One of my focus points this year is to improve community outreach and engagement with my school community. For many boards and superintendents, this is an area that can challenge and frustrate all involved. When shareholders feel they aren't informed or that their voice isn't being heard, they express frustration and can eventually develop a negative impression of the district or school. Often, the school district feels they have provided information in multiple ways so they become frustrated to hear that their message wasn't communicated.
Ultimately, it boils down to one question: "How do you even begin to define communication?" You have probably heard the old saying, "Communication is a two-way street" said after communication breaks down. Can you actually quantify and measure "good communication and community engagement"?
I began trying to answer that question earlier this year. In an effort to demonstrate our Systems Approach here, I am going to share the notes, flowcharts, and other project artifacts as they exist (and unfold) - unedited in many cases.
For this project I am using the KANO Model to embark on defining what good communication and community engagement means. KANO Explained
Essentially, we are seeking to define the Customer Voice and Define the current performance - or process of communication and engagement so that we can begin to improve upon it. Using a flowchart to capture the 'as is' process from the organization of a school event (or simply any contact our parents/community has with the district) through the customer's opinion being formed will help us look to improve it. We will seek to clearly define the customer voice - quantify exactly what it is that our shareholders expect from us - in the KANO Model, they are categorized in three groups: Must Be's, Satisfier's, and Delighter's. The Must Be's are, well, Musts. If they are not there total dissatisfaction- the customer will go elsewhere! The Satisfier's are the things that deliver a satisfied customer - more is better - while they improve satisfaction if they are missing the customer will likely stay, and a Delighter are the things that the customer did not even know they wanted but delight them. As in all continuous improvement efforts, today's Delighter becomes tomorrow's Satisfier and then a Must Be. Example, there was a time when a radio in a car was delighter, then it became standard, (with a CD changer) - now, you would likely never buy a car without a radio (most demand Bluetooth, GPS, Heated seats etc...) Cars today are being designed to actually stop before you hit something (just in case you aren't paying attention)...someday, that will be a standard feature.
Currently, we have developed a survey that is being administered to superintendents, administrators, and districts to capture what others use as "best practices" to engage and communicate with their constituents. I will share the results once finished. If you want to participate in the survey please go to Community Engagement & Communication We will then survey the community in order to define their voice - what are their expectations?
Here is the draft Flowchart that captures the "as is" current performance. It is critically important at this phase of any improvement effort that you do not get caught up in what it should be, but rather, simply capture to the best of your ability what is. So often, we begin trying to fix a lose problem without clearly defining it...
I am excited about the potential this improvement project has to improve the way we serve our customers and engage our community. I look forward to sharing the results as we move forward.