Monday, July 23, 2012

"Show me the Money"

Or in our pursuit of World Class, show me the empirical evidence. We recently completed our summer leadership retreat. My colleagues reminded me that the use of retreat brings visions of cocktails with little umbrellas or a tropical getaway and using it to describe our multi-day meeting is a stretch.

My doodles attempted to capture their feelings (see below)

Before you critique my artistic skills, know that I drew these on the fly in minutes -

The real importance can be found in the 3rd image - Systems Thinking, Action Plans, Data... "I guess its not going away" MPS is in pursuit of a Baldrige Award, and the way we do business is...Systems Thinkers, Action Plans, Data...

Our retreat focused on taking our journey to world class to the next level. We are attempting to change the way we do things. We are committed to the idea of CI - continuous improvement, performance excellence, and quality and equity for all staff and students. We strive to make CI not an option but rather the way we do business. Our mission is based on high expectations for all, embodies the belief that all children can and will learn, and we are embarking to embed it in every aspect of our system. Our mantra, show me the empirical evidence will demand that everything we do is supported by evidence!

Recently I read Leadership Freak's post on PAIN Damn that hurt... and it reminded me of our process for problem solving - SMOGp (Specific, Measurable, Objective, Gap, pain)

SMOGp is a way of developing problem statements that do not suggest an answer or cause, and they capture the gap between what is and where we would like to be - and most importantly the small p expressed the PAIN - We need to embrace the pain as a means to grow, improve, and become the world class district our vision so easily sets as our destination. When organizations, schools in particular, ignore the pain by finding comforting excuses for why the desired outcome isn't met they miss out on the opportunity to improve. Almost every district or school in the world states, "we believe all children can and will learn", but many fail to come close to achieving that. It isn't because they aren't good schools or good people, but rather achieving that level of excellence means you must be willing to endure the pain in order to find a better way. You must be willing to reallocate resources even if they are set aside for sacred programs. To achieve excellence - you must be willing to flip everything on its head. Willing to change everything does not mean you do so just to change, but rather it simply means if the empirical evidence - data- suggests you should change you will.

From our journey...