Innovation Isn't Always What You Think It Is
Innovation is a topic we hear a lot about in the workplace, but it’s often misunderstood. Being innovative means more than just coming up with cool things to do. Innovation doesn’t have to be big and different, and it’s not something only geniuses do. In this episode, listen as Dr. JoAnn Sternke discusses with our host how true creativity and innovation can emerge as we focus on adding value.
Do you know how well you're doing?
In this video, Dr. Janet Pilcher describes the short cycle improvement process that supports achievement of annual goals. She explains what to do and ask when results are trending at and above goal, as well as how to dig deeper when progress is trending below goal.
Are We Where We Want to Be?
Before we implement initiatives or changes, it can be useful to engage in a process to clearly define the need for improvement or the problem to be solved. These questions and tips can be used by individuals or teams to question their past and future improvement efforts and problems to set themselves up for success.
Sustain Results at Scale
The work of improvement creates the backbone for real change where it matters. Focus on continuous improvement yields valuable results and radically changes outcomes in a number of fields. In this podcast, Dr. Pat Greco joins us to continue the conversation around improving school systems and organizations so leaders can accelerate results and sustain success over time.
Always Be Forward Thinking
When leaders face periods of disruption, teams count on the leaders to guide them towards success. In this episode, Dr. Natalie Harder discusses how her team successfully navigated through intense change and the effects of a strong culture and values while leading during times of uncertainty.
World Class Service Requires a Plan
To be a successful organization and ensure customers have the best experience, it can be useful to view your organization from a customer’s point of view. The quality of service received while interacting with an organization is what brings customers back to organizations.
What are 3 Organizational Barriers to Change?
The speed of information and higher demands from consumers forces leaders to shift the way change is approached. Commonly, there is much anxiety attached to change, people like to do things, “the way they’ve always done it,” but that’s not the attitude that will achieve success in today OR tomorrow’s world. How do we shift the way we think about change?
Ever hear about "initiative overload"?
When we fail to monitor the many initiatives and actions, we risk spending time and energy on things that no longer matter and are no longer aligned to our organization’s goals. It is important for every organization and team to set aside time to determine Where’s the Noise?
Bring Problems Forward
What can leaders do to create safe environments for teams to bring problems forward, while avoiding being bombarded by complaints? In this podcast episode, Dr. Pilcher encourages team members use key words, take ownership, and bring complex problems to their leaders for guidance.
Commit to Cycles for Continuous Improvement
To continuously improve, organizations and teams need to implement cycles of examining data and planning for future actions. In this video, Jerim Desjarlais, Elementary School Principal discusses how his school has created a transparent system using data to ensure students are getting the support they need.
Improve Meetings with Data
Use a meeting evaluation to inform improvement and ensure effective use of time. Whether a formal evaluation form or a quick discussion at the end of your time together, collecting participant feedback communicates commitment to excellence and efficiency.
3 Things to Consider About Giving and Receiving Feedback
Receiving feedback is an emotional experience. It’s often difficult to take in. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, we humans are quick to respond emotionally, sometimes overreacting, even to the point of denying the accuracy of our data. How can we strengthen the use of feedback to help us improve?
Are Your Priorities Clear?
After a strategic plan is in place, it’s important for the executive leadership team to meet and discuss what the priorities are and what they are not. These agreed upon priorities shape the daily actions of our teams, who work consistently to achieve results.
Less is More
After leaders spend time developing strategic plans for the organization, they connect with their teams about what actions matter the most. Using a narrow focus, leaders align the organization's larger goals to individual quarterly goals, and conduct regular progress monitoring to maximize results.
What builds accountability?
Creating a rhythm of accountability and targeted achievement requires a planned process. In this clip, award winning leader, JoAnn Sternke, explains how using a scorecard to focus the team is the first step in prioritizing the right actions. For best results, she tells us to keep those priorities front and center during our weekly meetings.
Looking for a standard?
Most leaders want to be the best in class. Knowing what that means requires the use of benchmarks. In this video, research director, Julie Kunselman, explains what it means to benchmark and where to find benchmarks that will drive your organization to higher levels of success.
How do I know what to measure?
Checking in and monitoring each measure of success validates the use of the right measures and keeps us focused on what it takes to reach each goal. This exercise guides teams in reviewing measures that matter and discussing adjustments needed to experience success.
How to know what really needs fixing
Going down the improvement road is hard work. In this video, Superintendent Greg Gibson tells us how his time on a ranch in Texas helped him develop a systems perspective. He transferred this learning to leading his team and is willing to ask, "Does that kill the good stuff, too?"
How do I know what matters?
As leaders, we are in a unique position to direct what is important in the organization and therefore what to measure. We want to work in organizations with clear goals and the strategies for success are equally clear. The performance level of an organization can be verified by reviewing the key metrics.
You say "barrier." I say "opportunity."
Plus/Delta is a formative assessment process that asks team members what worked well and what could be adjusted for improvement. This exercise is designed to provide teams with an opportunity to brainstorm strategies for improving a situation, process, or event.
What does a focus group look like?
A focus group facilitator relies on a series of questions, to gather information about a specific topic. It is important to record all responses offered by the group. In this video, the facilitator uses questions, probes, and a white board to capture relevant details from participants.
When it's high-impact, include many voices.
Focus groups are a useful way to gather information from a variety of individuals at the same time. In this video, Superintendent Rob Clayton explains why focus groups were engaged to provide input on the district's strategic plan. He describes the benefit of including multiple voices.
Plan to improve
The purpose of an Improvement Action Plan is to map the prioritized actions after gaining input from our teams. The plan is aligned to the organization's overall strategic priorities and contains details about short-term actions to achieve annual goals. Use this template to draft and share your Improvement Action Plan.
What do I focus on?
Data helps us know where to focus our efforts. In this video, an executive leader explains how her team used data to make the best use of time and talent. She describes the importance of starting with data, engaging multiple voices, and using the feedback to make decisions.
How do I know which actions to prioritize?
Asking for feedback provides a model of leading with humility and striking a learner stance. The quantity and content of feedback can be overwhelming. It's important to use feedback to prioritize effective actions and build a trusting relationship and strong culture.
The High-Stakes Impact of Failing to Re-recruit
The research from this educational context is certainly transferable to any sector. In this article, we learn how a simple question could have convinced an irreplaceable employee to stay. Top performers are more likely to stick with leaders who actively re-recruit them.
Help everyone connect to the big picture
High-performing organizations make a real commitment to employee communication, not only at the department level, but also at the administrative level. This allows employees to hear key messages, be informed on key issues, and focus on what they can do to improve.