#DBC50Summer 12/50: How Much Water Do We Have?

Up to this point, all 11 books I have read as part of #DBC50Summer have been based on educational theory, practices, and/or pedagogy.  All of them have inspired/motivated me in some way, taught me something new, and/or repurposed something I already did.

Book 12 is very different from the traditional Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc book.  The book is still very conversational, and I still received a great deal of information while reading.  This book is not an “educational” book in the sense of professional development.  In my opinion, How Much Water Do We Have? by Pete Nunweiler with contributions from his wife, Kris Nunweiler is a personal development book with themes that apply in every facet of life, including education.


Throughout this very short book (only 85 pages), Pete shares 5 principles that will help us figure out the answer to success.  The first 1/3 of the book is a narration of a spontaneous trip to Ramsay Cascade that Pete and his wife, Kris, took together while on an anniversary trip.  Then, Pete shares his 5 principles of creating success (one principle per chapter) and relates it back to the story of the 8 mile roundtrip hike to the waterfall, as well as in the real world.

Even though this book is not your “typical” DBC book, it is still full of great information and is very well-written.  The title of the book was so confusing to me, but once I read the first bit of the introduction, I could see the metaphor that Pete was trying to accomplish.  He explicitly states the metaphor later in the book, as written below.

“Water is a metaphor for all the things that an individual or an organization needs when faced with some type of change or new initiative…Just like water is essential for your physical wellness, information, planning, motivation, support, and leadership are required to ensure that any initiative is successful.” ~Pete Nunweiler

The 5 Waters, as Pete describes them, are

  • Information – Ask the right questions. Get accurate answers from the best sources.  Share that information with the right people at the right time. (Who, What, Where, When, and Why – Ask WHY repeatedly! Know your why!)
  • Planning –  If you fail to plan, plan to fail. (Who, What, Where, When, and Why to create the plan, and HOW to formulate the plan)
  • Motivation – We all do things for our own reasons.  Find out the right reasons for those you lead.  There are no “bad reasons”, but there are “wrong reasons”.  Motivation drives our actions.
  • Support – Encourage others and develop an understanding of how others feel.  Everyone is responsible for recognizing and offering support!
  • Leadership – Are you a manager or a leader?

There were multiple tweet-able quotes within these pages, and after reading each one, I would prepare to tweet it, then stop every time!  Why?  No one would have understood it without the metaphor and the nearly 30 page story of the trip to the waterfall.  So while several quotes were impactful to me, such as “bring a pair of dry socks”, it may not mean anything to the Twitter-verse without reading this book.

The biggest takeaway I got from this book comes from the Leadership section.  Within this chapter, Pete talks about the difference between being a manager and being a leader.  He discusses that “leaders don’t always hold titles and those with titles aren’t always leaders.”  That’s a “preach it” moment if I’ve ever heard one.  Even though the book isn’t “educational,” this idea applies to all avenues of life.  I have worked FOR principals and I have worked WITH principals.  It is a substantial difference in culture with just the change of one word.  Pete gives us two questions to consider… “Who do you receive direction from?” and “Who makes you truly want to come to work every day?”  The answer to the first typically has a title, but the answer for the second is the real leader.  For me… the real leaders are my students.  Let that sink in for a minute. That’s some deep stuff to get from a “non-educational” book, right?

Pete says the following things about leaders and leadership.  Pete’s words are perfect as is, so no paraphrasing here. Not Today! (You just said that in Michelle Dobyne’s voice, didn’t you? HAHA)

“Having a title is not leadership.  Managing or supervising are not the same as leaders, not does providing direction equate to leadership.”

“Leadership is a character trait, which is why the greatest strategy an organization can implement is to promote proven leaders into titled positions…When people with positive leadership characteristics are given positional roles, they can accomplish great things.”

“Businesses are managed; people are led.”

Finally, when I wear the hat of instructional coach, I frequently hear teachers say, “But I’m just a teacher. I’m not a leader; I’m not the principal. I can’t <insert thing here>.” This comes up when we discuss shifting the school culture, mentoring other teachers, sharing at staff meetings or district level workshops, etc.  Do you really want to know who your leaders are?  If you’re actually a leader?  Pete gives us four questions to identify who the leaders are in an organization.

Who do others go to… for information? To hear a plan? For a voice of reason to help them through the day? When they need support?

Identify who these people are in your school.  Those. Are. Your. Leaders.  Is it you?  It very likely is!  You are a teacher leader.  You’re not “just” a teacher! Give yourself credit for being the leader that you are!

So my intentional action from the 12th book…figure out how much water we have. When a new initiative is coming, it has a higher likelihood of success if the entire staff has these five basic principles covered.  Without even one of these 5 Waters, the initiative could quickly fail.  Make sure everyone has enough water!

As this isn’t really an “educational” book, there isn’t quite the Twitter community surrounding this book.  You can find older tweets through the hashtag #5Waters.  Pete has published two other books, and you can find his website here.  His photography is stunning and can be seen here.  As always, the Flipgrid is open for responses with password DBCSummer.  Because the book is a bit different, the prompt is a bit different.  Check it out and respond!  I think you’ll find it helpful! (Thank you, Andrea, for the incredible idea of a global book study and the think tank that utilizing Flipgrid provides us! Go follow her #DBC50Summer journey, too!)

This short read was exactly what I needed at this point in #DBC50Summer.  It’s funny because as you read, Pete asks you to identify a current challenge you are working through, that you want to be successful in implementing.  The entire time I read, my challenge was completing this challenge.  So now, I’m ready to push forward and hop into Lucky #13!!!!  Are you ready to Play Like A Pirate?!  I read this book a couple years ago, and cannot wait to reread it and share with you! GI Joe, Barbie, Trading Cards, and Lego bricks are coming your way very soon!


4 thoughts on “#DBC50Summer 12/50: How Much Water Do We Have?

  1. Pingback: #DBC50Summer 13/50: Play Like A Pirate | AliciaRay.com

  2. Pingback: #DBC50Summer Book 11-20 Recap | AliciaRay.com

  3. Pingback: #DBC50Summer: The Wild Card | AliciaRay.com

  4. Pingback: #DBC50Summer 35/50: The Wild Card | AliciaRay.com

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