The key issues are to gauge how well the team communicates, aligns around top CIWP priorities, creates short term and long-term plans, and holds themselves accountable to deliver the results. At Fernwood we know this, but know that the team lacks the skills to make sure these issues are addressed on an ongoing basis. We can refer to these skills as the “soft issues” because we don’t see how they are measurable or quantifiable and therefore don’t believe they are as important to performance as more typical indicators of success. Yet research shows clearly that these skills and disciplines are the biggest levers that enable high performance teams close the performance gap. The team rarely tracks performance against the CIWP strategic priorities because they have not been given the necessary tools that this work doable. From an administrative standpoint, the principal may or may not know how a team is progressing, and lot may get lost translation due to poor communication and follow-through. Performance issues are invisible to the leader, in part because there’s no mechanism for monitoring the progress of the team. Finally, the lack of strategy fosters a culture of underperformance for this team.
The leader must start by accepting that your people are his business. More than a strategy, people are the key to your success. To transform the school, he has to plan to transform people. The principal must develop a plan to get people to work together in a powerful way, taking personal responsibility for their own performance, as well as that of the overall vision, will generate measurable improvement every time. The secret lies in making sure that everyone on the team, including the principal, has the right attitude and is taking the right actions to produce results, over and over again.
Here are the key strategic moves to make this happen at Fernwood.
1 Include everyone in a six month planning session. While the leader may already know best what’s needed for the team, he should not make the plan on his own or with just a few key people. It may be necessary to think about the key strategic objectives, but as soon as possible include everyone in your top team in the creation of the real plan that’s going to drive the business for the next few months. Including people makes all the difference to their performance. They have a chance to let you know how things look from their perspective, giving them the experience of being valued and giving the leader the benefit of their experience and insight. We’ve learned time and again the truth of the statement that people will not destroy that which they have helped to create. Allow a full day for this session. The principal should let everyone know that he values their input and want them to be part of planning the rest of the year. While he may be right that he knows best, there is little evidence that plans made in isolation lead to high level performance.
2 Review what happened in the past and learn...