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“It’s not a matter of knowing what to do…it is the execution of how.” This is a quote from Quint Studer, founder of Studer Group, in a September article in Becker’s Hospital Review (Dunn, 09.05.2013). Studer is not alone in his focus on execution; on Saturday, Nick Saban, coach of the University of Alabama football team, noted the need for his players to “effectively execute” plays on the field; last night, in post-game interviews New Orleans Saints players and their coach offered execution of plays and assignments as one reason for their Monday Night Football win and their undefeated season to date.

Both sports teams are “high-performing,” and it is possible to align their performance based on their execution of Studer’s five traits that are common among high-performing healthcare organizations. The challenge for us as educational leaders, however, is not to show how these successful sports teams align to and execute these traits; the challenge for us is to align our school districts to these traits and then execute them so that we, like Coaches Saban and Payton, can lead our organizations to excellence. The five practices common among high-performing healthcare organizations as identified by Studer (Dunn, 09.05.2013) are:

1. Executive and senior leadership commitment.

2. Leadership evaluation and accountability.

3. Leadership institutes and training.

4. Communication and employee forums.

5. Know this was the right thing to do.

As educational leaders we must think about and describe how our district or school embodies these five practices. In doing so, we:

  • identify how each practice is executed,
  • describe “what right looks like” for each practice,
  • identify a metric or measurement for each practice,
  • identify individual responsible, and
  • reflect on how well our organization executes each practice.

Why? When we do these things we show our colleagues (teachers and school staff) that we as leaders care about their well-being and they allow us to be proactive about solving problems. For example, if we consider only “Communication and Employee Forums,” our use of a Stop-Light Report tells us as leaders “what is working well,” “what we could do better,” and “whether meaningful conversations are taking place so that colleagues can best do their job.” The process also helps us identify individuals we should be recognizing.




Dunn, Lindsey. (09.05.2013). Building a Culture That Works: 5 Traits of High-Performing Healthcare Organizations. Becker’s Hospital Review. Accessed online 10.1.2013 here.

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. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth 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.