Why Principles are like Entrepreneurs

A comparison I’d never have made without this conversation with my Dad.

By: Paul Hickey, Founder / Lead Strategist – Data Driven Design | VP, Digital Strategy – SnapShot Interactive

Testing out some new amazing technology via an app called Anchor.fm, I was able to get my first podcast up and running recently, and deciding to interview my amazing father, Dan Hickey (@hickeygroup) for some 41+ years of perspective on leadership, coaching and education. Dan is the founder and CEO of Hickey Leadership Group, LLC, and has more than 33 years of experience as an administrator and instructor in Rochester Community Schools in Michigan.

I knew it would be an amazing interview. What I didn’t know is that is that we’d draw many parallels between the business world / entrepreneurship and being a principal.

The entire interview can be listened to below, and a transcription is available upon scrolling down, but here are some of the highlights/topics:

  • Why principles need coaching
  • How principles are like small business owners/entrepreneurs
  • Issues in Education Today
  • Why Colleges and the Educational world has to pay attention to entrepreneurs like Adam Braun of MissionU
  • What staying true to yourself means and how to do it
  • Mentorship and influencers

Any feedback is welcome. We want to hear from you. Email me at phickey@nooffseason.com.

Click for full Anchor Transcription

all right I think we’ve got our first ever guest
on the line
this is the episode one
of the Paul Hickey podcast
and very very honored to have
one of my favorite people in the world
Daniel Hickey my father also known as
DPH also known as chuckles
on the line to a
the talk today chuckles how’s it going
really good good to hear your voice and this year
you know we’re up here in Michigan and you’re
down in Tennessee we miss you and taking the grand
kids and
looking forward to seeing you here
in a couple of weeks
I know we’ve got a family vacation plans for a
few days in Cincinnati about halfway between us
yeah our kids are looking forward to it I’m pumped
to see you and if you and I think this podcast
maybe maybe you could be a regular gas I don’t
know who we were talking about this yesterday
acting like who knows who will listen but
if it gives us more of a reason the time I think
we there’s we get in some cadences where we were
we started talking every day or at least a few
times a week in the next some weeks that go by
we’re both so busy and and that sort of thing
but maybe this will give us more of
a reason to talk and it’s really cool
we’re kind of talking before the show about
basically allowing people to do their own podcast
within within the iOS or android app is pretty
amazing but
yeah so we’re going to try some different things
today episode one we’re going to try to do some
different segments and mainly I just thought it’d
be interesting to talk to you about your your
career you know you and I had a quick conversation
a couple months ago and I was like Hey if you
really cool if we figured out a way to like write
a book together and I think we’re that came with
that comment came from for me was like around
tweeting a lot about leadership and mo and like
kind of more motivating leaders in the educational
world to be basically to be good leaders
I don’t know that I have ever
set out and like wanted to be a leader but I think
the like throughout my entire life I just kind
of naturally become one whether it be like on
on a sports team or in business or whatever and
I’ve gone through phases where in business where
I’m just taking taking tasks from people and

not really leading anything and then I’ve gone
into situations like now in my career where I’m
leading a small team and leading a bunch of different
projects and so I think
when I think of you I think I think of
a leader and when I think of a leader I think
of you and so I was just wondering if maybe you
start by giving us an overview of your career
and sort of how you’ve gotten to where you are
now with the with your business Hickey leadership
group which I think you and you can correct me
if I’m wrong but I think it’s been
almost eight eight years or so seven or eight
yes they don’t like that the eight zero zero nine
eight years
yeah well
wow Paul out of try not to
going too long but and tried as really
streamline my background I I was an education
for thirty three years and still
I’m working with educators but that
I was a classroom teacher for thirteen years and
ran for twenty years I was on a building
level administrators starting out as a
assistant principal and then was pretty
small of a middle school here in Rochester
community schools Rochester hills Michigan Hartono
school and I was sent a principal for seven and
a half years and then had the I’m
just incredible fortune to take on the challenge
of opening a brand new high school and so in two
thousand two
we hope and Stoney creek high school
and I did eight year Sterrett and Stoney creek
seven and a half a year or so that
was really the responsibility you
know as a classroom teacher was certainly chats
learn about instruction and and try to collaborate
fellow teachers in an environment
that really is isolating you know you don’t have
a lot of time to sit down and and talk with colleagues
because every fifty five minutes kids are getting
up and moving and you have a new class and and
and at the elementary level
you have a self contained classroom between twenty
and thirty kids all day long and so there’s very
limited opportunities to sit down and collaborate
so as a building principal
you know you you are managing the building and
you are really motivating teachers
to be positive torture your your vision that they
know exactly where we’re headed
and but but you’re really involved
and evaluations and management chain you know
your evaluations touches the instruction and so
on what I’m getting at is in retirement from that
position is where I realized that building a level
leaders building level administrators do not really
stand a lot of time or her given time or are are
provided professional development opportunities
in jest leadership
and you know for instance the high
score I would say that we had a hundred teachers
and probably another fifty I’m support staff
and then you had another layer of support staff
so you may have had
you know over two hundred other adults that are
working in that building and
as a as a principal I’m kind of just
falling into leadership strategies leadership
techniques and so on and many times referred back
to as a teacher I also was a varsity basketball
coach you know a lot of my leadership and someone
came from koce
so in my new work in Haiti leadership group which
is a consulting firm
very small firm a lot of the night
Rall is around talking to building
leaders about how are they leading people
how are they trending in terms of their building
and then of course we do talk about
management instruction and someone leadership
is something that I really bring to
the table in terms of discussing because
it makes a difference makes a positive difference
in the outcome hopefully for student learning
and just you know I’m developing a
positive working environment for all that are
part of that learning community
talking with Dan Hickey my amazing father at taking
group on Twitter great over view of
your career and are you just hit on a bunch of
different things that I want to ask you about
this is exactly how I knew this would go so
outstanding stuff so far
one thing I think that you and mom and I always
kind of laughed at is like if we were watching
a TV show like the the portrayal of like the principal
or the teacher was like pretty negative like a
cartoon or like you know in pop culture was a
town like really really negative and really like
or just kind of like dom almost and
and like the the students could kind of always
trick teacher or whatever and so I
think like that
it’s like you know kind of the opposite of like
what you always were like and I guess what I mean
by that is
I think you at least from my perspective and I
never went to a school I never actually attended
a school that you were ever at as a student but
experience growing up with you
as an educator in a leader and stuff
was always around like you really going the extra
mile to
get to know your students and get to know your
staff and your fellow whether it be your fellow
teachers are your or your your staff when you
were a principal or a printable and like it that
always kind of resonated with me is like extra
or above and beyond and I think like I guess what
I’m wondering if you could talk about is like
what is the job of a of a principal really like
I don’t think people really understand I don’t
even think
the average adult
understand what the job of the principal is or
should be or whatever because you just kind of
give me your take on like what is the print what
is the job description of a principal and then
maybe even verses
what extra curricular stuff should have printable
be doing that maybe they don’t even that’s not
even in the job description
wow that’s one that’s a great question
I’m you know I’m a building principal is
you know they were said incredible job description
and most most districts I work with principals
and assistant principals and some central office
people in seventeen different school districts
in the tri county area of Detroit and you know
it if I were to pull out the job description on
the building principal it would be three pages
it it it antiseptic in a real catch
all position you know you you really and truthfully
are the epitome of the middle manager you know
you are
you have your central office that is on top of
you you have your your building level teachers
and staff members and support staff right there
then you have
your your students that are so important and then
you have step parents community then you have
the business community and you are really right
in the middle of that you do make
a lot of decisions for your building but as time
has gone on and there is more state
guidelines and federal guidelines for the special
way depending on the state and which you live
there legislation and legislators have become
so prevalent in really top down and
a lot of
requirements and a lot of testing
and and responsibilities that are put upon
buildings so right now there is that
shrieking autonomy and and shrinking I’m kind
of individual ability to to do a lot of things
as a principal so you’re that first while you’re
there mental manager gonna say this call
when I first was applying for jobs and ministration
people would say don’t mention management issue
see you talk about being an instructional leader
and what I realized in my work over the years
and now working with so many incredibly talented
people is that that management and instructional
leadership just goes hand in hand
it’s it’s it it’s integrated so it’s not it’s
not only about making sure that the
environment is safe for kids and everyone that
is there on it you know running fire drills and
and things like that kind of your basic management
but when you’re in a high school I’m seventeen
hundred kids you have that amount of people moving
around so your management your organization your
communication skills here scheduling and that’s
all in the area of management and when you mess
up management it impacts instruction
meaning if if I’m constantly changing out a schedule
our weekly schedule and teachers may have guest
speakers coming out or maybe doing a group project
with another classroom or whatever and you switch
hours around that’s going to impact instruction
they now are going to have to cancel that or they’re
going to have to John Starks or whatever so
that’s the example Justin a quick example of how
management when you are not on top of those things
can impact instruction therefore they integrate
and then I would say that
you know I I I was always taught by incredible
mentors to principles that I worked with and I
think that’s an important statement you know I
always wanted to be a principal that I that people
worked with me they didn’t work for me and I was
lucky enough to have principles that I worked
with them and that’s you know I I
the staff members there and and my colleagues
and so on we were treated with respect and we’re
allowed to give opinions and and someone and
such very important that a principal sets the
tone that that we’re working with our staff and
and lastly Paul and there’s so much to that that
and I’m trying not to ramble but
the the the issue of management and instruction
and now you add leadership skills you and being
intentional and acting with intentionality
when you address those leadership skills you will
enhance the management of the building in the
community and you will enhance the instructional
that gives you you know kind of a quick overview
to what a building principal desk you know it’s
it’s a small business you know the
when when you’re talking about over
two thousand people under one roof at a at a good
size high school you know that is a legitimate
size based business and then it fits
into a larger school districts so there you have
you know greater responsibility to communicate
you know up and down and you know the school district
so there’s a lot to be in the building principal
chat just showing up and and you know I think
that there are to be an effective principal it
is a physical job and it is a demanding job because
of all of those three components management instruction
and then leadership
yeah I mean that is
some amazing stuff in there and they that’s basically
forty one years of of experience and
to get that perspective that you have right I
mean that’s like that’s a lot that’s really good
that’s really amazing perspective on on what that
job description is and I think like I don’t know
my keep take away there are well to keep take
one being like the middle the middle management
is so true the way that you broke
that down where you you’re like you’re between
the district
and you got your building and then you’ve got
the district and like basically the community
so you’re like in between your sandwiched in between
those and you got to answer to a lot of different
people and like you kind of talked about
working with
your your staff and and not your staff
working for you but you basically work for your
staff and like it and my
my greatest influencers
like people that I know like you and and other
you know solid bosses that I’ve had in the past
or solid co workers that I have had our partners
or whatever all kind of in their own way subscribe
to that and then in my influences that I’ve never
met like you know people like people that I read
and and listen to and stuff like that
subscribe to that and I think the other the other
cool thing that you mentioned that I just now
realized is like
that job description and really what it is
not only is it like three pages long but then
it’s like all the other stuff that you just described
which is really
it’s really cool but it’s also really intense
I feel like what it is is it’s like you have to
you’re running your own business like you said
and so people that run their own business are
entrepreneurs they’re people that have created
their own business and IT but they’ve made the
conscious decision
to do that and then they’ve gone through like
the pains the the victories the ups and downs
of being an entrepreneur and like it can be lonely
and it can be exciting and they can and like all
the stuff and they’re working long hours but they’re
reaping the benefits of it I don’t know this is
quick for me when I was listening to you I don’t
know that like when you go to school to be a teacher
and you like you basically are on the track in
order to be a principal you basically have to
you have to go to school to get a certain set
of degree and you have to you have to be a teacher
then you have to kind of ride the ranks to be
a principal for the most part and so I don’t know
that you’re thinking you’re not on the on something
or you’ll track like the entrepreneurial track
is something completely different than the educational
track and so I can imagine some of these principles
you meet with now you’re sitting down with them
and you’re like holy crap this person is now in
a world that they didn’t even like they didn’t
realize they were getting into this world is that
like ever true
that’s really a good point on I think it’s just
that third component of leadership and

you know they they
the track to being an administrator issue to learn
your instruction and what makes a good lasts and
then how do we engage students and that’s so important
and and you you had experience as a classroom
teacher and we need to stay active on that because
as you evaluate teachers you have to stay up on
you know different instructional strategies
and and you know the brain research and all of
the things that go on you know in Oakland county
Michigan a big thing is run rich charge work making
thinking visible so turn administrator in Oakland
county and several of the neighboring districts
you’re doing a lot of work and attending workshops
and and really learning what are the techniques
of the bat
and so they you have that you have
more of an opportunity and then in terms of management
you’re talking with other colleagues about
time schedules and how do we move kids and what
a long shot worse luck like weirder the bosses
pick you up and you know the management aspect
of of that in your calendar that’s going to optimize
student learning and and and that kind of thing
you get trained you pick up your your you you
learn about that but the the third aspect that
I never got a lot of training on and and
and really is becoming new in the
five to six years since since I retired and moved
into our
is this idea of leadership
and acting with intentionality and you know now
you have educators you know I’m I’m I’m on
plus Parker or whatever and and I’m you know one
of my one of my boxes leadership poor productivity
or whatever so you know I’m reading stuff from
a can entrepreneur or and all sorts
of different magazines and and
you know those things that are produced out there
listening to podcasts and sharing those kinds
of things like today I’m just read an article
on the ten secrets to being a good boss you know
educators would never look at that kind of stuff
and now we are and that’s that’s the
eye opener for me so you’re right you know it’s
a different past and now when you talk about leadership
there there’s kind of some hope that we can enhance
our practices in schools as an organization so
great yeah I think it’s important and I don’t
know I mean I think like part of me thinks that
you’re leading some of the charges in your own
community because you believe in it and people
respect you and you’ve got you know you had thirty
three years of experience before you started now
you’ve got forty one and
just like impossible not to to pay attention to
you especially when you’re sitting down having
kind of a one on one conversation with principals
and administrators like you do in your consulting
business but I mean I hope I hope that what you’re
saying is happening because I know that like
the following it from the other perspective like
the type of people like my perspective is more
from the entrepreneurial side of the bed or the
like the business side and I know like what we’re
looking for like I just hired an employee I don’t
even know where she went to college like I I her
first day of her first day of her job at the now
what did you go to college again
and that and so like I say look you know we’re
looking at experience and and different
trades within a person and and like
that just the tests that are happening before
before offering someone a job really
aren’t aren’t as in line I don’t think with like
you know the decades and decades of like what
I grew up with I mean I grew up with like you’ve
got to have a college degree and you’ve got to
be on this track to get a good job and I just
my own actions along with
what again what I’m so what I’m reading what I’m
picking up on and like you mentioned like ink
an entrepreneur and some of the other magazines
and like there’s even this one because even the
job the job search website called
the ladders that has a great lake
email blasted links to their blood
they have some great articles on like
how to be you know like how to be a good boss
like those types of things it’s just it’s great
the educational world is aligning with some of
that stuff
I’d be curious
if you know about and if you don’t
like could be something that you would wanna just
kind of give me your take on for for a future
podcast with us but there’s this company
called mission you
that is basically like an alternative to college

where it’s just a completely different business
models for profit but it’s it where
it’s where
you have to apply to get and obviously there’s
a limited number five you do not have to pay
for your education but they train you on how to
go work for one of the top companies that are
their partners and I know some of their partners
are like uber and Google and Amazon and some of
the top tech companies and in the in the world
and the promises that you pay them back during
your career they take a percentage of your salary
for the first

I don’t know three to five years or something
like that and that’s how you pay for your education
so it’s not like this is not like that college
loan words compounding interest and hard to pay
off and stuff like that and so and they’re looking
they’re looking for
like the
the opposite kind of person that would want to
go to like an Ivy League school so it’s just it’s
really interesting that like the world is actually
starting to show us that way and so I think that
what they’re trying to do is like these entrepreneurs
are basically kind of like break the system so
that the educational system in America has to
follow suit if like if if people if students want
to get jobs that these companies that everybody
wants a job that
they’re going to have like changes are going to
have to be made and and so I just kind of interesting
but I’m getting off on a rant now I want to go
back to what you said about coaching because I
your you mentioned being a good coach and I think
that that is something that like I always think
about that I always think about coaching I think
coaching is an amazing analogy the business I
know that there are a lot of coaches that do business
talk you know they get paid to go
around the country and do business tops and there’s
a lot of athletes that you know that
we make a second career out of like you know making
connection between sports and business and stuff
like that and so there’s obviously the connection
between being a teacher and a leader in being
a coach and so
one thing is I’m trying to get to a question here
but feel free to just comment on any of this I
guess one of the
you mentioned to me one once upon a time that
when you were a young coach you were very different
than when you
hi we’re a more experienced coach and so
what maybe just talk about that like I’m just
kind of interested in hearing your perspective
about like
what do you what it’s like when you don’t have
that much experience and then what and then that’s
kind of how you grow as a coach or as a leader
when you have more experience
I I think Paul
I think back to those times tonight for me and
maybe for some of the listeners out there

I was really
impressionable you know like it back when I was
a young coach Bobby knight was
just an outstanding coach at Indiana maybe reason
it’s like third or fourth year or whatever at
Indiana and
and and so you you watch how people coach that
are successful and as a younger person and like
most of us we we tend to want to be like somebody
else we wanna take on their traits we want to
you know if Bobby knight was this demanding and
and holler are in this and that and and you know
you go to coaching clinics and you hear him speak
and others speak and and you
try to be light to them and I think the same thing
happens and I’m certainly the profession that
I’ve been in for the last forty years is
you know back when I was a younger teacher
some of them are your waiters principles or eighties
would encourage you to go sit in another teacher’s
classroom and the idea was maybe you could be
more life to them
that really doesn’t work very well and and you
know fast forward
forty years or thirty years or whatever
the research on what makes a good teacher is not
just a personality or trying to be
like somebody else there’s no there’s no perfect
DNA for an outstanding teacher and
I believe it’s the same thing as an outstanding
culture an outstanding you know the work that
you’re doing Paul you know you do there’s no just
one way of doing it you you be yourself you focus
on your strengths
and you try not to be somebody that you are not
you can pick up some ideas and encouragements
and scales and try them out for you and see if
they work
you know what I’ve learned over the years as I
can be like Bobby knight I can’t be like coach
K. I can’t be coach warden I can’t you know I
can’t be Tom is all right you know so I’ve got
to be the end hockey and and that’s the same thing
as I work with
principles and so on yes
they know what their challenges our I don’t
you know I’m not living with him every day they
know what the culture is and so when we’re sitting
down and have a coaching needing
it’s really about listening from my point of view
and also sharing some ideas or you know letting
them know Hey I’m not an expert in this
and you certainly don’t have to you
don’t be like me or do maybe something that I
but let me throw this out and just see how that
fits for you

it’s really funny Paul when when I talk to people
right now and they say well what if you’ve been
doing and I said well I’m in a I’m a consultant
with shaky leadership group and and
I end up just meeting with us building
level administrators and district administrators
and their teams and so on and it’s kind of a coaching
session and people in business will say to me
why did they need coach
it’s really interesting
how when you’re in a leadership role all there
is a lot of loneliness when you are the lead learner
I’m not community there’s nobody else that is
at that same allowable under that roof and it
can be extremely alone like and if you are in
a building where you have a team assistant principals
dean’s interventionist whatever so
your your administrative team as a little bit
there are things that you can share with that
team and Eric things that you can’t because you’re
a valuation all those people
and I think that’s than the eye opener as I talk
to people that are outside of education and don’t
understand why would anybody in education need
it’s just that it’s that there are wonderful people
that are in school districts that are of value
waiting people but as soon as you are evaluating
people you’re no longer in a coaching situation
and so my bro is really to not have a judgment
and I was reading an article about
how a couple of weeks ago and they called it a
judgment free zone I think the author of that
was combined Berkowitz and miners
and and
I think it was for quite some miners I’m sorry
Myers I’m sorry but it really spoke to me because
it is about kind of
to paraphrase or whatever your coaching in a judgment
free cell
yes I’m a value eighty and why I have just incredible
respect for superintendents an assistant superintendents
and you know former colleagues of mine that are
now in those roles I just
admire them so much they would be great
but there are value waiting dollars principles
or their own values
they they’re not coaching
position and so for me it’s about
that judgment free zone it’s developing trust
it is not a value waiting them but really encouraging
them to take rest encouraging them to enhance
their practices so when when when you talk about
being impressionable
you know and trying to be like somebody else so
we’re we’re I am now I don’t want anybody to be
like me and have you know my experiences or whatever
it it it really is about sharing some things listening
and really encouraging them to be themselves
and it in and to enhance their practices maybe
using some suggestions or ideas that that others
have use
but not trying to be a Bobby knight or not trying
to be rather Marzano or rich to for whatever Yakko
yeah I think you’re absolutely right I think that
the minute you try to be somebody else then it’s
an authentic and I think you people can pick up
on that right so like I try to be right cognizant
of the same thing where like I want to be Gary
because I love the guy and I’m obsessed with them
right now but I know that like I’m not hand and
the minute I try to be him I’m like totally somebody
and it’s then it would be like super obvious to
everybody that I’m being in often well you end
up although you’re a fact attractiveness yeah
and you know what it John Maxwell says you know
leadership is about influence and what we want
to do is positively and have a positive influence
on those people in our lives and those people
in our profession professional lives you know
it and and when we’re not authentic what we’re
not respectful when we are to geology
we end up our influence is not as
yeah absolutely and I think what’s interesting
is I think you and I have the same perspective
on this and I want to get back to a question that
I have for you
that you made me think of but real quick
my thought on this is like you can use and now
I’m thinking like introspective Lee about us like
we can use our influencers
to motivate us like like you could have you Bobby
knight like young Dan Hickey could have you Bobby
knight or
like your brother Brian like Tom Watson
or whoever right like could you use that person
to motivate them
and that’s what I’m doing with Gerry V. right
now like it is lonely so if I’m if I’m like in
a space where
I need to be
pushed or or coached or whatever like you can
get that mentor ship from from one of your
one of the people that you want to
be like but then instead of instead of being like
them you just use them to
motivate you and become the best version of yourself
so that when you have to go back and I think like
and I think I don’t know if you’ve ever use this
with me but
I think you probably would probably resonate with
you like I think of the business world as like
the the playing field or the or the court like
well it’s like it’s it’s game time basically like
there’s this sort of like
me when I’m preparing for the game and then there’s
like me in the game and so when I’m when I’m like
getting in the game meaning on in front of someone
that’s kind of when I can use like this motivation
you know like the Ervin Magic Johnson
the the world or
you know the Thomas because of the world are Gary
V. or whoever to kind of like pushed me to
to be that the the the version of me that I want
to be but not trying to be so I think that was
a really cool point that you had on and then but
I want to ask you like
tennis kind of code to be in a valley like you
kind of you kind of hit on the thing in education
right now where it’s hard to be it sounded like
what you were saying is and let me know if I got
this wrong but it’s not only for your kind of
thing is
you’re the coach in your role right now is taking
a leadership group and not totally makes sense
to me and I think like our point about an entrepreneur
being very similar to a principal probably would
would be the answer to your your friend to say
well why do they need what do they need a coach
but like can I can the person evaluating them
be their coach it sounds like what you’re saying
is like right now the climate of the educational
world like the superintendent or the superintendent’s
who’s a value waiting the principal like camp
to be either coach because they’re they’re a value
in or is that kind of what you’re saying
right it in you know it can happen
and it probably does have to happen

but you know when your superintendent on the school
district you’re the district’s coach
you know when you’re the deputy superintendent
and you have twenty three principles and a large
district or PM seven principles your that groups
but individually to have somebody
the vulnerable for instance when I was when I’m
being evaluated when I was a prince among being
evaluated if I was having a problem in one particular
I had to really be secure or to use my boss my
my value waiter my supervisor
I had to be extremely confident to be completely
vulnerable with them
because I was exposing something that maybe I
wasn’t doing well
and that that
you know maybe I could get gain down valuation

we have more and more people in education
that are losing their jobs
you know just
however a valuation is that are poor
and just new superintendents coming in and just
wanting their own people you know I guess the
the business perception of education is that G.
shoot you know once you get that job you never
get out of that well
maybe years and years and years ago that was like
that but you know in the last ten to twelve years
actually change so most administrative positions
near is now
ten year or no security in Najaf piranha two year
contract and it kind of revolves every
year you might get you know if you get a good
evaluation you’ll get an extension to another
year but you don’t have a lifetime position so
you’ve got more and more
people in in these positions that can be very
vulnerable and really get games for some things
that they really don’t have control over
so I’m I guess beyond sounds like the business
world and the actor exactly on but I so that’s
why education has to change and I guess what I’m
saying Paul is from a Burke awaits and and Myers
in that article I I guess it’s
it’s trying to
or support the work that I’m the only
that and what Haiti leadership group is doing
that those people you know individuals
that are in these leadership roles can now receive
some coaching and and and they have a place where
they can go that’s judgment free
and hopefully our work at Haiti leadership or
is enhancing their practice there they’re going
to get better and therefore they’re not putting
themselves in a doll vulnerable spot
not that anything’s really major but
it’s just you have to be able to have somebody
that you can go to
in a judgment free zone to really get real
it’s hard yeah I think later
yeah that’s brilliant and I think so what you’ve
done with your business you you thirty three years
of experience and you can ask yourself when you
and I was that year
retirement party when you retired
from Stoney creek in I think two thousand
and eight or nine two thousand nine it was the
summer of two thousand and nine because I remember
Max our son was was born right after
that in Kate and I came up and Kate was pregnant
with maks put on
that party was incredible it was it
was it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before
it was definitely this
incredible emotional phon sort of nod to you as
like one of the really one of the best people
ever to and I’m not just saying that because you’re
my dad like really one of the best people ever
in like southeastern Michigan and educational
education world thirty three Naveen virus or at
a party I’m not biased or anything but I mean
just the people that came out in the stories I
mean like Rick
anyone whoever gets a retirement party like that
seriously that’s like it was clear to me that
and like I have the perspective on this now I
didn’t really at the time but now I’m thinking
back to that and I’m thinking you the way you
acted throughout your career led up to that moment
because it was all these people who had these
little moments with you that they want to share
and it was just incredible so but segueing into
what you did next I think it’s really cool that
you use all of that experience and all of those
moments that obviously stuck with you throughout
all those years to say Hey where’s the gap now
and where how can I create it wasn’t like
it’s clear to me now more than ever eight years
later that when you started your consulting business
it wasn’t like this is what Dan Hickey wants to
do and damned if you can afford this upon the
world because
Dan Hickey has this reputation it was
how it was where are the gap
and how can I Dan Hickey go in and help
help fill the gap or where’s the where’s the you
know the other thing is like
challenging solution or however you want to phrase
that it’s like where’s the gap and how can I fill
the gap and I think that’s what you that’s what
takes the leadership group has the ball throughout
the years as and I think that is a lesson like
I just wanna say I speak to so many
one thing that I am fortunate up in my career
is like I get the opportunity to hear about so
many people businesses just like one on one from
them it’s usually in a
it’s usually in a pre sale like they’re not my
client yet it’s a presale sort of consulting talk
about like well how would you like they’re interviewing
me in terms of like how I would help their business
if they were that they were to hire me to help
their business grow but like what’s really cool
about it to me is like I just had to sit there
and listen to someone else about someone else’s
business and so I get so through that experience
I’ve found that there are unfortunately a lot
of people that are they have this idea and they
kind of want a horse that idea into the world
and then it’s like how can how can you help me
do this and I think the best businesses than the
ones like yours were it’s like I have the skills
that I want to figure out where the gap is where
the problem is in the world and then kind of and
then go from there so I think that’s
awesome and
I know we talked about so we’ll have
we’ll have like five to ten minutes
left here and I know we talked about breaking
the something to separate segments but I think
this is the first time I’ve used the anchor technology
I’m a little bit leery I wanna I wanna wrap up
the podcast with the one call like we’ve done
on the interview and then gave the anchor technology
time to like see if they just records all of it
and then I feel like if I if I break it up in
the segment separate segments and then try to
make another call right away that I just don’t
know about that yet so I’m going to ask a few
more questions
more around
like how you’re using technology now so my first
question along this line in I guess what we’ll
call the segment to
it’ll be it’ll be like a shorter maybe maybe ten
minute segment is that and then we’ll wrap up
how do you get what you want to like you’re constantly
quoting these leaders that you know you’re reading
about what technology are you using take to like
feeding your appetite for this information like
what are you how are you getting what what do
you do like when you wake up what do you looking
at how are you getting all this information into
your brain
do don’t park you I want you to hang
on to their question I’m getting answer but I
want to back up I want to listeners to know
segueing from retiring from my high school principal
to Hickey leadership group I would love to take
credit for the fact that I found the gap and the
gap was coaching administrators
but I have done always my whole life so fortunate
to be around incredible people credible
mentors and someone and that the year before I
retired I NatWest somebody Leri Thomas who is
at our intermediate and
and I’m
intermediate school district a county wide school
district here in Michigan and we had talked and
he is a former colleague of mine from Rochester
squall since we were talking about work that I
could be doing and he said there is a lot of work
coming and we’re doing something called coaching
we’re going to provide coaching for
people that come to some of our county wide workshops
and you’d be a real natural for that nice and
all while that sounds good I had no idea what
that meant or anything and then
mine that I retired June of two thousand nine
at leadership from the eighty S. C. D. had leadership
is a monthly magazine that comes up comes out
the cover story was coaching for administrators
and sell my tiny was so impactful
you’re making this move now sense and you know
I’ve I’ve had to you know do a lot of things and
stuff but boy I I would love to be able to take
credit that I knew what that gap wise and strategically
this is where I grew nope it’s just so happened
that somebody and recognize some skills that I
had from you know being out of a colleague of
jazz and the timing of of publicizing that said
that kind of a new movement are lined up really
well with with my retirement tensed and transition
into the work I’m doing now now I won that race
that’s great I mean thanks yeah I’m glad you back
backed up and sure that because I didn’t
it’s interesting that
that is the key to it also write like it’s not
I think you’re right it’s not just like Hey you
I’m going to find the gap is like a lot of times
the gap come to you like I think it comes to like
you you ask the question puleri Thomas and you
you know
it was new information for you at the time and
yet but then you you listen to his answer and
then you were paying attention to the landscape
and it was good and I do think timing is there
there’s a little bit of
lock in it but I I think it I don’t know that
it’s lost so much as it is this kind of like paying
attention to the landscape and
and then like what when you see the opportunity
like you can go create something for that thing
and that the time nothing was like coaching for
educators or whatever you didn’t know what it
think I can I think I can do something with this
and it all it all just kind of continued to
the play out and be your store I just called in
your your technology question that was so interesting
because I think back of all right
instructional technology people at
Stoney creek and so on that had to hold my hand
just about on everything you know Sir you know
David child custody turn out on a laptop any turnout
is done whatever but I’ve always had
interest I don’t think I’m I I like I see you
know I use a lot of technology now but I still
what kind myself as just kind of average added
I don’t
I don’t think I’m I’m this incredible person with
technology it is becoming it has become more and
more like a pencil all you know just taking notes
on everything is is probably ninety eight percent
use of
PC iPad phone whatever but I think
that’s it you know I’d like to think that that’s
no different than a lot of people but with a lot
of the people that I work with
you know they they they use their basic technology

you know we need to grow we need to do more and
and why our educators say they’ve really taken
out of lead in that in that area but for me I
I try to be intentional in my practice so I might
be working with sixty five different people all
through the tri county area and when I wake up
in the morning I try to have a goal
all I do have a glow of
I use Twitter that’s my
main so some some some social media
harm that it that I use and and after that I use

and through that platform I try to send out two
or three tweets every morning and I try to be
intentional thinking about the people that I work
with and I’m so I you know I changed a lot of
things you know I I I I now I’m using quite often
on the tweaks Monday thought from
Mars on all our Monday sought from Berkowitz or
whatever and then I’ll have a quote but it’ll
really be targeting some
colleagues that I know maybe working and that
sort in this area you know
I’m I’m right now I’m I’m really reminding people
about how humbling this position is how how tough
it is how how much and how to lead with humility
and so on so I’ll find quotes or or use some of
my thoughts and
you know the two or three tweets that are sent
out on a particular day it may be around humility
that kind of thing
but I also you just sorry good
more recently I’ve gotten back in touch with what
park so I’ll do that and then I will open up flip
parking and go to you know kind of my own personal
magazines and and and you know some of the time
that the topics that I have in my magazines I’m
just opening it up you know I have education I
have social media and productivity I am leadership
I have apps mindfulness
teaching technology

and then you know I am a college basketball PGA
tour golf to soak but I’ll hop on the ocean and
look through and see if something resonates and
if something resonates I will save it to safari
or save it directly to either my note
apple or ever now and then during the day when
I have gaps in between appointments or whatever
I’ll go to ever nods and hold up that are to call
and you know off ever now you can mail it to people
or even text it to people so I mean mail it to
our principal or assistant supermarket west or
whatever and just say Hey this a cool article
or I may pull out some quotes from that article
all and
you know certainly there credit to the author
and send that out to people and say Hey I just
found this article you don’t have time to read
dashed here’s a couple of culture paragraph from
Latin you may want to use it at a staff meeting
or something like that so I’m doing some of the
changes that on people in the Max that are you
know I’m not right in the middle of that they
just don’t have time to to do that nor should
they have time to do that they should be working
with our people you know so I try to
provide just some some
guidance or or just some ideas or a quote that
maybe they could use at a staff meeting where
people could talk about the quality or whatever
so then that’s kind of my flow right now it really
is you know putting out a couple of tweaks
looking at Flipboard saving them to different
platforms or apps and then you know
sending them out to people are saving them for
a one on one and sending that late night before
a one on one to look at and maybe we’ll talk about
that high at a one on one
hello this incredible and I just want to make
the point I want to make a few points here I’m
going to get on my soapbox for a couple minutes
I listen to businesses all the time that asked
me basically
what I get asked all the time is how do we grow
our business
and I’m looking at the business and it’s successful
they have they have a goal they want to generate
extra money leads every month or they wanna
Jenner generate axis X. percentage in sales increases
every month or whatever it is and the thing I
tell them all the time
before we get started on the work is we’re gonna
help you identify your target audience
we’re gonna build content that going to resonate
with your target audience we’re going to put that
in front of your target audience where they are
right and that’s that’s basically what you’ve
been doing you’ve been on
and I was going to use Twitter as an example I
know you’re doing it in a bunch of other areas
but Twitter you’ve been on Twitter for
eight years you have ten thousand nine hundred
and seventy six tweets
you are following one thousand one hundred ninety
two people on Twitter you build up
a following of twenty six hundred followers I
know you’re very proud of that we kind of make
fun of you from time to time in the family because
you’re so proud of that but I think the point
that I want to make is because these businesses
that I work with all the time are so frustrated
by social media they don’t see the immediate return
on investment they don’t they’re not able to allocate
resources to it they basically make up all these
saying that it doesn’t work it doesn’t provide
immediate return on investment or immediate sales
or or this that and the other and I just want
to make a point that like what you just described
is a lot of work
you’ve built up twenty six hundred followers which
doesn’t probably doesn’t seem like a large number
to a lot of people but when I go around and compare
that number
what I can what I know is that one hundred percent
of those followers are engaged with you
it is a larger number than a lot of businesses
that I mean you’re a one man show
right now and I know you’ve had some employees
that have helped you out and stuff but pretty
much you’re driving this thing and you’re doing
exactly what all businesses need to do even like
five hundred person companies that want to grow
their revenue
you’re doing what they need to be doing on social
media that they’re not doing and they have five
six seven eight person marketing department they
can hire a firm like mine to do a forum and they’re
still debating whether or not to do it and you’re
just doing it
and to me it’s just it’s the perfect example of
how to connect with your audience and I the point
couple points I want to make is you’re tweeting
sometimes three four five times a day you never
I’m looking at your Twitter account right now
you never go more than I mean you tweet at least
once every day and so the reason I’m saying all
this is because these are the questions I get
asked what’s the formula how do we do it how do
like how do we make this work let me just ask
you this would you say that this is help your
business would you say that the two three hours
a day throughout the day that you’re working on
on Twitter as a as a communication channel like
would you say it’s helped your business
yes but
for me Paul more importantly where
I’m at in my career and so on
I you know I I want it to not only help the business
and and make sure that I got good relationships
with people and they still
CL I’m relevent and I can be a resource
center support I wanted to help other people so
I would say ninety nine percent of my tweets are
real intentional and they’re they’re targeting
people without
calling him out or with you know they’re there
encouraging somebody specific that I know are
going through out of you know an issue or need
a focus on
and take so yes how my business because it’s something
I can refer people to and encourage others to
use Twitter and and so on and that’s really happened
we’ve got a lot of us are personals and building
level people and teachers just outstanding people
that are using Twitter an appropriate way
you know social media when you talk around schools
there’s the issues of of can behavior and and
other behavior that that causes many people in
schools to kind of shy away from social media
but this is an example of how social media can
be helpful and so many people be for
me you know I I feel like I’m small
potatoes we have so many educators and Twitter
across the country that have hundreds of thousands
of followers that and have really set up nice
professional learning networks for all of us to
learn so it has helped my business but hopefully
it’s helping others
yep that’s great
basically you’ve averaged four tweet today for
the last eight years that you know that but
and then the include those include include tweets
and re tweets and replies and all that stuff and
that’s just
I don’t know that is the formula basically is
is my point so I’m I’m really glad you brought
that down and down
my main man I love you I got it we got to wrap
up here but thank you so much for your time I
hope that hope the tanker technology
works because we’ve got an hour in two minutes
and some amazing stuff here and I love you tons
and I hope to do this again
lucky to Paul and got so proud of you in the work
you’re doing and dad just wish you continued success
as you’re building a triple date and
thank you for giving me this opportunity
and love to do it again sometime
sounds great hockey
all right on in book
hope to do this again soon everybody they thanks
for those of you that have taken the time to listen

Paul Hickey has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.