#MaximizePerformance: It’s The Right Thing To Do

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Maximize PerformanceLeaders in high-performing organizations know when an action is the right thing to do. In these organizations, leaders didn’t take for granted that people automatically knew why a change was being made. They spent time explaining why decisions were made, and they frequently and deliberately connected employees back to purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference.

Leaders often implement an employee engagement survey and use the results to provide teachers and staff with a work environment  that supports them in reaching their highest potential. This message is reinforced in the survey’s introductory paragraph. Below is an example:

Survey

 

It’s easy to see how this translates to education when we recognize the actions of high-performing leaders in successful school districts. These superintendents live out the five factors of relentlessness, accountability, development, communication, and connecting to purpose.

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Maximize Performance: Creating a Culture for Educational Excellence by Quint Studer and Janet Pilcher will help education leaders engage in systematic reviews to diagnose, apply, assess, and validate the execution of strategies across school, department, and school system levels. Learn more about Maximize Performance at http://www.studereducation.com/MP. Follow the authors on Twitter using @quint_studer and @janetpilcher and join them in Washington, D.C., for dinner.

Studer Group. 2005. Organizational Change Processes in High-Performing Organizations: In-Depth Case Studies with Healthcare Facilities. Gulf Breeze, FL: Alliance for Healthcare Research.

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.

#MaximizePerformance: Engage in Employee Forums

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Maximize PerformanceHigh-performing organizations make a real commitment to employee communication, not only at the department level but also at the administrative level. In a study of high-performing organizations, every organization conducted employee forums or town hall meetings led by senior leaders, thus allowing employees to hear key messages, be informed on key issues, and focus on what they can do to improve.

Here’s an example from Arlington Independent School District (TX):

Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, Superintendent of Arlington Independent School District, exemplifies commitment to fostering transparent and open communication with leaders, teachers, and staff. During their monthly and quarterly meetings, Dr. Cavazos communicates key information to staff in an uncommon way. In each session, he presents key information and data, and connects strongly back to the district’s goals by continuously repeating, “Failing to improve is not an option.” But, Dr. Cavazos doesn’t just deliver his message; he also fosters interaction and feedback among his staff. he always ends his presentations by asking for questions. To ensure that his inquiry is sincere, he remains silent until people ask questions or make comments. he does not adjourn the meeting until all questions have been asked and answered.

In our work with organizations, we find that when leaders have good communication skills, they also apply effective strategies to reward and recognize employees. High-performing organizations realize that people are more engaged and willing to go the extra mile when leaders frequently express their appreciation—in person, in thank-you notes, or both.

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Maximize Performance: Creating a Culture for Educational Excellence by Quint Studer and Janet Pilcher will help education leaders engage in systematic reviews to diagnose, apply, assess, and validate the execution of strategies across school, department, and school system levels. Learn more about Maximize Performance at http://www.studereducation.com/MP. Follow the authors on Twitter using @quint_studer and @janetpilcher and join them in Washington, D.C., for dinner.

Studer Group. 2005. Organizational Change Processes in High-Performing Organizations: In-Depth Case Studies with Healthcare Facilities. Gulf Breeze, FL: Alliance for Healthcare Research.

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.

@Huron Named One of @Forbes America’s Best Employers 2015

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Why is this headline important? Because, Google’s HR Chief Laszlo Bock tells Forbes (cite),

There’s intense global competition for the best, most creative minds who are able to create the biggest, most important things, and that’s going to continue accelerating. That’s why it becomes even more important to create a kind of workplace where people want to be.

 

Of the recognition, Huron’s CEO and President James Roth focused on company culture and Huron’s talented employees, stating (cite),

“Our talented people and unique culture provide the foundation for a collaborative workplace that focuses on delivering value to our clients while maintaining a positive work/life balance and an energized and engaged employee base. This award is purely the result of the talent of our people and their focus on creating a robust work environment that emphasizes professional development, client service, and community responsibility. To be recognized as one of the best employers in the nation is an honor that we are all proud of.”

In education, we have a lot to learn from these leaders and their award-winning companies. Their messages and actions translate to education: Education leaders must have a great desire to move from good to great; Education leaders must see value in continuous systems improvement; and Education leaders must engage employees to build and sustain a culture of high performance.

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O’Conner, Clare. March 25, 2015. America’s Best Employers 2015. Forbes. Accessed online here.

Press Release. April 15, 2015. Huron Consulting Group Named One of America’s Best Employers by Forbes. Accessed online here.

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.

 

#MaximizePerformance: The High-Performing Organization Part 4

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Maximize Performance

The third influential success factor emerging as the most influential in executive leaders success in high-performing organizations is leader development. Each organization invested heavily in training. Every one of these organizations provided more than 60 hours a year in leadership and management development training. It was mandatory for everyone in a supervisory role, without exception. Leadership development is priority one; here’s an example from the School District of Janesville, Wisconsin.

As part of the Evidence-Based Leadership framework, we recommend that superintendents hold Leadership Development Institutes (LDIs) to develop all leaders and to engage teams of leaders to plan the curriculum. The School District of Janesville in Janesville, Wisconsin, under the leadership of superintendent Karen Schulte, committed to holding four LDIs each year.

The LDIs are planned by leadership teams that may include a curriculum team (during the event), linkage team (continuous learning from one event to the next), logistics team (event planning and setup), and social team (integrating relationship-building learning events into the day). The superintendent provides direction and begins each institute by presenting a current state address.

School districts can and must put all their leaders in one room. Superintendent Schulte creates a “win-win” situation to do this. She schedules teams of teacher leaders (who could be the next generation of principals) to provide fill-in leadership to schools so that principals and assistant principals can attend LDIs.

Subsequent posts in this “High-Performing Organization” series will provide examples of how the Organization Change Processes study results transfer to high-performing superintendent behaviors. “Follow” us to receive the next post where we highlight Leadership Development Institutes.

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Part 1 outlined the most influential factors driving high-performance in organizations. These evidenced-based research factors, when applied by leaders, drive positive outcomes and continuous improvement processes. Read Part 1 here.

Part 2 highlighted Dr. Pat Greco, Superintendent of the School District of Menomonee Falls (WI). Read Part 2 here.

Part 3 highlighted Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick of the Santa Rosa County School District (FL). Read Part 3 here.

Maximize Performance: Creating a Culture for Educational Excellence by Quint Studer and Janet Pilcher will help education leaders engage in systematic reviews to diagnose, apply, assess, and validate the execution of strategies across school, department, and school system levels. Learn more about Maximize Performance at http://www.studereducation.com/MP. Follow the authors on Twitter using @quint_studer and @janetpilcher and join them in Washington, D.C., for dinner.

Studer Group. 2005. Organizational Change Processes in High-Performing Organizations: In-Depth Case Studies with Healthcare Facilities. Gulf Breeze, FL: Alliance for Healthcare Research.

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.

#MaximizePerformance: The High-Performing Organization Part 3

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Maximize Performance

The second factor consistently emerging as the most influential in executive leaders success in high-performing organizations is a leadership evaluation tool that created accountability. All the organizations studied had an objective, weighted evaluation tool that helped the leaders know exactly what they were going to accomplish and what their priorities were. This moved leaders away from excuses; that is, they might have a full schedule, but they understood their priorities.

When school districts apply a measurable leader evaluation system that integrates alignment of superintendents, executive team leaders, principals, and department leaders, they set the stage for building a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. Here’s an example from the Santa Rosa County School District.

 

Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick acted bravely when he shifted his evaluation to a transparent, open, measurable evaluation that included growth measures on student achievement, employee engagement scores, parent satisfaction, satisfaction of principals with district services, and financial effectiveness.

By bravely, we mean that Superintendent Wyrosdick is not evaluated by the board; in essence, he is evaluated by the citizens of the community. Therefore, he made a conscious choice to use “hard” measures and to make the results transparent to the board and the public. Superintendent Wyrosdick serves as a model for other leaders, who made at least 75 percent of their evaluation dependent on measurable goals.

Today, Santa Rosa County remains one of the highest-performing districts in Florida. The leaders made a conscious decision to be held accountable when being complacent may have been easier.

When a district implements leader evaluation measures a new and different perspective on systems improvement is formed within the district. Leaders like Superintendent Wyrosdick demonstrate how transparent leader evaluation helps improve and sustain district measures, including student achievement results.

Subsequent posts in this “High-Performing Organization” series will provide examples of how the Organization Change Processes study results transfer to high-performing superintendent behaviors. “Follow” us to receive the next post where we highlight Leadership Development Institutes.

Huron SE Logo

 

 

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Part 1 outlined the most influential factors driving high-performance in organizations. These evidenced-based research factors, when applied by leaders, drive positive outcomes and continuous improvement processes. Read Part 1 here.

Part 2 highlighted Dr. Pat Greco, Superintendent of the School District of Menomonee Falls (WI). Read Part 2 here.

Maximize Performance: Creating a Culture for Educational Excellence by Quint Studer and Janet Pilcher will help education leaders engage in systematic reviews to diagnose, apply, assess, and validate the execution of strategies across school, department, and school system levels. Learn more about Maximize Performance at
http://www.firestarterpublishing.com/MaximizePerformance. Follow the authors on Twitter using @quint_studer and @janetpilcher.

Studer Group. 2005. Organizational Change Processes in High-Performing Organizations: In-Depth Case Studies with Healthcare Facilities. Gulf Breeze, FL: Alliance for Healthcare Research.

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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