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8 Mistakes Board Members and Superintendents Make

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8 Mistakes Board Members and Superintendents Make

  1. 1. Eight COMMON MISTAKES that BOARD MEMBERS and SUPERINTENDENTS MAKE but you can avoid.
  3. 3. Seven Mistakes • Make decisions based solely on Politics (Factions) • Function without ground rules (Board Policies both written and unwritten) • Respond to coercion (Threats) • Fail to connect with the community (Visibility, Accessibility, Approachable) • Neglect self - improvement (Professional Learning) • Take fragmented actions (Fail to see the Big Picture) • Practice poor listening skills ( Too busy preparing for your defense)
  4. 4. 1. MAKE POLITICAL DECISIONS When boards and superintendents make decisions that are not based on objective information, assessment of alternatives, and rational judgment, but have a partisan bias that supports hidden agendas and political alliances.
  5. 5. 2. FUNCTION WITHOUT GROUND RULES When boards and superintendents conduct business without agreement of fundamental rules concerning the relative roles of superintendent and board, the responsibilities of the board chair, and the use of information and public decorum. Disagreement about these actions undermines trust and mutual respect.
  6. 6. 3. RESPOND TO COERCION When boards and superintendents allow particular constituencies to influence decisions instead of determining what is best for all children.
  7. 7. 4. FAIL TO CONNECT WITH COMMUNITY When boards and superintendents do not provide information to the community; they fail to solicit input and offer inadequate opportunity for dialog – all leading to community distrust and lack of understanding.
  8. 8. 5. NEGLECT SELF IMPROVEMENT When board members and superintendents seek to maintain the status quo and fail to seek out self improvement opportunities. Continuous improvement should always be the desired result.
  9. 9. 6. TAKE FRAGMENTED ACTIONS When boards and superintendents consider each issue as a separate item without looking at the “Big Picture” and establishing priorities; important district direction is lost in conflicting or unrelated minor initiatives.
  10. 10. 7. Practice Poor Listening Skills • When engaged in a conversation we are often more interested in sharing our viewpoint than hearing the other person’s perspective. • We often begin to prepare our response or defense without allowing the person to finish talking. • This may appear as a mental disruption for us, or even worse, we may initiate a physical interruption.
  11. 11. 8. Not Following the Chain of Command • In Smaller Communities there is a natural tendency for citizens to contact board members regarding problems, especially if they know one personally. The board member is caught in an awkward situation because they want to be respectful. The appropriate response in most situations is to listen patiently and refer the individual to the level in the chain of command where the problem occurred and move up until the problem is resolved or run the course. • Emergency or Crisis issues demands immediate attention.
  12. 12. Success Factors for Board Members • Initiate actions to overcome the 7 Mistakes discussed above. • Become a Team Player and there is no I in Team. • Always count your votes prior to a recommendation being made. This will determine if more work is needed. • No surprises and don’t present anything to the Board that you know they will not approve. • This may create embarrassment for you, the board, and personnel impacted by the recommendation.
  13. 13. Foundation for Recommendations and Action • Vision • Mission • Purpose • Beliefs • Goals • Ask: Is the recommendation and action taken aligned with these elements and is it in the best interest of our students?
  14. 14. The Use of Discretion • The failure of leadership is often found in the poor use of discretion. • Many leaders see things as black and white or right and wrong. • 20% Black and 20% White • 60% consists of different shades of gray. • Most of life is in the gray area.
  15. 15. When is Discretion Acceptable? • When it does not violate one of the following: – Vision – Mission – Beliefs – Values – Guiding Principles – Core Values
  16. 16. Conflict and Consensus The Difference Between Success and Failure
  17. 17. What is Conflict? • No consensus is conflict • Conflict results from divergent views and incompatibility of those views • It can be good when it is manageable. • It amounts to a diversity of thought and challenges the process.
  18. 18. • Bureaucratic Theory – Conflict is seen as a breakdown in the organization or as a failure to plan properly or exercise adequate control • Traditional Theory – Smooth running harmonious organizations are to be desired and conflict is disruptive and something to be avoided
  19. 19. An Aspect of Diversity • Contemporary Theory – Is seen as inevitable, endemic, and often legitimate actions of organizations – Individuals and groups within originations are interdependent and constantly engaged in the defining of those interdependence relationships – Conflict will be found in well led organizations • Leaders control resources and set organizational goals. This process leads to differences of opinion and thus, the opportunity for conflict
  20. 20. Methods of Dealing with Conflict • Win-Lose Orientation – Confrontation followed by non-negotiable demands and ultimatums – One party attempts to force its ideas on the other – There will always be a winner and a loser – Compromise is not an option
  21. 21. Contingency Approach • One must understand the underlying causes before conflict can be resolved • Five behavioral perspectives to be used to understand conflict – Competitive behavior – only one’s own concerns considered – Avoidant behavior – apathy, withdrawal – Accommodation behavior - appeasement – Sharing behavior – compromise, trade-offs – Collaborative behavior – mutual solutions with accompanying dialogs
  22. 22. Building Consensus • Communications, communications, communications the ONLY way • Remember vision, mission, beliefs, goals, process • Time consuming • Depends on the capacity of the group leader to convince others that the selected solution is the best one
  23. 23. How to Build Consensus: A Process • Ask each person to state his/her position of the issue • Ask the others to restate the position they just heard • Search for conflicting points of view • Look for “value” reasons for the points of view
  24. 24. Seek Common Ground • Look for common ground or positions that transcend the differences • Reach agreement supported by the vast majority of the group and that all the others can accept • Put forth a unified plan
  25. 25. Teamwork Affirming Cultural Values: Building a Winning Educational Culture
  26. 26. Affirming Shared Values Shared values are the glue that hold this organization together.
  27. 27. Shared Values “Leaders do not wait for a disaster or an external event to pull people together, however. Instead, they build community through shared values”. (Credibility, Ch. 5)
  28. 28. Using Shared Values To Make A Difference • Leaders build upon agreement. • Employees are more loyal when they believe that their values and those of the organization are aligned. • The truly great companies know the importance of being clear about their vision and their values.
  29. 29. Finding Common Ground • Wholeness Incorporating Diversity. – John Gardner • Leaders and constituents must learn to speak with one voice. • Determining the key shared values is a process. • People want to see the bigger picture, to understand that what they are doing makes a difference.
  30. 30. Creating a Cooperative, Proud Community • Community is the new metaphor for organizations. • Creating a community requires promoting shared values and developing an appreciation for the value of working cooperatively and caring about one another. • For a strong community and for a strong and vibrant organization, we must be willing to make other people’s problems our own and to solve them together.
  31. 31. Leaders’ Role • Leaders need to recognize that the metaphor of community goes a lot further in unifying people than does the standard hierarchy. • Leaders must energize people to take actions that support higher organizational purposes rather than self interests. • Leaders show how everyone’s interests will best be served by coming to consensus on a collective set of shared values and common purpose. • Leaders who establish cooperative relationships inspire commitment and are considered competent. • Their Credibility is enhanced by building community through common purpose and by championing shared values. In contrast, competitive and independent leaders are seen as both obstructive and ineffective.
  32. 32. Advocating Cooperation • Relationships characterized by cooperation have higher levels of productivity and resource exchange than competitive relationships. • Cooperative objectives are seen to result in better progress on the job and more efficient use of resources than competitive or independent goals. • When there is community, leaders and employees assist each other by sharing resources and expertise, integrating different points of view and ideas to solve problems, discussing issues to reach mutually satisfying agreements, showing initiative, consulting with others, and following proper procedures.
  33. 33. • Why do competitive or independent relationships fail? • 1) Success often depends on sharing resources efficiently; this task becomes nearly impossible when people have to work against one another. • 2) Competition generally does not promote excellence; trying to do well and trying to beat others are simply two different things. • Dean Tjosvold, who is a management professor, explains that forging unity requires people on the team to perceive themselves as part of a community, where their goals are cooperative and they are united in their purpose. Leaders cannot make team members believe their goals are cooperative; team members must decide for themselves.
  34. 34. Building Consensus • Organizations must enable employees to explore and understand their common agendas. • Projects requiring the team as a whole to make a set of recommendations, develop and produce a new product, or solve a problem all enhance the alignment of individual and corporate actions. Further, the task itself promotes cooperative behavior and a sense of community when team members realize that the work requires them to coordinate their efforts. • Leaders structure the work flow so that the process of getting the job done demands that one person’s efforts have a direct impact on the activities of another and vice versa.
  35. 35. Using Organizational Systems to Reinforce Shared Values • In the process of affirming shared values, leaders get people to identify themselves as a group and set the expectation that they will share in some long- term benefits. • In realizing that no one works all alone creates a strong sense of obligation to assist and support one another. • Nurturing this sense of connection and belonging between people creates a natural incentive to engage in cooperative behavior.
  36. 36. Recruiting and Hiring • Organizations must attract employees who already share at least some of its key values and whose needs are likely to be met by working there. • Paul Cook, chairman of Raychem Corporation and its CEO for more than thirty years, asserts that one of his most important jobs was always that of finding the right people: that means “learning how their minds work, what they think about, what excites them, and how they approach problems.” • Cook estimates that he spends twenty percent of his time recruiting, training, and interviewing.
  37. 37. Good to Great • Author and Researcher Jim Collins states that you seek – The right people – Place them on the right bus – Place them in the right seat – Then make the collective decision of where you go (vision)
  38. 38. Orientation • Orientation programs also play an important part in transmitting shared values. • The example given was how do Disneyland and Disney World rely on teenagers to manage crowds of sixty thousand people per day and keep the place clean, the rides exciting, and the experience fun? The answer is tradition. • Every trainee, even the ninety-day summer hires meets Walt Disney (by videotape) and learns about his vision and the underlying values in which every customer is a guest and every employee a performing artist. • They are quizzed about traditions and come to understand the reason why every rule, policy, and procedure is important. The result? Shared Values!!
  39. 39. Promotions • The question of who gets promoted in the organization is another key determinant of whether or not people believe that shared values make a difference. • Promotion decisions made solely on the basis of technical competence run the risk of undermining commitment to shared values. • Promotions should reflect the strength of employee’s commitment to the company’s values, as well as technical competence (much as training should clarify a company’s values and provide technical skills).
  40. 40. Promotions • Promotions should reflect the strength of employee’s commitment to the company’s values • The person must be committed, understand the values of the company, and work hard in the company so that they may be promoted. • Leaders must be active in ensuring that organization systems communicate a consistent message about agreement on shared values. This will help in the promotion process
  41. 41. Reconciling Values Dilemmas • The first step in reconciling differences is to explore your own inner values, so that you are clear about what is important to you and what you are seeking in a relationship. • The next step is to understand the other party’s perspective. • Four main common obstacles to agreement are: it’s not my idea; this doesn’t meet my needs; this embarrasses me; and you’re asking too much, too fast. • When there is an obstacle that causes value dilemmas, a leader must act to resolve these issues.
  42. 42. Reconciling Values Dilemmas Continued • Scholars at the Harvard Negotiation Project have come up with a six part strategy to resolve problems. The six parts are as follows: 1. Balance emotion with reason 2. Try to understand 3. Inquire, consult, and listen 4. Be reliable 5. Be open to persuasion; try to persuade 6. Accept the other as worthy: they are worth dealing with and learning from
  43. 43. Reconciling Values Dilemmas Continued • Leaders should make sure that their organizations have set values and that everyone believes in these values and are headed in the right direction. • Get input from employees on the basic principles of the company so that everyone agrees with them, and this will eliminate problems and people will not need convincing. • Then often the principals and shared values of the organization need to be assessed.
  44. 44. Affirming Shared Values: First Steps/Next Steps • The process of determining, maintaining, and renewing shared values and starting the process over again is as follows: – Get together to start drafting your group’s credo. – Make sure there is agreement around values. – Conduct a values survey. – Connect values with reasons. – Structure cooperative goals. – Make sure everyone knows the business. – Be an enthusiastic spokesperson for shared values. – Accumulate yeses. – Go slow to go fast: start off with easy issues then progressively move to more difficult issues. – Establish a sunset statue for your credo: throw out a third of your values every 5 years and create new ones.
  45. 45. Developing Capacity
  46. 46. Developing Capacity • Firnstahl motto: “We Always Guarantee Satisfaction (WAGS) • Distributed authority to employees • “[They’re] better than most because they have the power and the obligation to solve customer problems on their own and on the spot. Giving them complete discretion about how they do it has also given them pride.”
  47. 47. Follow the Chain od Command • Problems are resolved best at the lowest level. • If a problem originates in the classroom let the teacher try to resolve the problem by keeping the vision, mission, values, core values, guiding principles as the guiding force.
  48. 48. LIBERATING THE LEADER IN EVERYONE • Leadership is a set of skills/practices that can be learned. • Credible leaders enable people to act. • Empowering: Is not a matter of giving power, but freeing employees.
  49. 49. LIBERATING THE LEADER IN EVERYONE • Credible leaders liberate the leader within. • Five essentials to develop capacity: – Competence – Confidence – Choice – Climate – Community • Leaders must act as educators.
  50. 50. BUILDING COMPETENCE: EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE • Credible leaders invest in developing employees’ skills and competencies. • MICA survey showed that investing more money in training resulted in higher levels in employee involvement, customer services, understanding company vision. • US and Japanese auto makers
  51. 51. BUILDING COMPETENCE: EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE • Training is at the top of any company’s or organization’s agenda. • The more education and knowledge, the better the workers will be. • Ford’s education, development, and training program
  52. 52. Offering Choices Encouraging Ownership
  53. 53. Choice • Choice necessitates ownership. • Choice builds commitment • “Ownership is not a set of legal rights but a state of mind.” • “Choice is central to feeling ownership and expanding people’s capacity to act on the values that they espouse.”
  54. 54. • Major of Madison Wisconsin, Joseph Sensenbrenner explains that providing people with choice, discretion and latitude liberates the leader and then leads to greater productivity. • Parts manager explained to Sensebrenner about stocking parts and the problems encountered. • Sensebrenner began his hunt to resolve the problem. • A 24-step purchasing policy with multiple levels was cut into a three-step process.
  55. 55. Inspiring Confidence • Everyone has the internal need to influence other people and life events in order to experience a sense of stability in our lives. • People often feel powerless when they perceive themselves as lacking control over their immediate situation or lacking capability.
  56. 56. • Professor Albert Bandura and Robert Wood documented that self-confidence affects people’s performance. • Managers told that decision-making is learned and gained over time were better managers than another group who was told that decision-making skills measured intellectual aptitude.
  57. 57. Creating a Climate for Learning • Climates must be conducive for learning. • Safety and trust help to make an environment more learning appropriate. • Good leaders encourage questioning routines and challenging assumptions with a respect to appreciating diversity. • Breaking mindsets is an important part of being a good company and practicing “Kaizen” (meaning: continuous improvement)
  58. 58. Promoting Communication and Feedback • Sharing information is critical in developing people’s capacity. • Hold series of meetings to allow larger groups to develop and choose alternatives. • When people are involved in developing plans, they are committed and their ownership is increased.
  59. 59. Rules of the Game • Teach employees the rules of the game so they know how the company operates. • Show employees how to keep score and follow the action (i.e., assessments of growth—making money, generating cash). • Give employees the information to “play the game” and they will stay “in the game.”
  60. 60. Power of Communication • Unless leaders share information, few employees will take interest. • People have to see the effects of what they do, or they won’t care. • Sharing information promotes understanding of decisions linked to shared values and common purposes. • Everyone sings in unison—from the same song.
  61. 61. Goals and Feedback • Studies indicate that motivation to improve only increases when people have challenging goal and receive feedback. • Feedback based on goals helps people see the big picture and feel interconnected. • Leaders must help build compentence and confidence to create climate conducive to people in which they will assume responsibility.
  62. 62. Fostering Mutual Responsibility • When everyone is a leader, each is responsible for guiding the organization. • When something needs to be done, each person sees the need and does it. • Capacity building reinforces credibility by giving people the ability to do what they say they will do (DWWSWWD). • Credibility is earned through credible actions that are supported consistently.
  63. 63. Developing Capacity: First Steps/Next Steps • Stop Making Decisions—let those responsible for implementing make them. • Stop Talking at Staff Meetings—listen to others; let people learn from each other. • Set Up Coaching Opportunities—train others to lead meetings and allow peer- coaching to improve abilities.
  64. 64. …More Steps • Give Everyone a Customer—add this ‘C’ to Competence, Confidence, Choice, Climate, Communications. Employees need to identify a person or group they are serving. It helps develop connection. • Have an Open House—let employees invite family, friends, and customers to share their pride.
  65. 65. …Two More Steps for Building Capacity • Share the Big Picture—don’t give out puzzle pieces without sharing a picture of the end product. When people know how their “piece” fits, they know how and when to place it. • Enrich People’s Jobs—design jobs so people know what is expected of them and provide enough training for success.
  66. 66. Final Steps to Develop Capacity • Let Constituents Be the Teachers—Peter Drucker: ”knowledge workers and service workers learn most when they teach.” Let success stories be shared for understanding. Design instruction to assist. • Use Modeling to Develop Competencies 1. Model skills for basic competencies. 2. Provide guided practice under simulated conditions. 3. Help people apply new skills in ways that will bring success. Always supply feedback so they experience success.
  67. 67. Questions, Comments, Suggestions • What other mistakes do think I might need to include? • What are the more frequent mistakes?