So, we’ve set goals, determined the aligned strategic actions, and provided the development and coaching needed to support leaders to perform. To get results, people need to apply the standardized behaviors consistently and well. The goal is to shift validation from compliance only to a quarterly review of the individual execution of the action.
Validation is a formal process for leaders to determine how well “Always Behaviors” are carried out. Is the team executing these behaviors with high quality and producing the expected results? Below is a review of the validation process using Leader Rounding as an example:
Dr. Steve Sperry is Director of Administrative and Human Resources in the School District of Janesville in Wisconsin. In that role, Dr. Sperry supervises and evaluates school leaders. Each semester, he presents a leader rounding schedule to school leaders that defines expectations for the number of times school leaders will round with staff. Dr. Sperry validates in two ways: at a monthly meeting and by accompanying school principals on their rounds. School leaders are expected to keep a rounding log for each rounding session and to post and update a Stoplight Report, which includes the status of processes that can be improved and the resources needed.
At the meeting, Dr. Sperry verifies the number of teachers and staff on the rounding log and then asks the leader, “What are the main things you have learned from this past 45 days after rounding with teachers and staff? “What are the wins?” What areas are of greatest concern?” In this way, he engages the school leader in a process-improvement conversation by capitalizing on the wins and noting the issues. The school leaders have a meeting with an action plan for engaging teachers and staff to create improvements.
So, why is validation important?
Solid and high-performing leaders want validation processes in place because they realize it makes them better and more accountable. They’ve also learned, at first, superintendents and senior leadership teams tend not to see the need for validating. When results slip, one quickly realizes that the missing piece of the puzzle is a clear validation process for those actions and processes, in which doing them always is the only option.