How to Hold Everyone Accountable #LikeABuilder
Note: School Leadership Reimagined is produced as a podcast and designed to be listened to, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.
You're listening to the School Leadership Reimagined Podcast, episode number thirty seven.
Welcome to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast...
where we rethink what's possible to transform your school. If you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stay tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now, here's your host, Robyn Jackson.
Welcome to another episode of school leadership reimagined. I'm your host Robyn Jackson, and today we're in the fourth episode of a four episode arc about the four disciplines of buildership: feedback, support, accountability, and culture.
We've been talking about the four disciplines because really if you are going to reach your vision, achieved your mission and live out your core values in your school, they are the only four things you can do to move teacher practice, change teacher attitudes and stay focused on your goals. And once you understand that there are only really four ways that you can impact teacher practice and you choose to focus only on these four disciplines every single day, then the hundred and one things that you're currently worried about doing everyday will just evaporate.
You see, I think that many of us are under the mistaken notion that in order to reach our vision for our school, we have to run around doing 101 things, trying to repair everything that's, that's broken first. And we put undue pressure on ourselves to quote unquote fix our schools.
So we grab every new program or we latch on to every new quote unquote best practice and, and we run ourselves ragged trying to patch all the holes in our instructional program or convert all of our teachers or, or clean up every single math and fix everything that's wrong with our culture first before we feel like we can actually move forward towards our vision, mission and core values.
We're so busy tweaking and fixing that we don't have time to do the work that we really want to be doing.
You know, I love old houses and in fact I live in a house, it's almost a hundred years old. It's great. It has high ceilings, it's got a gorgeous moldings is kind of a lot of character. It also has a hundred thousand little problems. And every time I fixed one wall, another wall cracks.
So every time we repair, you know, some aspect of the faulty wiring, a sink starts to leak. Or every time I patch a hole in the rough, I get a leak in the foundation. Now I love this house, so I do it. But I realized that when I bought it, I would either spend the rest of my life in this house patching and making repairs, or I could go out and build something better. And at the time when I bought the house, I didn't really have the money or to to gut it and to start all over.
So I thought, you know, how bad could it be? I'll just patch the holes, I'll make a few repairs, it'll be great. And then I had a sigh as I live in a house for a while. Then maybe I can start making repairs later on and maybe I could get it later on when I have more money. But after being in the house for a while, I now see the folly of my ways. I've invested a lot of money, patching and fixing and repairing the house, but in many cases I've only made superficial improvements.
The house looks good, but there's always another crack, always under their leak. Always another problem. Why? Well, because beneath those gorgeously painted walls is still really old wiring. And what I should have done is in order to really fix this house, I'd have to tear out everything and start all over, down from scratch, rebuilding this house from scratch. So I live with it for now, but one day whether I want to or not, I'm going to have to stop fixing and stop repairing and actually got this house and build something better. Well, it's the same thing with your schools, right?
We spend a lot of time, unfortunately fixing and repairing and patching our schools.
You know, we know we have a culture problem, but instead of rebuilding our culture, we put bandaids on it. Like having an end of the year party or putting joy notes and staff boxes and try to make up for the fact that our teachers are overwhelmed, they're overworked. Um, they're, they're, they're not getting along with each other. So instead of rebuilding our culture, we just put a bandaid on it.
Or we know that instruction isn't really where it should be and that some teachers are really not teaching the way that they should be teaching. But instead of dealing with the teachers directly and helping make serious changes to their practice, we go in, we model lessons, we give them books to read, we offer them advice that results in tweaks here or there, but no real change to their practice.
We know that discipline is an issue with our students and that our students need more support, but instead of restructuring our school to give them the support that they need, we buy new curriculum or new program or we hope that some other thing will fix the problem. And we keep thinking that if we patch this problem or tweak that problem or repair this issue, somehow it's going to result in a better school. Well it doesn't.
The only way to fix what's broken in your school is to actually build a better school.
And when I say build a better school, it's, it's really quite simple.
The first thing you need to do is you have to set a bigger vision, a bigger mission, a bigger set of core values. And you know, I say this all the time, people think, uh, you know, they, they, they dismiss it all we did mission and then ask them, okay, what's your mission statement? And they can't tell me.
So you might have gone through a vision exercise, our mission exercise before, but if it's alive in, in, in a, in a folder or a binder somewhere in the shelf and it's not alive in the halls of your school of it's not driving the work of your school, then you need to set a bigger vision. You need to revisit your mission. You need to set some clear core values for your school. You know, so the first thing is you've got to do that.
The second step is you need to, uh, you, you, you go out after you've set this vision, this mission is core values and you maintain them and use them to achieve your goals. And the way you maintain them is by practicing the four disciplines of builder ship. So once you have your core values, your vision and your mission set, the way that you actually make them alive in your school is you are constantly giving people feedback around how they are moving towards those core values, vision and mission. You're constantly supporting them. So they're empowered to make the, you know, to move closer to those core values, vision and mission. You're constantly tweaking your culture so that it aligns with your core values, vision and mission. And you are constantly helping people be accountable to the core values, vision, and mission.
So number one, set your vision, mission, and core values. Number two, maintain them consistently by practicing the four disciplines of builder ship. And then number three, you'll have a bigger impact than you ever thought possible. That's it.
That's why over the last several episodes, I've been spending a lot of time talking about the four disciplines of builders ship because when you practice these, you stay laser focused on your vision, mission, and core values, and you keep everybody in your school laser focus on your vision, mission, and core values.
Now, so far we've talked about three of the four disciplines. We talked about how culture helps keep everybody engaged in the work and that moves you closer to your vision, mission, and core values. We talked about how feedback helps everybody own your vision, mission, and core values for themselves and use your vision, mission, and core values to guide their own growth.
And then we talked about how support empowers everybody to carry out your vision, mission, and core values in their day to day work. And today we're going to talk about how accountability keeps everybody aligned to your vision, mission, and core values.
Accountability: It's about alignment.
Now I feel a little sorry for the word accountability because it's usually used to me that we're going to beat somebody up for something that they didn't do. And so accountability gets a bad rap. In fact, most accountability efforts are really drenched in, in shame and blame and judgment. Somebody fails to hit a benchmark. So we shame them with data or force them to adopt a new protocol or flock into their classrooms and give them quote unquote, constructive feedback. And then we hope that the numbers will change by the next benchmark or else, or somebody fails to come in on time or turn the grades in our time, or they miss a duty and we slammed the desk and we say they need to be held accountable.
So we write them up and we threatened them with disciplinary action. You know, we often see it. Accountability is something that we do to other people rather than thinking about, you know, something different. We hold people accountable, we implement accountability measures. But let me ask you something. When you hold somebody accountable, who's doing the work, who's ultimately responsible?
Remember way back in episode 30 when I talked about how to hold a boundary like a builder. Well, if you're doing most of the work, if you're being punished as a result of holding somebody else accountable, then who's really being accountable.
I mean, wouldn't it be better if everyone of your building took ownership over their own growth and felt a real sense of responsibility for their own behavior? Wouldn't it be better if everybody in your building cared about the work just as much, if not more than you did? I mean, wouldn't it be better if instead of spending all of your time chasing and checking and correcting others, you could trust everyone to do the right thing even when you weren't checking right now, we're running ourselves ragged trying to hold everybody accountable. Stop. You don't have to do that.
You don't have to make others do the right thing and you don't always have to be the bad guy.
There is a better way you can build a school where everyone shares in the responsibility for moving your school towards the vision, mission, and core values and you can build a school where everybody is committed to doing the right thing.
Here's something else. You can build a school where everybody is aligned and focused and doing the right work the right way. And you can do all of this if you practice the discipline of accountability like a builder.
But before we dive in to talk about how you do that,
first I want to tell you one of my favorite parts of builders lab. So the first few days of builders lab, you're going to set your vision, your mission, and your core values, and then you're going to learn how to practice the four disciplines of Buildership.
So we're going to go on deep about how to do, how to give people feedback. That's really powerful, how to use sure fire support to support your teachers, how to build a better culture and how to help people be accountable. And we're going to use those four disciplines in the service of helping you achieve your vision, mission, and core values. So that's cool. I'd love that part of builders lab.
But on day three, day three is my favorite part because on day three you're actually going to create your own builder's blueprint and that's going to chart your unique pathway to achieving your goals. And the reason I love day three is because a lot of times we go to conferences, we learn a lot, we hear some cool things, then we get back to our schools and we say, okay, yeah, what was the thing I learned at the conference? Oh yeah, I'm going to do that. But as soon as you walk in, you're slammed because everybody's been waiting for you to get back. Even though we're doing these over the summer, I know you have a ton of stuff to do over the summer already. And so a lot of times when you go home from a conference, you go home with the best of intentions and yet you still don't get anything done.
But at builder's lab, we have thought about that, we've heard that complaint and we don't want that to happen to you. So we have built in accountability of builder's lab and that happens on day three because once you create your builder's blueprint the rest of day three it's really about implementation.
We have an implementation lab and we've been playing around with implementation labs for the last couple of years. Really trying to figure out how to make them the most effective and I think we've finally figured it out because during the implementation lab you will have your builder's blueprint.
You're going to pull out a calendar, you're going to start putting dates on the calendar. You're going to start creating a change agenda so that when you go back to your school you will have already gotten started. The won't be just some great idea or fun time I had at a conference. You will have gotten something done before you get back to your school and summer is the perfect time to go to builders lab because that's a time where you're making your plans anyway. That's a time when you're gearing up your school year, so we are going to have to builders labs this summer.
The first one is builder's lab one and that's happening June 24 through 26 in palm springs, California. The second one is also builder's lab one, so the one in California, we're calling builder's lab one west and the one in Arlington, Virginia, right outside of Washington DC is builder's lab one east. They have the exact same content. The only difference is that builder's lab east, we'll have a special session just for instructional coaches, so if you are a school administrator or district administrator, either conference will work for you. If you're an instructional coach you can come to either conference but builders lab east, we'll have a special session just for instructional coaches.
You can learn about both of those builders labs and get your tickets to both of those builders labs by going to mindstepsinc.com/builders-lab. That's mindstepsinc.com/builders-lab and I have to tell you that tickets and we've had an upswing of tickets now that everybody's off spring break, everybody's getting their pos and so it's filling up pretty quickly so you don't want to wait for builder's lab.
And if you're working on getting a PO, why don't you give us a call or shoot us an email at the office and let us know that you're coming so that we can make sure we hold your ticket for you and you can reach us at the office at (888) 565-8881 or you can output a booking link so that you can set up an appointment and schedule a call to speak with somebody in the office. I'll put that in the show notes.
Okay. Now, now that we've talked about how you can be more accountable to yourself this summer by coming to Builder's Lab, let's talk about the way that leaders typically hold teachers accountable. So what leaders typically do is they either try to reward good behavior or they punish bad behavior.
Basically it's it's carrots and sticks.
Now, I've already talked about the flaws of this approach in episode 30 where it talked about how to hold a boundary, and so I'll link to episode 30 and the show notes, but I'm not going to go into it again here.
If you want to hear about why that doesn't work, make sure you listen to episode 30 instead. I want to talk about another aspect of accountability that leaders often neglect and it's really the secret weapon for builders. In fact, it's the main reason that builders are able to grow and accountable organization. Are you ready to do here? The secret? Okay, here it is. Builders go first. Builders don't expect others to be more accountable than they are being themselves. Builders go first. So if you want teachers to use data to make better instructional decisions, then how consistently are you using data to inform the work that you're doing as a school or if you want teachers to support struggling students, how much support are you giving them? The struggling teachers? If you want teachers to come in on time, how often are you starting your meetings on time or getting feedback to teachers on time?
How often are you dismissing teachers on time from staff meetings? You know, you want teachers to actively participate in PD and apply with their learning to their own practice. But when was the last time that you were actively engaged in your own PD and use it to improve your own performance? You see, you've got to be who you want to see. And if you aren't being accountable yourself, you can't hold anybody else accountable. It's just that simple. And Hey, I'm really guilty of this myself. I used to get mad when a team member showed up late for a meeting until I realized that I started meetings late all the time. Maybe one or two minutes, but it was still late. It was okay for me to be late, but when somebody else's late, well it's, you know, I thought it was like an unpardonable sin bill.
You want to see Robyn? That's what I have to keep saying to myself. I used to get mad when my team didn't deliver our work product on time and fuss and rail about how important it was to keep with deadlines and you know, but when I really thought about it, I missed deadlines all the time except when I'm with them. I always had a great excuse. I had a horrible flight delay. I didn't get home to 2:00 AM and I was exhausted from a last trip, or the creative juices just weren't flowing this morning or I was working on my book all night. And so, you know, whatever, these are all great excuses. They all sound that legitimate because they were my excuses, but I wasn't accepting an excuses from my team. They also had equally quote unquote, legitimate excuses. You know, again, be who you want to see, Robin.
You know, I used to get mad that we weren't getting enough done as a company until I realized that every time I read a new book or, or listen to a new podcast or, or went to a conference, I would hear a great idea and that I come back to the office and change our entire business plan. So we were stuck because we just kept changing courses again, be who you want to see.
You see whenever I go work in a school or a district and the administrator tells me that their teachers need to be more accountable, I almost always find that it's not the teachers who need to be more accountable.
It's the administrator. I'll give you an example. I was doing the workshop with principals and assistant principals this spring and I was taking them through the builder's blueprint. So if you don't know what that is, basically it's a process that we use to help people figure out what their core values, vision and mission are.
And then we help them figure out what's the biggest constraint, getting in the way of their core values are achieving their core values. Vision. And mission. And then we show them a pathway to success. So it's really about creating your own success path. And then from there you build that into a change agenda or a 90 day plan to move your school forward. So that's what we were doing. So we were working on this builder's blueprint and you know, it's, it's a really cool thing, but, and we're working on his success path. So basically the success path is that, you know, you, you, you answered this question, we want students to do x, so teachers need to do y. So we as the builders in the building need to do z. So you trace things back to figure out what does everybody need to be doing right now to move us closer to our goal.
And so we were working on his success Plath and he did a pretty good job of using data to identify what the students needed to do, what, what has to change for students in order for them to reach their goal. And then, you know, the next part came when we figured out what teachers needed to do and he basically said, you know, the teachers need to just do their jobs. And I was like, well, okay, which part of their jobs exactly. And that's where he got stuck. So we worked through that for a while and he determined that teachers needed to do more to foster student ownership, especially over their behavior. They're having some behavioral problems. Teachers weren't really holding kids accountable, you know? Okay. So far so good. But then we got to, okay, so what are you need to do as the, the administrator in the building to help teachers help kids be take more ownership.
And that's where he got stuck. It may immediately he looked at it for a while. It's either one of four things. Do they need more feedback? Do they need more support? Do they need more accountability or is it a culture issue? And after you looked at it for a minute, he said, oh, definitely accountability. So I asked him why and he said, the teachers aren't doing it, so I need to hold him accountable for doing it. It's not that I challenged him a little bit and I said, well, have we trained the teachers on how to foster more ownership? And that's when he got kind of indignant. He started complaining about the teachers.
Well, it turns out he was really wrestling with the different problem.
You see, he was losing a lot of his new teachers because they complain that some of the established teachers weren't pulling their own weight.
So these established teachers weren't doing things like showing up for their assigned lunch duty or share their lesson plans during collaborative planning time or even show up for collaborative planning time. And they didn't turn in their grades on time and on and on and on. And when he finished venting, I asked him, okay, so what happens when a teacher doesn't show up for lunch duty? And then they got this pension look on his face. And at first he didn't say anything and he said, well, the Admin team is doing other things. That Lens. So a lot of times we don't know that they haven't shown up from lunch duty unless somebody tells us pitsa remember, be who you want to see. So I asked him if you're not showing up for lunch duty, why do you expect the teachers to, well that went over really well as you can imagine.
He got mad at me and then he said he didn't have time to spend all of his time checking up on other teachers for something that they know they should be doing it. And you know, yeah, I get it. Except the expectation and the building was that the administrators will be at lunch with the teachers. So when the, from the teacher's perspective via administration was shirking their duty and so if they didn't show up, why should the teachers again be who you want to see? Just about every accountability problem you have in your school starts with you. I always say this, the fish rots from the head and people hate me when I say that. I hate hearing it, especially when it comes to my own organization. But it's true it most accountability problems start at the top.
So before you go facade a teacher, you need to ask yourself self, have I been accountable?
And that doesn't mean that you shouldn't help a teacher be more accountable. What it does mean is that accountability starts with you. You think I get people asking me all the time, what do you do about a teacher who doesn't do this? Or what do I do about a teacher who won't do that? And I think that's the wrong question. Instead, the first question I ask is what is it about our current environment that makes that behavior acceptable? I mean, it's a totally different question. So if I have teachers who are constantly coming to meetings late, I wonder what can I change in the way that we conduct the meetings that would help everybody get there on time and want to be there on time. Or if I have teachers who aren't, I don't know, posting grades on time or they're not communicating regularly with parents, then the first question I'm always asking is what is it about our current environment that makes that behavior okay?
Are you not constantly hitting your improvement goals each year? Again, ask yourself the question, what is it about the environment that makes it okay to consistently underperform? And here's what I usually discover. It's usually something I'm not doing now. Don't you give me the stink eye. I'm just the Messenger. You see, you gotta be who you want to see. If you don't start here, if you don't embrace the idea of being who you want to see first, then you're going to continually waste all of your time and all of your energy chasing and checking and correcting people instead of galvanizing people to build a better school. If you don't start with you, if you don't assess you first, then you will get mad at everybody else and never deal with what it's probably the root cause of the problem. Now, if you've seen the boss leader build their chart that we have out, you can find on our website, I'll link to it in the show notes, but if you've ever seen that chart, one of the big differences between a boss, a leader and a builder is this.
I say this all the time. Bosses say go. They ask people to do things that they haven't done themselves. Leaders say, let's go. So that's a little bit better, right? You're walking alongside of people, you're being accountable, they're being accountable. But here's the difference between leaders and builders. Leaders stay with everybody else or stay a couple of steps ahead. Builders go first. Builders don't say go. They don't say, let's go. They say come. They are inviting people to do something they've already done. And when you do that, when you're inviting people to someplace you've already been or to do something, you've already done, things change. You're not saying, let's all try to be more accountable together. You're saying, I've been accountable and here are the results. Here's what I was able to build by being accountable. So come join me. Join me in building this bigger thing.
Join me and aligning your work with my work. So together we can build something that neither of us could imagine that was possible before we got started.
That's the difference. So how do you do that? How do you realistically be who you want to see? Go first and help everybody be accountable rather than spending all of your time and energy holding people accountable? Well, the answer is really simple. You build accountability into the very structure of your school. It becomes a total part of your school structure. Because here's the thing about accountability. The reason that we often fail at it, it's because once you start trying to hold people accountable, you can't let up so you can't get distracted because the moment you let up, then people go back to doing what they already do. It's exhausting, but when you build it into your structure, you don't have to monitor it.
You don't have to, you know, get up every day and check it. It's made obvious. You know, when I was a teacher, I really struggled with the idea that during the mid point in the marking period, I would sit down and kind of add up grades so that I could turn in or it's send out progress reports and I was always shocked at the number of students who are falling behind and I hadn't realized it. They were slipping through the cracks. I thought they were doing fine, but when I started calculating the grades and looking at the cumulative, um, you know, calculation for the grades, I started seeing, oh no, these kids are doing worse than I thought. I don't feel horrible because a lot of times by the time the progress report came home, we'd gone so far in the marketing period that there really wasn't a lot that kids could do to catch up.
Especially if kids had really kind of fallen off a cliff pretty quickly. It's, I have to figure out a way, how do I, I am not good about checking that kind of thing every single day. So how do I find a way to build it into my process so I don't have to think about it? I don't know. I have to remind myself to go check. It's just right there in front of me and it's someplace that I cannot ignore. And so what I did was we were just starting an electronic grade book. And so what I did is I programmed my grade book to turn every child who was earning below an 80% cumulatively in my class. At any given moment, it would turn their name read on my attendance sheet, so every day when I logged in to take attendance, I could see which kids grades had slipped below that 80% mark.
Which for me was really important because 80% for me was the, you know, the, the, the baseline mastery. I want every kid to get to at least 80% the moment I started doing that, I didn't have to remind myself every day. It was just obvious. It was right there in front of me. It changed the way that I dealt with kids because every single day when I took attendance, I had a daily reminder that not all of my kids were achieving and I created a whole support system that I just embedded in the culture of my classrooms. I didn't have to think about it. The moment of kid triggered one of my red flags. They got automatic support, so therefore I didn't have to remind myself, oh, I need to follow up with this kid. All this kid is really struggling. I need to do something about it.
It's hard to keep up with 150-200 kids doing that. Once I embedded the support into the way that I taught my class, everybody got support automatically and when I did that, I did not have any student earning anything below a c in my class. You heard me once I changed that and made support, automatic Kitsap failing my class because they were getting the support they need and their support wasn't dependent on whether I remembered it or not. The support was what's built into the structure of my classroom. Now, if you want to learn more about that system, I wrote about it in a book how to support struggling students and I'll make sure that I link to that in the show notes, but don't miss the point. The point is this.
In order to help everybody, including you, stay accountable for things that are really important to you, you need to embed in your school culture.
So let's say that you know, you have a vision, mission and core values and the in years past you've sat down in the summertime, you created a school improvement plan. You've made these really kind of bold plans and then you start the year kind of focus on these plans and then as the year progresses you do less and less and less towards your plan. It kind of sits up on the shelf and then at the end of the year you're like, Oh man, I really wish that we said we're going to do this this year and we didn't do it. If that's your reality, then, then the way that you change that reality is you in bed, the accountability into your culture. And one of the most powerful ways that I know to embed accountability into the culture, it's just make it a part of our culture is the meeting rhythm. And I've talked about this before.
I've talked about the accountable meeting agenda and I think that's an episode 19, so we'll make sure that we link to episode 19 in the show notes as well. But here's the way the meeting rhythm works. If you want to stay focused on any goal, you need a meeting, Rhythm and union accountable meeting agenda. It's the only way I know. So even here at mindsteps, we have had goals in the past. We've never, you know, we've, we've not hit our goals or we meet and we say, yeah, we're not hitting our goals. We're looking at the data, which is not doing anything about them. And I don't know if that's, if you've ever done that, if you've ever looked at the data and said, yeah, our kids are not doing anything and we need to move forward. Or you know, these efforts aren't working and you just don't know what, how to fix it.
And so you kind of look at the data every month in a date is always bad and nothing improves. And every meeting is about talking about another problem and you just get stuck in that. And that circle of problem discussions, if that's your reality, the meeting rhythm, we'll build instant accountability. So the way the meeting rhythm works is that you have to set aside time regularly to revisit your goals, remove the obstacles to your goals, and consistently make progress towards your goal. So you need a yearly meeting and the yearly meeting, it's where you kind of set your goals for the year. You need a quarterly meeting, which is where you're checking in every single quarter, single quarter on your progress. And also identifying, okay, what actions are we going to take and the next 90 days that's going to help us reach our goals and how are we going to remove obstacles to reaching our goals for the year in the next 90 days?
What can we do in the next 90 days that will have a significant impact on our ability to reach our goals? So once you've established that at the quarterly meeting, you need to meet monthly to check in to figure out, okay, what's working? What's not working? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to start doing? What do we need to do less? What do we need to do more? And that's what happens at your monthly meeting. Then you need weekly meetings because every single week you want to be making progress towards your goals. So the weekly meetings are designed to help you say, okay, where are we? Are We on track? Are we off track? And if we're off track, what's the problem and how do we start solving these problems so that we can make sure we're on track towards our goals.
So every week you're going to come up with a to do list of things that are solving problems, removing obstacles to achieving goals. And then on your daily meetings you're checking in and say, okay, we said we were going to do x by the end of the week. How are you coming? What did you do today? What did you say you were going to do today? What did you do today? What were your obstacles that kept you from having a perfect day? And what are you going to do tomorrow when you establish that kind of meeting rhythm where you are meeting with your leadership team on a regular basis, you will get so much more done. I am telling you, I have a, it's, it's, it's really a life changing kind of thing, right? So I have a coaching group of principals that I'm working with right now and they report to me that they have, they're not even doing any perfectly, but they have started using the meeting rhythm and using these accountable agendas and people are like, I don't want to go into a meeting and be the one that I can get my work done.
So now everybody is accountable and everybody's moving at work.
You don't have to chase check. It's built into the, the, the structure of your school and guess what else? They are getting more done in a shorter period of time. That's what happens when you build accountability into the calendar until the meeting rhythm into the structure of how you do business. That's just one example, but you shouldn't underestimate the power of a meeting rhythm. I know it's not like sexy and you know like, but the meeting rhythm can be powerful. Even here at mindsteps we, I was really frustrated because I'd have all these big goals and dreams for what we wanted to accomplish and we weren't getting stuff done. All we were doing this every meeting, looking at the same data that tells us we were not getting stuff done. We switched to these agendas and this meeting rhythm and I'm telling you, we get so much stuff.
We get more done in 90 days and most people get done in a year. So the TIF embedding that accountability into the culture making. It's something that I don't have to think about. I don't have to, you know, force myself to go out and be accountable. It's just part of the culture. If you want teachers calling parents more than you need to build that into your schedule, you need to bill. I've seen school schedules where parents calls are a part of what they do every Thursday at team meetings. They are their team meeting. Their team meets every single day. On Thursdays they are calling parents. If you want teachers to support struggling students and do reteaching and retesting stuff, asking them to do it on their own time. Build time to do in the culture. One of the schools where I worked, we changed our master schedule and build in reteaching and reassessment as a part of the culture.
Guess what? The moment we did that we didn't have to go and Phys ed teachers for not reteaching and reassessing. There was a time in the day where everybody was doing it. We made it so obvious and so part of the structure that it was harder not to do it than it was to do it. If you want teachers to use benchmark testing, then how can you build that into your culture? If you want teachers to co plan but you've got one teacher in one end of the building and another teacher on the other ends of the building, how are they expected to co plan, put them together so that they are in the same hallway. Make sure that they have the same planning periods so that they can cope plan anything that you want done. If you build it into the structure of your culture, then you don't have to hold people accountable because you've helped them be accountable.
And here's the thing, we all struggle with accountability.
I know we often wish that we were more responsible or that we may deadlines that, you know, I do all the time. I I missed deadlines, I run late, I don't do something that I said I was going to do. And then what happens is that how it's beating myself up and wonder why can't I just be more responsible? Well, maybe you've done that too. Maybe you beat yourself up for missing deadlines or, or not reading your goals every single year or you beat yourself up because your school is, is it moving forward in the way that you want it to move? You're frustrated because you know that there are things that need to be done and you just can't seem to get them done. What instead of beating yourself up or beating up the other people around you, there is another way.
First of all, you have to be who you want to see. If you want people to start acting in a more accountable way, you'll have to go first. You have to be accountable and then once you've done that, then you start looking for ways to structure accountability into the very fabric of your school so that people don't have to make any extra effort to be accountable to your goals. It's built into the structure that often do anything extra. It's built into the very culture of your school. You do those two things and you will have a more accountable organization because that's how you build accountability into your school. Like a builder.
Now, before we go,
don't forget to get your ticket to builder’s lab. If you want to find out how to get everybody on board aligned with your vision, mission, and core values, and moving forward so that you can have a successful school year this year.
If you want to turn your school into a success story so that everybody is on board, even the naysayers and the people who are dragging their feet and the people you haven't been able to move in the paths, you want to learn how to do that, you need to come to builder's lab because the bill just like, that's exactly what we're going to be tackling. So to get your ticket for builder's lab. Just go to mindstepsinc.com/builders-lab.
And once you've done that, let me know on LinkedInhit me up on Linkedin, send me a message and let me know you're coming. So we can start connecting now so that by the time we see each other this summer, we will already be old friends.
So I also need a favor from you. What you mind leaving a review for this podcast? If you're not sure how to do that, there's a link on the show notes, just go to the show notes on schoolleadershipreimagined.com/episode37 and we have a link that walks you through how to write a review.
If you could go there and click that link and then leave an honest review on iTunes, it would really help other people find this podcast. Plus it gets me some really great feedback and shows me what I need to be doing to make sure that this stays valuable for you.
Maybe you are too shy to do a review, but you can still help me out because the other thing you can do is if you found today's podcast useful, would you mind sharing it with two people who you also think would benefit from this podcast?
Would you mind sharing this podcast with at least two other people this week to other people who may be struggling with accountability or maybe struggling with feedback or support our culture? If you could just share this podcast with them, then you could help them out. And also we can get the word out because the bigger this army of builders grows, the more that we can start to transform children's lives. So please share the podcast with two people this week. All right.
Now let's talk about next week.
A while back, I mentioned that if enough people let me know that they wanted a podcast on how to do focus groups, I would do a podcast on focus group.
I've been hearing a lot from people about focus groups.
So next time we're going to look at how you can collect feedback like a builder.
I'll talk to you next time.
Bye for now. See you next time.
Thank you for listening to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast for show notes and free downloads visit https://schoolleadershipreimagined.com/
School Leadership Reimagined is brought to you by Mindsteps Inc, where we build master teachers.