power, that's the huge bar, meta cognitive bar. And then the next level of power, is, if we all know that, then the teacher can provide really good feedback on the learning process, and on the outcomes and so on. So, you know, that's the short version of it. The The key, though, to this is, the activities are authentic, they're relevant to what they're doing. So I'm going to do, you know, as much as possible, but if I want to be a chef, and that's my pathway, I should do things related to my studies that are more chef like, not to say that you can always do that, but as much as possible. So they're authentic, they're relevant. And because of those two things, they're highly engaging. And if you're engaged, you're not a behavior problem. You actually think yourself smart. You have focus and volition and purpose, and you accomplish. And that's what we found this little bit of research and understanding that, again, that came out of New Brunswick from from this, you know, from this experiment, is supported in volumes of literature all around the world. It's not new, but it's sort of is unique for sure. And it's not well used, even though it's not new, you know, do we talked about that? Cole talked about, you know, the experience of learning and so on. So it's been around? Well, if we want to really be you know, and I looked at this in my PhD, if you want to be really real about this, how have How has the human species learned for millennia, through experience through them to relevant experience that you're engaged in, and you know, and if you raise the level of concern, and, and you're not going to eat if you don't learn how to hunt, or farm, you know, you get pretty good at it, and you're pretty engaged in it, that sort of thing. So, you know, we, the thing that we're doing in education was we think that we can distill and silo everything and then just because you know, and I also use this example and you've seen this before, but I go, you know, and I'll do this with intercourse, it'll say, okay, so this is the stuff we're going to learn what's in my cup here. Okay, good. I'm gonna give it to you. And then when I asked you give it back, and then I look in the carpeting a wall, aren't you Clever. So suddenly, with a really good memory, like me, I can get through all of my degrees, it was a little harder in my PhD, but certainly up through my master's with a lot of memory. And you know, and this is the case for so many people. So we make memory being smart, but memory is useful. But as doesn't mean you're smart. And so just because you can't give me back the conscience of the coffee cup doesn't mean you can't build a house, or fix my car, or do well with my kids as they're learning to be, you know, young, young people.
Stuart Murray 50:32
That's incredible. Ross, I know, again, when I connected with you through iHub, as it first launched, it changed my career. And I know many other educators across the province have said the same thing directly to me. And I've read through lots of the research around the impact stuff you've done, which is absolutely incredible about high performance cultures, the way learning really can and ought to be, and not not because of a dogmatic way, but because of the spark that you see within the children when they actually engage with it, which is really what it's all about at the end of the day. It's so much,
Ross Leadbetter 51:11
right, that's engagement, right? Without that spark, what is it? It's just mindless?
Stuart Murray 51:16
Yeah, and I appreciated what you've said before about engagement as it is the return on investment if engagement isn't there, and we're at 34%. And 34%, return on investment through through learning is, is a dismal state of affairs, in the world of education.
Ross Leadbetter 51:37
You know, if you use that as your ROI, we're at somewhere, like wasting $660 million in small province every year on education. And what I mean by wasting is, is is like you've just said, it's sort of like I liken it to spending 12 years together as a basketball team. And, you know, only 34% of the players really care about playing anymore. Wow. What were you doing to coach them or, you know, you've got this ensemble that plays music, and you know, only, you know, 66% of them are like, Now you play, I don't care. What the heck, you know, if I'm put if I want to be in high def, I want high performance, everybody's involved in high performance, you know, each to their own level. But high performance is about engagement. It's about Spark, it's about life, it's about putting oneself forward. But if you don't give somebody like I said about the Sprinter, if you don't give them the pathway, and the volition and the tools to move in their own way along that pathway, well, I get pretty bored too, when it's not like that for me. And you know, so to most people. It's contrary to how we actually learn. So why don't we just managed to put everything together and learn the way we do learn and will and you know, like Glasser said, then you can have, you know, the survival for sure. But you know, the love and belonging, the power, the freedom, the fun, you know, all of these, all of these elements that are necessary for us to feel fulfilled as a human being, all of that can come into line, it's not hard to do, it's really not hard to do, it's a bit of work, but it's not hard to do. And as you know, the return on investment of doing it properly, is nothing you could have ever imagined. It's when it's magic. It's it's like something else that just you just you didn't know could exist. And there it is, and it's achievable.
Stuart Murray 53:33
Truly, I remember, even when when we were testing out CARE last year and researching it actively, I didn't have to ask one student to leave my class the entire year, not one, you know, it's just not not a single behavior, problem, constant engagement. And these were young children who were coming up and creating their own projects. And I think that's that distinction to it. As you refer to the information trade, we're starting to talk about experiential learning and education, but too often are getting that confused with just doing an activity and the aspects around what you've elucidated with care, really take an activity to that knowledge conversion and developing a process I've been blown away, and having a systemic way to turn that activity into something that allows somebody to learn the essential ways of converting knowledge or an activity into wisdom into a learned experience that they can take with them, which is I'm seeing people all around the world right now. We've got access to computers and all of these things. And people lack either the volition or the actual ability to turn that information into a way that allows them to achieve their dreams or allows them to take that next step forward for themselves in life because they say, Oh, well, I must have to go pay for the schooling or go A to get some kind of piece of paper that will validate that and I can't help but think that's a product of the schooling environment that we've been raised in.
Ross Leadbetter 55:10
Well, you know, I think of a paramedic, you know, working with somebody who's hurt, and having to refer to a manual Walther, while they're trying to help this person doesn't sound very good. But that's essentially what we're creating. The, the paramedic learns through experience, how to take the book learning, and that's not unimportant, it's very important. But if it's not converted, like you say, converted to knowledge, and, and again, so like, you were just saying, this has access to reams and giga, whatever terabytes of information, it's not knowledge, it's somebody else's knowledge. If you're say reading something that somebody's really thought about, it's their knowledge. But until you take it in, use it, and it becomes part of you. It's not knowledge, it's just information. And that's where you said about what I call the information trade, right? I'll give you this information, you give it back, that's just that that's a silly trade, that means nothing. And the real sad thing is, is we have people completing degrees on the information trait. And that does not bode well when, you know, when you could just as easily have taken that highly intelligent person who actually cared to show up and do a degree and or, you know, finish grade 12, or grade 206, that they came with this intention of doing something with themselves, and you distill out this information trade, and don't allow them to walk away with knowledge, well, then, or don't create the conditions that support them acquiring knowledge or viewing themselves with knowledge, then I know why, really quickly, we have such low engagement. And then think about this steward ADP Research Institute went around the world 19 countries that you and I would know, in a second, you know, all in all, countries that we know the names of, and they have a lot of, you know, help them finance and education and jobs that we would you know, understand and know, because there's a lot of the world that I'll be quite frankly, I don't know and understand as well. But, you know, Australia and Britain and China and, you know, European countries and so on, the level of engagement at work is actually only 16%. full engagement. That's abysmal. And so it actually does prove that we are preparing people for work, because we take them from 95% of engagement, and then we drop them down to 34%. And then you get to work and you're down to 16. Great. Okay, we've done it. What is that? Yeah, it's it's really terrible. And it's only the structure is everything exists, all the remote raw material is there every single thing we need to have high engage, relevant learning, with no behavior problems, like you say, or on the job, high productivity is there, it doesn't cost any extra money except for us learning a way to do it. And, you know, I guess one of the things that I'm, I'm good at is seeing systems and then being able to distill up the core essences of systems. And so I can tell you that in what I'm doing now, high performance culture coaching, I'm working with owners, groups and CEOs, and I'm teaching them their use the word I'm helping them learn, it's so hard not to use that word. I'm helping to learn how to actually increase as one of the many things through positive culture, increasing engagement at work. So if you think about your workforce, 16% of them being fully engaged, what if you could just move like, another 10% to fully engaged, what type of return on investment is that? And it's a lot, a lot 1000s and 10s of 1000s of dollars, even in a small company. And again, if I've got the feedback to prove that this is highly effective, and so what is it, it's not magic, I'm not some magic creature, I just have managed to pull out and cared enough to pull up the research and put it into models. And then I'm able to actually facilitate others learning these these tools and techniques is really the simplest way to say, you know, that create high performance, productivity and healthy well being that's the other part of it. We're not going to feel good when we're disengaged. The mental health crisis is part of not having purpose and meaning and having our why. And so what I've learned is that, you know, that joyful well being is a huge part of high productivity. You look at some of the best performing teams and groups and bands and orchestras and so on, they're having a blast, but they're working their butts off, you know, and so there's we do really need to feel fulfilled that way as human beings.
Stuart Murray 1:00:01
Yeah, before we touch into the wrap up with the high performance culture, I want to put a bow on this education piece. And we as we've chatted before I, I think, and we've we've had many chats around this, that so much of the the ills in our day, you know, the the apathy, the inability to change the lack of personal values that underpin what we do this desire to work collaboratively to affect change that brings joy in in our lives and the lives of others. A lot of that, for me comes back to schooling, and this culture of conformity and compliance from an industrial process that was designed to fit a different age. And I think we've we've ripped on that lots in the past. But what is the why? What is the purpose of schooling? As we move forward?
Ross Leadbetter 1:00:59
Yeah, that's a that's a really good question that I think has different answers, depending on your perspective, I mean, you refer to the original reason for schooling was to create, essentially, it was standardized workers that could fit into these industrial systems, I don't think that's a really great reason for schooling, right. And then another one you would talk about is the wallets for economic viability. And yeah, we do use schooling to, you know, to have these specialized jobs and so on.
But that can't be the reason either, certainly, earning a living, and you know, the fact that our society is specialized to the place where I don't grow my own vegetables, or at least not as much as I need to live for the year, I do grow a little bit of vegetables. But the point being that our, that our society is specialized to the point where you have a dentist that knows nothing about growing vegetables, but can have a ski, chalet, and a second home, and so on, right? So great good for dentists that you know. And so, and we have all of these specialized opportunities for people, we have to have, if we're going to engage everyone, which it seems to me, if you're going to have a society or culture, within a school or within a society that is positive and pro social, then we've really got to be thinking about, I don't think that we can discount, creating the ability to earn. But I think that that's really an undertone of creating pro social, good citizens that are, and I think in today's day and age critical thinkers, that's just so important, because we have so much information around us that, you know, as being advertised to us as being this is the real thing, this is what you should think. And so if we don't have critical thinking, we're all doomed. So something about good citizenship, is the wife and I think about my, my, why I'm trying to, I essentially look at anything that I do for teaching, whether it be adults, or right down to, and I've taught K to 12 I don't know how catered for teachers do it, it's like, took everything out of me. They're beautiful people, these little children, but they're just really hard to deal with. But, you know, in our center taught adults, and I've taught University, and which, of course, is adults, but in that transition, and then, you know, and college courses, and anyways, just done it all. And for me, how I keep my passion and my spark alive, is I see myself as doing at least a couple or a few things. One being the, you know, when you if you take a vehicle, like a nice vehicle, like say, C 300, Mercedes, you know, and you put it on the highway and you go as fast as you can, not the you should do this. But somewhere up there, it'd be governed, and it can't go any higher, because it would be just too dangerous. Well, why they think 260 kilometres an hour isn't dangerous, I don't know. But anyways, is Governor, people tend to do that to themselves, their families do it to note, you're only this smart, Johnny's way smarter, you're only this and then we do it to ourselves self talk, right? So I think of myself as always, like, let's remove that damn thing, because you're all brilliant, in different ways. And so let's find out what that is. And I'm gonna be here to support you to find that that's your journey, right? And so once people feel, you know, and again, healthy well being, once people feel good about themselves, they can start to explore their actual capacities, right? So then I'm looking at how do you create a path for them to explore or a structure with that condition where they can explore the capacities and then what's our goal? And then how you know, and then let's talk about how we can walk towards that together. And again, it always comes back to if it's authentic and relevant. If it's experiential, if it's innovative, all of these things attract us as human beings and in You know, and we'll do better, we'll be better as, as a society, if people are feeling feeling fulfilled. And so I think that the purpose of education is to create healthy human beings who can be highly productive, and whatever they choose to be highly productive, whether that's growing vegetables, or, or, you know, being a physician, or whatever it is, anything that they want to do, they should want to excel at it, and we should help them do so. Because we know psychologically, that feeling as though you're excelling at something, it does create meaning for yourself in the industry purpose, and that becomes the why so, you know, and then if you're highly productive at something, I think the economics will take care of itself, right? There's a, there's a saying that I read once from, from India, that there are two goddesses, and I know it's a little bit framed. Anyways, this is the way the saying is, there's these two goddesses, and one is the goddess of money, and the other or affluence and so on, and the other is the goddess of knowledge. And if you pursue the goddess of knowledge, the goddess of money will become jealous and will follow you everywhere. I love that, because it it says, go after learning. And of course, that resonates with me, right? So, you know, going back to the very beginning of this interview, I did think about going in business. And you know, I have several people in my family have done well, in all sorts of different ways with around this notion of business. And I think that's fantastic. What I didn't understand then, that I understand much more about business is, if it's done well, it is about contribution, and the contribution of value to others. That's why you get the dollars, right? So, so knowledge and value and contribution they all work together to then you know, and then we can take care of our first set of needs, whether it be class or Maslow of survival. And that's what you know, money needs to be right. At least, and then you know, and then we're wherever you want to take it from there.
But, you know, I think if we looked at even economics a little bit more through this value, set and contribution, we'd all be a lot happier. And we we'd be very productive still as, as an economy and as a society. And again, it's just a matter of perspective and a matter of a bit of a way of doing things. There's nothing in what I've said in any of this, that costs any more money, or time. In fact, as you know, the systems that we've discovered through all of this research are way more effective than the the pedantic, old dogmatic systems of standing there. And you know, belching out facts that somebody regurgitates factors that, that, that isn't concrete learning or knowledge. So why even bother with that, but yet, somehow, it's the safest way to do things or something. There's something about it, and it all of those indicators, I talked about the six pages of, you know, these accolades for the system, not for me, for the system. There, they are, like, whoa, what you can do it this way. And it's way more powerful. And the students are, you know, and I'm more engaged as a teacher, as the students are, and so on. Yeah, it's all right there in front of us. But because somehow, these, these, this notion of standardization from reading the beginning of the formation of our system of education, as it exists today, got stuck, we come back to the standards and standards can only be reducible to the to the most basic four. So it can't read you. What are you testing? Yeah, that's the predicate knowledge. Sure. You remember to understand the stocks, that's important. But don't leave it there. For goodness sakes, if you can't apply and analyze and evaluate Great, then, then you don't have much, and society doesn't have much. And so I really believe that education is, could be healed really quickly and easily. By us getting a little less uptight about standards, and a lot more concerned about the type of human beings we want to cohabitate with, and that we want to, you know, well, more so for me, to carry us forward as we get older, right? I mean, you know, it's not, it's not right around the corner, but I'm looking a little closer towards the end that I am to the beginning of my life. And I'm hoping that, you know, we can get some things figured out and I still have hope, believe it or not, ridiculous as it might seem, some days, I still have hope. And I have a belief in the human spirit. And so yeah, that's a really long winded answer. Sorry.
Stuart Murray 1:09:33
No, that's, that's beautiful. Man. I look forward to the days where we stop hearing about these low math and in English test results and start hearing about how inspired and how aligned and how purposeful the individual actions and the collective actions of of our youth. We talked about building them as these future leaders like now, they're leaders now and we just need to create those conditions so that they can step up often be those change makers and do the things that we're not even doing as adults. So you've created a tremendous contribution in your time and education that is still causing ripples. Even when you're not, I can say that directly. Absolutely. And with the pivot that you've made, which is quite incredible from, you know, just having done so much profound work, and having a contract ended prematurely for no reason, because every KPI, every metric was blown out of the water. And this was attracting international attention from the work that you were doing. It was truly incredible. But your your pivot from that to going like Oh, rugs pulled out here was going to be that that final part of the career that cherry on top of a beautiful legacy that you've crafted, you've since pivoted and entered into the business world. And taking a lot of these learnings we've talked about to help businesses and other organizations create high performance cultures. And from what I've heard, having being around that directly, and what I've read in other aspects, it's already bring tremendous value to businesses. So could you offer a little bit of a elevator pitch as to that kind of work you're doing with businesses now, as you've made that pivot?
Ross Leadbetter 1:11:31
It's always with me, it better be a really tall building, because my elevator pitch. There seem to be that short. But, but if you think about everything we've been talking about, I think we can paraphrase down to at least a few core concepts. One of them being some sort of high performance or productivity or, you know, however you want to phrase that doing things well. And then the other Absolutely. Imperative corollary to that is some sort of joy or well being. And so you know, this, it basically can be, it's all about one type of health, right? So I thought to myself, what is it? Yeah, after this ridiculous fiasco of, you know, just removing funding, and I didn't say, by the way, I mentioned that there were three organizations that were on board, Atlantic Canadian opportunities, agency, ACOA, was gracious, and, and did everything they could to help us, they helped us longer than probably they should have, should have to survive. When cattle and the EECD pulled out, they were the ones that broke the contract, those contracts made the opportunity for a color to help us. So I want to remove them from any type of, you know, disparaging. And I'm not even gonna spend much time disparaging just to say what I've already said, because I had to come through that it was really, it was really tough, I gotta tell you, it took a bit. And it was really hard. Luckily, I got lots of really good support. So you know, I had to think, Okay, well, what's my next gig, I got a job going to go up north, and teach up there, which I kind of would like to have done. And we've made a lot of money doing that. And I actually ended up turning it down, because I know there's, well, my wife and I thought, there's there's other opportunities. And that's not, you know, that's a pretty hard situation, I'm on a seven acre, you know, mini farm here, and my wife works full time. And she's going to operate everything while I'm up there. So no, that wasn't gonna work. And then I got offered another job. And I turned that down as well, because I'm really, really interested in what am I? What am I pretty good at high performing, helping people understand high performance and well being? And then is there value in that, right? It's great if you're really good at something. But you know, if I'm good at running the machine, doesn't not much call for it, and you're not going to make any money doing so. So I thought, does that match anything that organizations need. And after doing my own research, and partly through my PhD, and even my master's, I kind of knew that there is a value to this contribution of teaching people how to do this. And then like, you know, teach them how to fish, not just give them a fish sort of thing. So I thought, well, what if I could make a program that I could take professional stream managers and leaders within an organization, a team or organization that would help them understand all of this stuff we've been talking about? So certainly the learning part, but if you go back to my original model, help them understand that everything is a system, which it is that systems have ends that they need to achieve, and that's, you know, the productivity goals and so on. I mean, we that's the I want to offer value to them. That's the quote unquote, the HARD goals right? And then the soft skills, how do you deal with the relational, the relationship between people and all of the things to do with conflict and values, and meaning and purpose and all that I've created a program that takes care of how to achieve the ends, how to do the relational, how to standardize and recognize good processes, and understand the impact of processes, like right now, so that I can understand if what I'm doing has an impact, that sort of thing. And then, of course, back to the driver. That's the rocket that I was talking about before I basically taken everything and made it into something that I hoped. And then I've now realized, and I'm getting, you know, really good feedback for this with I've taken about several organizations through this now. It's still early, but it's working really well.
It is a contribution, and it is a valuable contribution. And and the last part of it being the learning the driver, the engines, right? So how do we learn together? Through you know, so what it is I made, I made of a program, eight sessions are an app on Zoom. And that was another thing that I got to learn how to use zoom in I hated it at first and now love it. And and how do we work together talk together dialogue, how do we build the space to have dialogue and dialectic so that we can all learn together and I learned every single time how to influence and use leverage in the culture of an organization or team team is part of an organization. So both to reach high performance and this healthy well being. And I got eight sections hour and a half, they a little bit of work in between, it's valuable. And then the second part of it if the organization wants it is I work with them for six weeks is that actually, so I call the first part learning in micro testing. And then the second part is implementation. And so there's seven steps implementation. So it kind of is in two phases. But if we want to create knowledge, you have to have spaced repetition, you have to have, you know, all of these different things you and I know the buzzwords for, and then you have to apply it in a very specific way in order for it to work. And so yeah, I made the pivot. And, and again, the pivot can't be done just because it's something I like, or I'm good at, or I'm passionate about it is all those things, but it has to have value for you know, the consumer, and the consumer being management groups, CEOs, owner groups, you know, these are the these are the people I've been working with, in various in, in everything from education, to physiotherapy, to accounting practices, and so on national trucking company, and so on. And so on that I'm going to reiterate, still got a few floors left on the elevator, that HPCC So high performance culture coaching is a program. It's an experiential learning program. So it took everything. And here we are. And it provides value, which is the most important part, otherwise, nobody's gonna buy it. And yeah, and that's where I actually am today. That's where I sit right now. And I use this seat, this chair, this room and influence organizations to find to find their value and purpose as they try to expand markets, increase profit, increase quality, whatever it has to be. Yeah, so it's, interestingly enough, this is now the pinnacle of my career.
Stuart Murray 1:18:29
That's incredible. And I've seen a lot of that and had worked with you and know that there's incredible value there. And having even just reading through the comments of the organizations that you've already worked with is, is absolutely incredible. And you listen to these leaders, it's like this is the essence of, of any great business has to be true to these cores, or at some some place you're going to suffer, whether you know, it's going to feel like you're you're losing energy at some level of that. So if an organization or an individual one to find you to learn more about the high performance culture stuff, where would they find you?
Ross Leadbetter 1:19:09
Probably Rossleadbetter22@gmail.com That's, that's a fine place to start for today, where we are on this video or 506-461-6128. That's that's where I'm at right now. I'm just working with a couple of people to develop that much further. But as of this conversation, that's the best way to reach me and hopefully that'll well that will develop and be a little bit more. This is the other thing I'm finding it has so much value that I don't have any time to kind of build the back end because people are going oh my gosh, yes, we need that. I want to I'm doing one group a second time in the same organization because the owner of the organization found it's so valuable for the first set of managers to He wants me to do it with another set. So yeah, so it's a bit of a I'm sprinting along, but also trying to clean up behind myself. And so yeah, so that's, that's how you get a hold of me right now or are very, very doctor.
Stuart Murray 1:20:15
Yeah, I'll be I'll be able to link all that in the show notes and, and direct anybody there I mean, it's a beautiful thing, right? If you're, if you start to launch something and you can barely keep up with it, you know, you know, you're onto something for sure. Right. So to finish it off, what is your big vision to help move humanity forward and feel free to pick a slice of the pie, but take a stab at it
Unknown Speaker 1:20:38
we spend a lot of time at work in a school, most of our lives, right for most of us. So my big vision is is to, if we can improve the culture of both of those places, and, and do it like, not easily but without any extra, you know, to do it in a way that is just fundamentally logical. Like we've been talking about laying Oh, that to me, would mean a lot to me as an individual, I think it means a lot to other individuals to feel as though they have purpose and productivity and they feel joyful, and they belong when they have mental well being. That means a lot to their families when they go home from work, or they go home from school, and so on, and they start to lose their community. So that's my bit, I think, if we could, all of us, you know, so that's my, that's, that's the value I'm trying to contribute. And I think if all of us to just be a little bit more compassionate, honest, respectful, responsible, and fair, we'd all do better. And if we just took the time, to create spaces to disagree with one another, but do so in a respectful, honest, and so on way, I think that that would be my that is my great hope and vision for all of humanity. As far as to its opposite to me, Stuart, it's as the people are, who are just leading quote, unquote, ordinary lives, that are the ones that have to do this, we can't expect the ultra wealthy or the or the billionaires or intermediary with the elite class or governments. To do this for us, we have to do the work. So you know, this is my biggest thing is get out there, be active, be proactive, do so with integrity. And we have always been the ones that have made the changes in the way our world operates. And we can do so now. And we can do so again. And we will do so into the future. And if we don't take it up, we're going to become mechanized automatons who live and toil in a neoliberal a society that has nothing other than a profit motive and no conscience. And again, that's that's not even trying to be mean. That's just the way it's constructed. We can do better. And so my vision is to take my gifts and my work and my toil in the ways that I've described and I hope everybody else would take a moment to talk to a neighbor and to hold some space to be responsible to bring your values to the fore so that we can all find our way. I want it for me, I want it for my family. I want it for my grand kids. I want it for everybody. A little emotional, but that's that's that's why you get up in the morning
Stuart Murray 1:23:25
I've got goosebumps. I think that's the perfect place to cap that on. Thank you for your time, Ross. Absolutely.
Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed this show with my friend and mentor Dr. Ross lead better. Once again, a big thank you to our sponsor, Karen Phytoplankton and to stay up to date on new promos, events, etc. Sign up for our newsletter at connected movement.ca You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And you can also find me on Facebook and YouTube at the connected movement. Thanks again and see you next Monday.