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“Do you know how transformational your behavior can be? … Don’t wait. Just lead,” is a message one of my colleagues delivers when he talks about transforming behavior and solidifying cultures of excellence in an organization, “it’s how we live. It’s who we are.”

In Practice.

Oklahoma City Public Schools began experiencing a change in culture after implementing The 10’ – 5’ Rule (see December, 2012). This is one example of a district acting on feedback from its District Services Survey; leaders implemented and cascaded The 10′ – 5′ Rule, executed it always, and reinforced across all districts and schools the action must always occur. This was the district leadership’s response to what their employees told them… and an opportunity for all employees to engage in new behavior that impacts the culture of the organization.

The 10′ – 5′ Rule: What is it?

Within ten foot of an individual you should acknowledge the individual with some expression, e.g., make eye contact, nod, smile, wave; and within five foot of an individual you should acknowledge the individual verbally.

The key?

The focus of Oklahoma City Public Schools was on one skill to achieve positive results. There is a greater likelihood of (positively) influencing behavior and change when an organization focuses on one goal or objective. Focus on one goal, institutionalize (hardwire) behavior to achieve it — make it your culture, and measure it. And, remember that service excellence begins with one’s leadership and commitment to purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference (Studer, 2008).

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Quotes in initial paragraph from Feb 2014 Studer Group TYYO (Dallas, TX) by Bob Murphy.

Studer, Q. 2008. Results that Last: Hardwiring Behaviors That will Take Your Company to the Top. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Our mission at Studer Education’s EBL K12 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 teachers and leaders to create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://eblk12.com to learn more about Studer Education and Evidence-Based Leadership in K12. 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.