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At a teacher development institute earlier this summer teachers were asked what they needed to do their jobs more effectively. This was the topic of the What’s Your What? blog a few weeks ago and today’s blog is a follow-up to their responses—Status and What Leaders Did—communicating the actions related to “what leaders heard” from What’s Your What?

Healthy organizations consistently monitor engagement of staff and satisfaction of internal and external stakeholders. Usually this is accomplished with the use of surveys administered to all stakeholders of the organization—the frequency varies and may depend on the size of the organization/institution, focus of continuous improvement, amount of innovation, or simply the content of the survey. The key to utilizing such surveys is not the data collected. The key is how well leaders share the data with their staff and stakeholders and how well leaders communicate the action that will be taken based on feedback from the survey data. The table above is called a Stoplight Report and provides one option for sharing feedback received and the actions of leadership in response to the feedback.

Presenting the Data. One example is from a company COO who introduces monthly data to employees of his/her company in an attempt to “celebrate wins and highlight improvement opportunities underway.” After sharing overall and summary results for the month, the COO manages up colleagues adding, “This is a reflection of solid performance and excellent feedback from our coaches and speakers. Thank you.” This is how the monthly data are rolled out:

In response to feedback, support departments put together a Stoplight Report to outline “What We Heard and What We Did” (attached and below). We hope this information will be helpful and will continue to improve support services provided…

Congratulations to the 15 departments scoring > 90. Our “Hands of Collaboration” department winner is once again… I’d also like to recognize the [Team]who had the most positive increase in their score moving from…. Our greatest opportunity still lies with accuracy. Please watch the [Internal Web Page] as departments share what was heard and what is being done to address performance gaps.

[Team] specific feedback is so helpful. This month we had the most responses YTD with 53 people completing it – THANK YOU! Support departments appreciate your time in responding, particularly since [their goals] are impacted by these results.

Following the introduction by the leader, the data are presented in a Stoplight Report by department (e.g., Finance, HR, IT) followed by summary data, responses per leader, overall responses and scores, and score rank by department.

In the sample Stoplight Report from a school presented above, there were no items that the school’s leadership team had not addressed. If there ever is, it is important for leaders to explain why no action has taken place and/or a decision was made to not take action.

Importance for Leaders. Leaders must communicate results. Specifically, leaders must share the data with their colleagues and communicate the action that they will take based on the feedback. Stoplight Reports are one quick method for communicating results. In Hardwiring Excellence, Studer shares (pp. 211-224):

When everybody understands what is important and what is expected of them, tremendous growth can take place.

Leaders are more effective and the [workplace] keeps getting better and better.

Communication is consistent at the department level so that every individual receives the same message.

Employees define quality communication in terms of quick wins on what they really need to know about.

Communicating results allows leaders to be consistent in their communication, provides organization of the data, and connects employee feedback to leadership team actions. As a result, employees perceive their immediate supervisor (leader) is engaged with them in the workplace and become more satisfied, therefore doing a better job.

 

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Studer, Q. (2003). Hardwiring Excellence. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing.

What’s Right in Education is a one day conference presented by superintendents, board members, and school leaders with proven results in student achievement, parent satisfaction, workforce engagement, and service excellence. Held on October 11, 2012; registration is $100. Visit us at http://www.studereducation.com/wrie2012 for an agenda, conference information, and to register online.

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 teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, the recipient of a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.