Tuesday, May 06, 2014

My own unexpected journey - "There and Back Again"

There and Back Again - " Not like the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins but it looks like I may be headed for another unexpected journey back in to our school (I was Dean of Students) and it's daily inter-workings. My hope is to be an effective "Change" leader and not just another bureaucratic administrator.

Click on Pic to Enlarge- see "quote" over my shoulder

In most school settings officials are known as administrators (Business world = managers and supervisors). What often is lacking is a good leader.

I have often written on the subject of leadership - http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/12/leadership-knowledge-management-people.html.

My inner being DNA has always been to be the best leader but I must say there is a difference. You can be a good manager, administrator or supervisor and not be a great leader.

You can be a great leader but not necessary a good manager, administrator or supervisor. How does one become good at all? As always I think the best way is to define the purpose of these titles and then aspire to become all without confusing one for the other. It's like Dr. Deming said "Information and "Knowledge" - are not the same so lets not confuse the two.

I can use my own experiences to determine the differences. Most times as an administrator (Education), manager or supervisor (Business) I would be expected to carry out the plans, work or directives that were established by someone other than me and in most cases even from those above me in the hierarchy.

Often times we followed orders because someone established them and it was expected. The assignments did not enlighten or motivate us to do the work. We did the work because it was our job and those above us (Administrators, Manager, Supervisors) "guided" us because we all needed a paycheck and were in fear of losing our jobs if we did not produce results. We followed because we had to or face the consequences.

Often times we had no idea as to "Why" the work was required especially if we were the customer facing employees (Teachers, Workers) that knew how the work should be done.

A good leader will direct others by being a good communicator - I used to call it a "Transformer."

Transformer – This is where I need to provide an environment for us to excel, where we can have some fun, and if we make a mistake, we learn from it, share the knowledge and go forward. Where change, while often out of our control, is discussed, but more importantly where we as a team can control change and that we also try to control our own destiny.

For example - here are some good traits:

- Lead, Not Control
- Seek Profound Knowledge (System, Variation, Knowledge, Psychology)
- Seek constancy of purpose
- Seek constant improvement
- Take Risks ( if they go bad, serve/protect your people)
- Be willing to experiment
- Embrace (not encourage) error or defects for learning when they happen
- Plan, Measure and respond/predict the future
- Make the hard decisions when required
- Welcome Change and be flexible

Then provide the following method (Six Es) that I developed years ago so people will "VOLUNTARILY" and want to follow and not because they too.

ENVISION – It is my job to relate/communicate to you the corporate, departmental, etc… objectives into a meaningful AIM or purpose for us to follow.

Caution: If the vision cannot be described in a short amount of time (i.e., 15 minutes or less) then you have not thoroughly planned, measured  and communicated a vision that will be successful. If you force the change it may happen but it will not be manageable or sustainable.

ENLIGHTEN (Pre-requisite to Enablement) – This is where we as a Team create an awareness, understanding and sense of urgency as to what is expected of us to meet the objectives.

Caution: If your audience is not excited or at least interested in a short amount of time (i.e., 15 minutes or less) then you may be in for a very tough time in implementing valued change. If the top echelon of leaders do not believe and equally importantly communicate and actively live out the proposed changes nothing will take place.

ENABLE (Pre-requisite to Empower) – Provide the tools, training and education to do the job in order to meet the objectives.

Caution: If you do not seek, serve and gather input from your people that are to do the work and manage the change you have done nothing other that was has been done time and time again and that is create fear, mistrust and non-value added change.

EMPOWER (Pre-requisite to Encourage) – Based on previous EEEs, provide by which we are to operate with each function/process of our work.

Caution: If the culture/environment has not been prepared/nurtured for change it will be short-lived and will not take hold. Effective leaders are sensitive to the challenges facing workers in a changing environment. Not empowering them with the authority, skills and tools to make change happen then you are doomed for another failed attempt for an efficient and effective change. Also, if you do not allow obstacles (That means people too) to be removed from preventing the change you failed as a leader.

EXECUTE (Pre-requisite to Empower) - Based on previous EEEEs, provide the methods and procedures (As developed by all stakeholders) by which we are to operate with each function/process of our work.

Caution: If you do not establish process and quality measures that can identify errors/mistakes then learning and growth will not take place. True learning and change must come through testing and correcting mistakes for improvement. If "Fear of Failure" is evident then people will provide you with false readings and numbers that will eventually leave the change effort in a tampered and damaged state.

ENCOURAGE - Recognize and nurture behaviors for on-going improvements and culture change. Each of us has the responsibility to recognize and praise the good work done by others.

Caution: If you do not celebrate short-wins along the implementation route then long-term change will not take place. Praise and encouragement that is delegated is worthless. Get your butt to where the work is being done.

Here is a PIC (Copyright Protected) that also describes the 6 Es:

Click on Pic to Enlarge

Thus you have a good leader who is also a good administrator, manager or supervisor.

Additional Posts on Educational Change:


Here is an old post but still relevant to the topic: