When my oldest daughter started counting, she'd start at four. At first I would correct her but then I thought better of it: you have to start somewhere, why not at four? Eventually one, two, and three would fall into place.
And here we find ourselves at the start of a new year. For some, a chance to start over. Start fresh. For others, a chance to...Start Where, exactly? Whether you are refreshed by a new year, overwhelmed by it, or somewhere in the middle, we're giving you a place to start with your Leadership Team. A chance to reflect on where you've been, envision where you might go, and talk about what matters most in how you will get there.
The activity requires three things: 1) read a short article, 2) look at a matrix, 3) have a discussion
First, the article:
Building and Leading High Performing Teams, by Chris Musselwhite. It appeared on Inc.com in 2007. You can get the article here: http://www.inc.com/resources/leadership/articles/20070101/musselwhite.html
Next, the matrix:
The article incorporates many of the indicators of effective practice that you work to implement in your schools and classrooms. I thought it also cross-referenced a few of the recommendations included in the Institute for Education Science (IES) practice guide for turnaround schools (which are really practices that are good for most schools).
The matrix includes the Leader Competencies cited in the article across the top and the indicators of effective practice (those found in Indistar and a few that I extracted from the IES practice guide) along the side. How would you complete the matrix? What overlap do you see between the competencies and the indicators of effective practice? To get you started, we’ve completed the first line for you. Of course, there are no right or wrong answers. Just an opportunity for you and your team members to think about leadership.
Here is the activity description and the matrix, in one document: 2015_matrix.docx
Third, the discussion:
The article cites a description of leadership teams from The Wisdom of Teams (Harvard Business School Press, 1993.):
"A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable."
Questions + Ideas:
- What would you change, if anything, about this definition?
- Does it fit the current status and understandings of your Leadership Team?
- As a team, talk about what skills you bring, what you value in others, what you envision as your common purpose.
- Think about how you are using Indistar to achieve your performance goals and hold yourselves mutually accountable.
- Where would you like to see improvement (in your own work, in your work as a team, in supporting one another and teachers to implement indicators of effective practice, in using Indistar to advance, monitor, and communicate progress)?
- What do you want to do a better job of in 2015?
Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools, IES Practice Guide: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practice_guides/Turnaround_pg_04181.pdf