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Maximize PerformanceValidation entails 100 percent (or almost 100 percent) compliance on behavior as well as the highest quality. Ensuring compliance and quality is critical to improving both individual and system-wide performance. Validation, as part of the Execution Flywheel, takes place when every leader consistently applies a well-defined and clearly communicated process. Validation is about holding up the mirror to determine if we are always complying and executing with high quality.

In the video below Principal Mary Jo Rackowski-Shannon discusses her response to her school’s lowest scoring item on the Parent Satisfaction Survey, “I receive positive phone calls or notes about my child from the school.”

Sometimes as leaders we receive pushback when we initiate or support change even when you and your colleagues know that changes need to be made. This is when Kotter suggests leaders need to develop within their organization (or school) “a distinctive attitude and gut-level feeling… to make something important happen today.” Increased student learning is the end goal for schools. So where does validation fit?

Validation is the process that keeps leaders from making excuses for low performance and blaming mishaps on others rather than first looking in the mirror. You heard this from Principal Raczkowski-Shannon, “Our lowest… was we did not give positive phone calls and notes home to parents. And we didn’t!… So what can we do different?” She established an expectation:

that teachers will make five positive phone calls home a week, with the goal of calling every parent at least once a semester. [Raczkowski-Shannon] validates this by checking a phone log in which teachers record the student’s name, the time the call was made, and a summary of the call. 

The school’s score on the parent satisfaction survey has increased, and so has the parent satisfaction with that item (2.00 to 4.38) on a five-point scale. Most importantly, the teachers themselves report feeling that the calls have great value. What a win! The students feel good, the parents are elated, and the teachers feel proud.

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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.firestarterpublishing.com/MaximizePerformance. Follow the authors on Twitter using @quint_studer and @janetpilcher.

Kotter, John. 2008. A Sense of Urgency. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press.

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.