Building a culture of performance
Building a culture of performance is the combination of inspiration and setting high-but-attainable standards. In school districts, this comes through meaningful communication about district and school goals, clear goal and growth path setting with teachers, and feedback loops that help provide insight into areas that might need additional attention for equitable support.
Communicating the goals and reasons behind them – At the highest level, building a culture of performance begins with communication. Ensuring the district’s strategic goals are well-communicated, and that the reasons behind them are known and well understood, helps to build alignment around the same vision. When everyone knows what the goals are, collaboration between teachers and coaches — and between schools and the district — becomes more fluid and productive.
Knowing the ingredients to success – As your district develops goals and strategic initiatives, it’s important to determine how you want to track and define success. Set attainable goals and measures that can be easily understood and communicated. Once those goals are set, drill down into the details of existing activities to determine what contributes to results. Look for any secondary data points or signals you can track within those activities to get better insight into progress, creating feedback loops with shorter intervals. This will help you understand what levers are available to you, and which of those levers will be most effective in a given situation.
Recognizing and rewarding success – Maintaining a culture of high performance is a lot of work, and everyone who helps make it happen within a school district should have that work recognized. In addition to addressing areas in your district that need improvement, make sure that you also spend time and effort to identify where there is success, who helps create it, and how. Recognizing your best educators will help them feel valued and benefit retention rates. In addition, public recognition acts as a signal to other educators of what’s working well and what they can model. Instilling confidence in a team enables them to do their best work, and that confidence can be built best when teachers know there is support when things go wrong, and recognition and appreciation when things go right.
As we continue this article series, we’ll dig into strategies for building cultures of performance and support in more detail and cover specific tactics.