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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 3/25/24 - Can you learn to be a better leader from a whale?

Can you learn to be a better leader from a whale?


Whales communicate, collaborate and cooperate in remarkable ways.  Humans working with whales have learned you can’t make them do things.  Instead, you have to focus on three things:


  • Build trust

  • Accentuate the positive

  • Redirect negative behavior

In Whale Done!, author and leadership guru Ken Blanchard suggests using the same approach when working with humans.  He posits that building trust, accentuating the positive and redirecting the negative are the best tools to increase learning and productivity.  

He advises avoiding “GOTcha", catching people doing things wrong, and, instead, using "Whale Done!", catching people doing things right.  More about the author:

Alaska Native cultures use stories of whales working together to keep open water from freezing over so they can breathe, to teach the value of cooperation.  Keeping the Lead Open is a terrific example of the importance of cooperation and collaboration.  Researchers have documented whales working together when hunting, showing empathy, teaching off-spring and maintaining close family relationships.


Definitely whale done.  😊


In February we featured our newest NSIP Board member, Jennifer Stapleton, in the SamTastic Weekly Tip.  We’ll feature each of the other Board members over the next six weeks.  Today, meet Dave Sechler, below.

Dave Sechler, Board Member


Dave has spent nearly 5 decades in education, first as a high school vocational teacher and then as a high school assistant principal and middle school principal. After retiring from public education he worked for the University of Delaware doing teacher and administrator staff development.

He was elected to his local school board and served for a year as the president of the Delaware School Boards Association. He has taught in teacher and administrator preparation programs at Wilmington University (Delaware) and the University of Delaware, and currently teaches a diversity course for pre-service teachers at the University of Delaware.


Dave has worked with and for NSIP/SAM as a Time Change Coach, Time Change Coach Mentor, Implementation Specialist. He has been a member of the NSIP Board of Directors since 2011.


In his NSIP/SAM work, Dave is passionate about helping principals discover that their management tasks are manageable and that they can focus on what they love and what they’re best at: instruction. He loves the gleam he sees in a principal’s eyes when the principal realizes that the SAM process works and will help the principal and everyone associated with the school to be more successful.

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