In reading the last 2 articles for this week (Class 5: 9/27/18) one thing that kept coming up for me is a wonder about the importance of staff culture and context to really make change happen via continuous improvement from data analysis. To me it seems like culture would be really important and that key characteristics of that culture would need to include transparency, trust and collaboration (along with vision and action)
- transparency: we’ve got to put it all out there, no un-discuss-ables, or elephants in the room
- trust: so that we are each really open to see what is there in the data even about ourselves and are open to critique without getting defensive.
- collaboration: because the work of change and improvement is too big to do alone.
- (vision: we have to know why we’re digging in deep and doing hard work)
- (action: we have to do something based on the analysis, otherwise trust will be eroded)
This reminded me of a book I read recently called An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Development Organization. (You can find a shorter summary here.) This book speaks to the benefits of an organization-wide orientation toward continuous improvement of each individual–as person and professional–as a core element of the work of the organization. Not an add-on or a nice-to-have but inseparable from the “real” work of the organization.
My biggest wonder so far about our orientation or mindsets as leaders is whether our focus should be on the development of staff as our primary mission in service of a shared vision of positive outcomes for students. Is that the norm with principals? How would that cascade throughout the system? Would it lead to achievement of the vision? Spoiler alert: The book above suggests yes. I’m really curious about what it would look like in schools.