Communication across [Virtual] Teams

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A Harvard Business Review “Management Tip of the Day” titled “Communication Tips for Global Virtual Teams” highlights five needs for success in virtual teams:

Live and breathe your email and make sure the team does too

Give the benefit of the doubt

Overcommunicate

Be intentionally positive

Offer suggestions, not critiques

The Tip is from Paul Berry, Founder and CEO of RebelMouse. We think this Tip translates to educational systems where employees span across divisions and buildings.

Tip for Leaders:

Model Behavior with Status Updates. When teams and leaders across departments and divisions / buildings have a chance to meet in person, we have opportunities to update each other. When we don’t meet, each of us has the responsibility to update individuals part of their team on their projects. For example, when working away from your teammates / colleagues, send status updates to the team. In these updates, specifically address “what’s working well” and “what barriers exist” that the team can engage in a dialogue about.

Reflect: Ask teammates to think about the following and then engage them in a discussion about “what good communication looks like.”

What does good communication look like for me and my work?

One might argue this is not so much about “virtual teams” as it is about teams in general. For sure! Whether we are working in the office or virtually, it is critical that our team focuses on clearly communicating what we intend.

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Harvard Business Review. (10.30.2014). “Communication Tips for Global Virtual Teams.” The Management Tip of the Day accessed at https://hbr.org/2014/10/communication-tips-for-global-virtual-teams.

Studer Education partners with education systems to achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement and success, employee engagement, support services, financial efficiencies and productivity. We coach and support leaders to create great place to work, learn, and achieve. teach, students with a great place to learn, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com.

As a new @TeacherReady #teacher candidate, I hope to…

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One way teachers engage students across their individual classrooms at the beginning of a school year is by collaborating to create a Class Mission Statement. The Mission Statement activity is an opportunity:

for teachers to get to know his/her students and begin building a relationship with each of them. This is because students share and exchange ideas that personalize the classroom mission to themselves. [People]

to synthesize individual comments received and build into a collective message. [Academic Achievement]

to define behavioral and academic expectations and associated actions to help the learning community align the behavior to achieve. [People, Quality]

to establish a safe learning environment. [Operations, People]

Our newest class of TeacherReady teacher candidates which began Orientation yesterday are now engaged in the Mission Statement activity. As part of the activity we ask them to reflect on what they hope to learn and to think about what they think will be most helpful to them as a first year teacher. Here are a few of their responses:

I hope to learn how to successfully organize a classroom, create a curriculum and best engage my students in their own learning.

I hope to use the information that I gain as I matriculate through this program coupled with what I learned in college to mold me into a successful and inspiring teacher.

The most important thing I want to learn is how to reach each student individually, to ensure that no student is overlooked.

I hope to learn how to design engaging lesson plans in a way to make students think critically about what they are learning and to encourage them to explore their own learning styles.

I believe the most important thing to learn through this program is how to communicate to the students the importance of education.

I hope to learn how to be an amazing teacher. An amazing teacher knows how and when to push students to go that extra mile, knows when to let up, understands the mind set of his/her students and caters to their learning needs.

It’s been several years since I first stepped into a high school and middle school classroom for the first time. The responses of these new teacher candidates—the hope, the energy, and the enthusiasm in their messages—serves as a great reminder of the “why” we become educators and leaders in education. It’s about creating great classrooms for students to learn, feel successful, and achieve.

TeacherReadyHuron

 

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TeacherReady® is state approved and is the Educator Preparation Institute of the NCATE accredited Professional Education Unit at the University of West Florida. Upon completion of TeacherReady, individuals earn a professional teaching certificate from the State of Florida. For more information, connect with Mandy or Jack via email at TeacherReady@StuderEducation.com.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Executive #Leaders are Role Models

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DirectionIn a blog from our Studer Group archives on senior leader rounding, Quint Studer, the Founder of Studer Group, promotes that the chief executive needs to “round” on senior leaders the same way he/she wants these leaders and leaders at all levels to round on their direct reports. Effective leader rounding occurs when leaders personally connect with employees to:

1) show care and concern for a person;

2) gather information to improve work processes; and

3) gather opportunities to reward and recognize people who have been helpful to others.

A key action by leaders is “follow-up” – communicate ways processes have been improved to the entire organization and gain a double win by recognizing that someone else recognized an employee for being helpful.

Tip for Leaders: As the chief executive, personally connect with your direct reports by “rounding” on them. Keep it simple. Begin by asking, “What’s working well?” “Where are there opportunities for improvement?” “Who in your division deserves recognition for the great work they’re doing?”

Reflect: Think about the rounding responses you receive. These cascade up to you, as the chief executive. How will you communicate the information gathered? How will you recognize the employees mentioned? Do you model the behavior you want others to exhibit?

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Dr. Janet Pilcher is Executive Leader and Founder of Studer Education, a division of Studer Group, ranked for seven straight years on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Connect with Dr. Pilcher on LinkedIn and Twitter @janetpilcher. For more Leadership Tips by our coaches, visit our website blog at http://studereducation.com/blogs/leadership-tips.

Studer Education partners with education systems to achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement and success, employee engagement, support services, financial efficiencies and productivity. We coach and support leaders to create great place to work, learn, and achieve. teach, students with a great place to learn, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is

Model and Build a #Culture of Continuous Improvement to Unify

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Continuous improvement is a cultural value that can UNIFY an organization states George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente (Harvard Business Review, July-August 2013). From his experience he finds leaders must create a work environment reinforcing continuous improvement which means creating a place where people:

1. see how small improvements add up to making big differences
2. are passionate about their work and feel good when results occur
3. gain confidence in each other to achieve and succeed

Model and build a culture of continuous improvement to unify your colleagues and unify your organization.

Tip for Leaders: Promote a culture of continuous improvement by setting well communicated measurable goals and expectations and showing transparent progress to everyone in the organization. Model the behaviors that “we are all in this together” and “excellence takes everyone achieving results.”

Reflect: How will you engage colleagues to identify areas working well and those needing attention? Once identified, how will you and engage this same group or others to create a game plan for improvement?

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Halvorson, George C. (July-August 2013). The Culture to Cultivate. Harvard Business Review. Available online at https://hbr.org/2013/07/the-culture-to-cultivate.

Dr. Janet Pilcher is Executive Leader and Founder of Studer Education, a division of Studer Group, ranked for seven straight years on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Connect with Dr. Pilcher on LinkedIn and Twitter @janetpilcher. For more Leadership Tips by our coaches, visit our website blog at http://studereducation.com/blogs/leadership-tips.

Studer Education partners with education systems to achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement and success, employee engagement, support services, financial efficiencies and productivity. We coach and support leaders to create great place to work, learn, and achieve. teach, students with a great place to learn, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is

Tips from @BaldrigeProgram Award-Winning #Education Organizations

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Many education systems are writing their state-level quality program applications at this time. We think the tips in this post might be helpful. The post is reprinted in its entirety courtesy of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, Gaithersburg, MD, http://www.nist.gov/baldrige and author Christine Schaefer. Posted as “Tips from Baldrige Award-Winning Education Organizations” on by Christine Schaefer.

BlogrigeThe following have been compiled from interviews of presenters at the Baldrige Program’s 26th Annual Quest for Excellence® conference.

How to Use the Baldrige Criteria to Improve a School System:

  • Talk with the staff involved: Help the staff to identify their priority areas for improvement, looking at the data you have to support that, and get them involved in identifying what the “big rocks” are. Sometimes it’s an easy win to get them involved in being part of the solution as well as identifying the problem. It’s not always what the leadership might see as a priority area; if workers see it as a major issue, then they tend to be more engaged in the improvement process and have more buy-in along the way.
  • Use the Baldrige Criteria and the Baldrige processes without using all the Baldrige terminology. Using language that is familiar to the workers is less overwhelming.
  • “Go slow to go fast”: Keep a pulse on your staff to see where they are in the transition process through both formal check-in meetings and informal conversations. You need to have a combination of that hard and soft data to monitor. You need some folks to tell you what the reality is on how things are going.

These tips are from Melanie Taylor, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction of Iredell-Statesville Public Schools (2008 Baldrige Award recipient, education). Read the complete interview at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/04/02/tight-education-funding-growing-student-needs-where-baldrige-is-essential/.

How to Conduct an Organizational Self-Assessment:

  • Use the “Are We Making Progress?” surveys as a starting point for using the Baldrige framework. These surveys—one for the senior leadership team and another for other employees (available for free download from the Baldrige Web site at http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/publications/progress.cfm—are based on the Organizational Profile questions in the Baldrige Criteria.
  • Once the survey results are in, pull together a cross-functional team to analyze the results and discuss potential answers to the questions from the Organizational Profile.
  • Conduct a gap analysis based on this work; it will likely provide several “jumping off points” for continuous improvement efforts in the organization.

These tips are from Lisa Muller, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at Jenks Public Schools (2005 Baldrige Award recipient, education). Read the complete interview at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/03/25/value-of-the-organizational-profile-to-an-ever-changing-organization/.

How to Implement a New Curriculum:

Use a collaborative planning process to ensure that you are implementing the curriculum across your system systematically. Following are questions addressed by the school system at each step of the process:

1. Plan: What is the indicator or standard asking our students to do? What are the difficult points for teachers? Students? What are the connections to prior/future learning? How will the thinking and academic skills be addressed?

2. Do: What is acceptable evidence of proficiency with the indicator? What is the sequence of learning? How will we identify ways instruction can be adjusted to meet the needs of all learners?

3. Study: How will we know students are learning it? Review data points around multiple pathways.

4. Act: What do we do if they already know it? What do we do if they do not learn it?

These tips are from Rose Ann Schwartz, staff development teacher, and LaVerne Kimball, associate superintendent, at Montgomery County Public Schools (2010 Baldrige Award recipient, education). Read the complete interview at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/03/13/preparing-students-for-future-jobs-update-from-2010-baldrige-award-winner/.

How to Create a Strategic Plan for a School District:

  • Determine your values and goals (from mission)
  • Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis and an environmental scan.
  • Determine strategy areas and create action plans.
  • Publish and share the strategic plan with all.
  • Monitor and create accountability systems.

This tips are from Brian Kammers, vice president of the board of education, and Marty Van Hulle, principal of Pewaukee High School, for the Pewaukee School District (2013 Baldrige Award recipient, education). Read the complete story at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/04/22/from-blind-squirrels-looking-for-nuts-to-strategic-planners/.

How to Systematically Measure Your Organization’s Performance:

  • Design a system for your performance measurement and improvement that is repeatable and sustainable (Approach).
  • Involve all key groups in development of your performance measurement and improvement system and share the results widely (Deploy).
  • Make calm, clear-headed decisions based on the data analysis and regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the performance measurement process itself (Learn).
  • Align your performance measurement system with your organization’s mission, vision, values, and key work processes (Integrate).

These tips are from Fonda Vera, executive dean for planning, research, effectiveness, and development, and Bao Huynh, director of institutional effectiveness, at Richland Community College (2005 Baldrige Award recipient, education). Read the complete interview at http://nistbaldrige.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/03/06/measuring-performance-best-practices-of-a-2005-baldrige-award-winner/.

Editor’s Note: The first two blogs in this series feature tips from Baldrige Award-winning businesses and health care organizations, respectively, based on interviews of presenters at this year’s Quest for Excellence conference.

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Special thanks to Blogrige blogger Christine Schaefer for connecting with us via email about our request to reprint this post for WRIE readers. Reprint courtesy of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, Gaithersburg, MD, http://www.nist.gov/baldrige.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

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