Start slow, build the foundation.
Most would agree adopting a continuous improvement effort is good for a team or an organization. However, after implementing improvement science, many leaders find themselves wondering if they are in fact making any improvements and find it difficult to define and sustain progress. In this episode, Superintendent Ryan Carpenter, Estacada School District, discusses why his team made a commitment to adopting a continuous improvement mindset and implementing Evidence-Based Leadership℠ framework across the school system, and the difference it has made a year later. Ryan’s approach to starting small and putting people first not only transformed their lives and work environment, it also prepared them to collectively face the challenge COVID-19 would bring to their community.
This episode addresses questions, such as:
- How can organizations build a foundation for continuous improvement work?
- What is the impact of Evidence-Based Leadership℠ on an organization’s culture?
- Why is it critical for leaders to put people first?
What is organizational excellence, and how do we get it? It's not enough for organizations to be good. For those who want to be the top and timeless choice in the market, excellence must be the goal. Organizational excellence is achieved by focusing on culture and strategy.
Educators have always dealt with change, but the environment we’re navigating now requires change at a new level. Numerous other industries, including healthcare, have likewise moved from experiencing episodic change to this new paradigm where change is continuous. To survive and thrive in such a climate, successful organizations focus on continuous improvement and innovation efforts.
As leaders, we must always work to close the loop to explain where we stand in achieving the action for improvement. Most of us have access to a lot of data. When the data are reviewed, we want to use the data for improvement. The first step to improvement is acting on the information. The 90 Day Action Plan is a structured process to move to action.
How we communicate matters. When we model positive and respectful communication, we set the example and expectation for how to interact in our organization. When we practice the opposite approach, we establish a culture of blame. Quint Studer, the founder of Studer Group says, “One of the most damaging characteristics in a company’s culture is called We/They.
When teams are experiencing immense change or periods of disruption, leaders can bring attention to the priorities by creating routine leader huddles to test ideas, monitor progress, and learn as changes are implemented. This structured daily meeting helps to create the consistency people crave during change. The purpose is to connect, provide updates and actions, and raise awareness to foreseen barriers.
The most successful organizations encourage communication and information sharing outside of specific teams and departments. Barriers can be the result of teams in different locations, hierarchies in the workplace, excessive workloads, comfort zones, and lack of organization wide transparency. To bust through the existing barriers, enlist the help of a problem-solving barriers team.