First Year Principal’s Welcome Back Speech includes “What’s your What?”

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Grandt-Turke SDJEntering her first year as principal at Harrison Elementary School in the School District of Janesville (WI), Jessica Grandt-Turke thought it imperative that her staff get to know her “whats” or “what was important to her” so that they would have an understanding of her leadership style and vision for the school. During her welcome back speech with staff she shared what was important to her — including the things that she stands for, believes in, and which drive and motivate her.

In our work with teachers and leaders in the School District of Janesville, we introduce What’s Your “What”1 to leaders and teachers so that leaders can best work with teachers and visa versa, and teachers can best work with students and parents. According to the superintendent’s district blog, “staff members at Harrison Elementary were inspired as Principal Grandt-Turke shared her heart and passion, and they were encouraged to do the same by taking time to share their ‘what’ with other staff members.”

According to the blog, Principal Grandt’s shared:

Education is passion, the key to a child’s future. Principal Grandt is driven and is passionate about educating future generations because each child deserves a quality education. In fact, she stated, “It is our obligation to educate children; we are responsible for providing a quality education for each child here.”

Relationships are important. It is crucial to develop strong, positive relationships with co-workers, parents and students. We cannot do this alone, and it is only through relationships that we are able to successfully educate each child. “We need the staff, parents and students to know that we are all in this together.”

I am not only an educator, but also a mom. “It was important that my staff know that I have kids, and that I am a mom because that is the lens that I see things through. In each situation, I ask ‘Is this okay if my son were here? Would I want a situation handled this way if it involved my daughter?’ I’m not going to settle on treating these children differently than I would treat my own children” Principal Grandt-Turke.

I am organized. “If there are piles on my desk, I am probably stressed out.” This gave staff members a nonverbal cue to look for when approaching the principal during the day.

A positive attitude is key! “I wouldn’t want negative, crabby people working with my kids, and I want to provide the same care for other people’s children. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be days where someone needs to vent, but it is a about having a general positive attitude.”

The blog ended with a challenge for readers:

What is your “What?” What drives you as an educator inspires and motivates you every day? Why did you decide to invest in the lives of children…? I want to encourage you to share your “what” here on this blog [and] with your coworkers, encourage one another and remind one another why we are each doing what we do everyday.

We challenge you to do the same…

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What’s Right in Education blog. August 3, 2012. What’s Your “What”?

Principal Grandt-Turke arrived at Harrison School as the Principal in 2010, and in 2013 she was recognized by the School District of Janesville as Administrator of the Year. Harrison Elementary School in the School District of Janesville (SDJ), Wisconsin, believes that educational success for each child can be attained only through the cooperative efforts of school staff, parents, and students. Check out Harrison’s website here and Principal Grandt-Turke’s message here.

Blog focus suggested by Dr. Karen Schulte, Superintendent, and adapted from her superintendent’s blog at the School District of Janesville, Wisconsin.

Our mission at Studer Education is to 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. To do this we partner with school system leaders to create results-oriented school cultures that become great places to work and learn. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Leader Development Institutes (LDIs) and Evidence-Based Leadership. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a Great Place to Work® and the recipient of a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Creating positive #culture: What gets recognized gets repeated

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LeadershipFreak

We promote creating a process to manage up other people. We teach that managing up is a specific type of recognition that positions people well with others. It promotes people recognizing other people for good work.

We recommend that leaders manage up people when they do things well. Why? Managing up helps everyone know “what right looks like.” Also, we know that what is recognized gets repeated, and so it creates the habit of focusing on the positive. Our goal as leaders is to build a manage-up culture.

We teach that when someone is managed up to leaders, a leader then manages up that person to senior leadership by giving credit to both people. Here’s an example of teachers managing up students to the high school administration, who in turn manage up each student to his or her parent. This example is from Milton High School, led by 2015 finalist for Florida’s Principal of the Year, Michael Thorpe:

Some high schools may be reluctant to consider positive phone calls to parents, but Milton High School, Santa Rosa County, Florida, uses positive phone calls to improve the connection with their parents, that is, the connection between school and home. Each week all teachers at the school send the name of a stand out student to the school administrator assigned to that teacher for evaluation purposes. On the Stand Out Student form the teacher explains why the student was chosen. “Stand out” students may receive recognition for their manners, positive attitude, or learning improvement.

The administrator calls the stand out student to the office and recognizes and compliments the student. After the student realizes that he/she is not in trouble, the student enjoys the moment of recognition. The administrator also calls the parent of the stand out student. Though some parents immediately think there is a problem, which again requires an explanation, the administrator goes on to explain the purpose of the call to the parent and recognizes and compliments the parent’s child during the phone call. The administrator also recognizes the teacher who recommended the child as a stand out student. All four administrators at Milton High School value the good will that has come from recognizing and rewarding stand out students to their parents through a weekly phone call.

Identifying stand out students creates 4 winners at Milton High School: the student, the parent, the teacher, and the administrator.  Each is recognized by the other 3 individuals as special people who care about others. Important to our goal of developing relationships with our students and parents, the parent is pleased with the administrator, the teacher and most of all his/her child.

It is sometimes helpful to train leaders on a process for applying and validating recognition; this is sometimes the only way to change an attitude. Make recognition descriptive and contextual so that the individual receiving the praise and others know “what right looks like.” And remember, it takes three compliments to one criticism to yield a positive outcome.

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At What’s Right in Education #WRIE, engage with ed leaders who have developed systems for rewarding and recognizing employees in their district. Tweet @KKOwen_Coach for more information.

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.

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 caused me to think more deeply about change, accountable #leadership

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In The Fifth Discipline Peter Senge writes a goal should be difficult enough that people know they have to change, which generates the creative tension necessary to make adjustments. If the goal is too low, people might think they don’t really have to change or they can wait until the last minute to start. If it’s too high, though, leaders could think it’s unattainable. In Maximize Performance, Studer and Pilcher explain:

An organization’s leadership ensures that goals are set at the top level and then cascaded down in a relevant and meaningful way to the leaders of each area. A rule of thumb learned from years of working with school districts is that the closer a leader’s evaluation is to 100 percent use of metrics, the greater the chance that the school system will achieve the overall results.

Upon finishing Maximize Performance, Dr. Dawn Wilson, Lead Coach at learning Forward Academy, relayed that the book “caused [her] to think more deeply about change, accountable leadership, the flywheel, scorecard and [her] favorite… connecting hearts and minds.”

HeartAndMind

Dr. Wilson goes on to say, “People want their hearts and minds aligned with the mission of the organization… and they want to feel valued.  As educators, we have so much work to do to create high-performing school systems… After reading the book, I am inspired to find ways to create a culture of excellence in my setting.”

So wonderful that Dr. Wilson shared this message with us and allowed us to share it with you. The central values at the core of the work we do as educators is to have purpose, do worthwhile work, and make a difference. Sometimes we bog down in daily tasks and forget why we chose our profession. As educators, we are lucky because our purpose sits in front of us every day.

 

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Special thanks to Dr. Dawn F. Wilson, Learning Forward Academy Lead Coach, for sharing her reflections about Maximize Performance: Creating a Culture for Educational Excellence. Dr. Wilson has served in a variety of district and school roles including teacher, instructional coach, school leader, director of curriculum and instruction, director of testing and evaluation, director of instructional technology and executive director of professional learning.

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 Chicago August 3-4.

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.

 

#EmployeeEngagement: 31.9% U.S. Employees Engaged in Job via @Gallup

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GallupEEGraph

 

The graph above is from Gallup’s most recent post about employee engagement in the United States (by Amy Adkins, available online here). What it shows for 2015 is that on average between 31.5% and 31.9% of U.S. employees are engaged in their job. What we know from our work with educational institutions across the U.S. is confirmed by Gallup’s research – employee engagement is connected to organizational outcomes, including support services within and without the organization and stakeholder satisfaction. In addition, employee engagement is tied to one’s leader; via Gallup:

… Gallup has found that engagement is tied to many factors — managers being chief among them. Gallup research shows that a manager’s engagement — or lack thereof — affects his or her employees’ engagement, creating a “cascade effect.” Essentially, employees’ engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement — whose engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement. Although managers represent the most engaged workgroup in the U.S., nearly 60% of this group is not engaged or is actively disengaged.

While the Gallup research and our research in employee engagement provide perception data that inform us (and educational leaders), the most important part of the research/surveys is what we do with the results. That is, the key to the employee engagement survey, or any other surveys, is not the score itself—it’s how well we, as leaders, share the results with staff and how we communicate actions based on their feedback.

Measurement supports the alignment of desired behaviors (see WRIE post and Maximize Performance). It excites the organization when results are achieved. Measurement also holds individuals accountable for results and helps determine if things are working. When done well, we do not just measure; we measure to align specific leadership and employee behaviors that cascade throughout the organization to drive results. The better a district or institution can align these behaviors, the more quickly it will achieve desired results and create opportunities to recognize staff. Recognized behavior gets repeated, which turns the organizational flywheel.

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Adkins, Amy. (July 9, 2015). U.S. Employee Engagement Unmoved in June at 31.9%. Retrieved online at http://www.gallup.com/poll/184061/employee-engagement-unmoved-june.aspx.

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 Chicago August 3-4.

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: Drive Employee Results with Surveys

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Measurement supports the alignment of desired behaviors. It excites the organization when results are achieved. Measurement also holds individuals accountable for results and helps determine if things are working. We are not just measuring to measure. We are measuring to measure. We are measuring to align to specific leadership and employee behaviors that cascade throughout the organization to drive results. The better the organization can align these behaviors, the more quickly it will achieve desired results and create opportunities to recognize staff. Recognized behavior gets repeated, which turns the organizational (results) flywheel.

Sometimes a leader will ask us, “Don’t you think we are focusing too much on the numbers?” We remind them that 4’s and 5’s (higher scores) represent employees’ appreciation of the work environment and parents’ satisfaction with their child’s education. Most agree that those things are worth measuring. In addition, remember, the key to any survey is not the score itself, it’s how well we as leaders share the results with staff and how we communicate actions based on their feedback.

 

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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 Chicago August 3-4.

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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