Posts Tagged ‘ theory of change ’

Stress-test Strategy

Always stress-test your strategy. Solid advice from Robert Simons in Harvard Business Review.

http://hbr.org/2010/11/stress-test-your-strategy-the-7-questions-to-ask/ar/pr

I especially love this one…

The debate must be about what is right, not who is right. People should check titles and office politics at the door. You should encourage everyone to take risks, state unpopular opinions, and challenge the status quo.

A tactic is only good as long as it accomplishes what it is supposed to do. Measure the outcomes. If the tactic is wrong, then have the guts to admit it and pivot to create a better one. Nothing worse than riding a bad tactic just to save face.

See You in the Funny Papers

For those of you that don’t get to read the Harvard Business Review, but do read the comics every day, here’s one for you – Daniel McGinn’s interview with Scott Adams, the Dilbert creator.

http://hbr.org/2013/11/scott-adams/ar/pr

It was often the Dilbert post (I subscribed on-line) that got my morning started. It was uncanny…often like he was sitting in my office, listening to my phone conversations or taking notes in my meetings! No, I don’t have pointy hair, but I did work with Alice, The Fist of Death.

And here’s another from Meghan Ennes for those of you that like pictures and words. http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/10/how-dilbert-practically-wrote-itself/

The last time a comics creator got this much publicity, he cancelled on me (Gary Trudeau). Don’t do it, Scott! There’s way too much good material still out there.

Mastering Meaningful Meetings

The start of the school year also means the beginning of that age-old institution, the weekly senior staff meeting. Whether it is a cabinet level or senior directors level, since it is the beginning of a new year, one cannot help but question the need for these sessions of senior level administrative over-think. Jeff Booker, now a deputy at Gaston County Schools in North Carolina, used to caution his staff about the relationship between the money that was sitting around the table and the work being done at the meeting. Peter Bregman makes a similar point in his recent HBR blog, http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2013/09/four-areas-where-senior-leader.html Both Booker and Bregman speak to making these meetings more meaningful. The alternative (if there is an unbalanced ratio of money at the table vs. the gravity of the topics) is to cancel the meeting. That’s leadership!

Culture and Loss

In his recent guest post on Clarity, Jamie Notter talks about a company’s culture and his belief that it is the organizational culture that drives success. http://blog.clarity.fm/culture-that-drives-success/

“People leave the culture, not the company.” is one of the culture clichés he uses. It is clear that without effective cultural change why many districts are unable to address their consistently high turnover. One large district told me that one-third of their instructional workforce will leave within five years. I understand from superintendents all over the country that those statistics are not unusual. Could it be time to focus on cultural change within educational organizations? After all, it is one aspect of the education business that will be cost-effective. Every time an employee leaves, it costs the district roughly 20% of that employee’s salary to hire a replacement.

I know some of you have begun change management, but once the rest of you get Common Core and PowerSchool up and running, it is time to for us to talk about real cultural change. Measure your annual losses and calculate the cost.

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes

A five-minute research-based video that deals with the community influences we all know hurt student outcomes.Clearly, the next step is for someone to take responsibility for addressing this, although no one has the authority to do so.