Ask any individual in a school, a district - even an organization - what is the most important aspect of what they do and where they do it? Culture. The whole aspect of the environment and what that environment should be is often lost. Some environments encourage entrepreneurship; some environments stifle creativity; some environments encourage reaching out and making a statement. What is your culture? Answer the following questions:
- Are the 'baby boomers' in your school retiring?
- Are people put in new positions where the skill set may be less that what is required?
- Are people with knowledge and experience overlooked for advancement?
- Do you get up in the morning and want to go to your job?
All questions of environment and CULTURE! But, where does culture begin?
Joel Kurtzman in his book, Common Purpose, writes:
Secrets of a Successful Organization:
- Encourage collegiality and respect among people within the organization
- Make it clear that people have the authority to make decisisions
- If people have authority then let them make decisions
- Train them sufficiently so their decision-making skills are sound
- Encourage a few common approaches in decision-making
Decision-making is part and parcel of your organization (school or district). Good decision-making doesn't just 'happen'. As Kurtzman said, "Train them sufficiently so their decision-making skills are sound". Many school districts like Gaston County NC, Fulton County GA and Iredell-Statesville NC, have done just what Kurtzman preaches - they have chosen to equip their leaders with the skill set that builds a culture of a common decision-making process and language that gives a transparency to how decisions are made.
As you look at the decisions you make, can you define your process? Can you share it with others? And, does it stand the ultimate test: If you had it to do over, would you make the same choice?