Focusing in the Wildly Important Goals

I’ve learned a lot throughout this course so far.  I’ve always been fascinated by how we behave as humans and how we interact with each other.  We all approach the world in different ways and we understand things from different perspectives.  It’s the collective ideas and approaches of diverse individuals that can come up with innovative ideas.  However bringing these ideas to fruition can bring many challenges as I have learned.  All throughout my life I’ve always had big ideas.  I like to dream and I dream big.  I’m really good at the dreaming part, but as my wife would point out the implementation part is a struggle.  To often I want to dive right in and just see what happens.  While this has led me on many adventures and I still enjoy living life in this way I need to adapt my way of thinking if I’m going to influence a whole organization with lots of people.  I’ve recently read the about the Influencer Model and the 4 Disciplines of Execution.  Both of these books have provided me with valuable insight on how to take my big idea and focus it into a plan for my district so that it can be successful.

One of the biggest things I got out of this journey was the idea to focus on 1 or 2 Wildly Important Goals or (WIG).  When I see my big idea and my plan I immediately want so many things to change.  I can see all the advantages of making these crucial changes, but that’s because I have this great vision of what it will all look like, I forget all about the whirlwind.  So what’s the whirlwind you ask?  The whirlwind is our day to day life.  It’s all the day to day tasks that our job requires of us that we spend the majority of our time on.  As teachers we know all to well that the whirlwind is overwhelming.  What’s interesting is that this year I’m in an administrative role focused on how we implement technology.  I’ve been taken out of the teacher whirlwind and while I am still in my own whirlwind that whirlwind is focused on this plan.  I think I see now why administrators often keep adding things onto teachers daily whirlwind and they don’t see the problem.  They have forgot what that whirlwind is like.  Getting the involvement of the teachers and staff at the schools is crucial.  My idea for the WIG is a starting point that I think will be helpful.  I hope to be able to have some meeting before the end of this year to get input and direction from all the people that this will impact.

All this is giving me better ideas on how to implement my plan.  My goal in my innovation plan is to implement a blended learning rotation model so that we can better personalize our students learning.  Instead of diving all in and implementing everything at once I have decide to pick 1 WIG.  Next year I want to teach our teachers how to leverage technology to provide more frequent feedback to our students.  In John Hattie’s research providing frequent feedback had high return on student achievement.

Stages of Change

  1. Getting clear: I’m going to make sure that teacher understand the expectation on providing feedback to their students.  Instead of focusing on all subjects we will focus on math during the next year.  This will allow teachers to focus on one subject area to implement the blended learning and provide feedback to their students frequently.
  2. Launch:  The first week that teachers are back I will set a time to meet with each campus to explain our goals for this year.  I will provide training on how they will use blended learning in their math block.  The WIG will focus on leveraging the new rotation model to provide more frequent feedback to students.
  3. Adoption: I will identify 1 teacher from each grade level as the innovative team lead.  They will be my positive deviants to help teachers on their team who are more hesitant.  During team meetings they will be responsible for discussing how they are doing with providing feedback.  They will be the team encouragers.
  4. Optimization:  During this first year I will meet with the innovative team leads to discuss any issues that will certainly come up.  We will try to adjust accordingly to make this process successful.
  5. Habits: We will have grade level team scoreboards to track how often student feedback is being offered.  When teachers meet with students they can give them a sticker for a sticker chart.  These will be posted outside of teachers rooms so they can be tallied and applied to the larger school scoreboard.  Teams with most feedback will win a prize every 6 weeks.

 

I think the influencer model forced me to look at the vital behaviors I need to change so that we can be successful.  If we get those vital behaviors to shift them we have a much better chance at success.  Then reading the 4 Disciplines of Execution I looked back at my over all plan and narrowed the focus so that we would not overwhelm our teachers in their day to day whirlwind.  Here’s what I learned from the 4 Disciplines of Execution.

I need to focus on the WIG or Wildly Important Goal.  At most this needs to be 1 or 2 things that I ask teachers to focus on changing.  If I go beyond that then we risk failure as everything gets overwhelmed by the day to day whirlwind and teachers begin to give up.  I have also learned about speaking to the heart.  Our teachers want to see our students make great achievements while they are in their class. Connecting and showing them how personalized feedback can be used in their class to enhance student achievement I believe will speak to the heart of most of our teachers.

Act on the lead measure.  We will act on the lead measure which in our case is frequency of student feedback.  I wanted to choose one lead measure from my vital behaviors so that we can focus on on specific goal.  I chose frequent feedback after doing more research into John Hattie’s list of the things we can do that will have the most impact.  Most of our students come with large gaps in their understanding of grade level topics.  If we can focus in on giving feedback that’s personalized to the learner we should be able to fill in more gaps quickly and see students make more progress in a school year.  This lead measure will be applied to the teachers giving students feedback as well as the principles giving the teachers more frequent feedback.

We will keep a compelling score board to promote teacher engagement.  As a part of measuring the lead measure we will be using student charts where they will add a sticker every time they get to meet with their teacher one on one to get feedback and discuss goals.   There will be grade level charts in a central location in the school to tally the over all collective feedback from each grade level.  This will encourage each teacher to do their part to support their grade level team.  Prizes will be awarded every 6 weeks to the highest scoring team.  We will setup a separate chart for principles in the admin building as they track how frequently they are providing feedback to the teachers.

Create consistent accountability- Due to my schedule it will be difficult to have consistent accountability meetings.  I will have to depend on the innovative educators to meet each week to discuss that weeks goals and hold each other accountably.  I will be able to check in with teams once a month in person since I cover 5 campuses.  I will also work with intervention teachers and principles to keep me informed on how we are doing to meet our goals.  While this will be a challenge I believe we have a great small community that will work hard to make this happen.  We will create a safe environment for teachers to be honest about how things are going and when they need help.  This will hopefully encourage teachers to reach out when they need help and get ideas and strategies in place quickly to help them be successful.

References

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.

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