Yesterday at the opening of Design 39 Campus, CEO of San Diego-based WD40 (that’s right, the spray stuff in your garage that has about a million uses) Garry Ridge spoke for a few minutes about what makes his company, and many organizations, successful. He cited statistics that amongst all US companies, something like 60% of workers report they are either “not engaged” at work or “negatively engaged” (grumbling). At WD40, they have a 97% positive engagement factor. They worry all the time about how to get and keep people positively engaged in their “tribe”.
Gary also talked about a time he failed to leave a hotel when the fire alarm rang because, well, almost always those are false alarms. This time it was not. On a plane flight later he listed all of the possible alarms he was ignoring in both his business and professional life, and he keeps the list up to date.
Do you have an alarm list for your school? Here might be some of mine, based on the many schools with which I am in contact:
- Radically rising number of families choosing non-traditional schools for their children to attend.
- Largest income disparity in several generations.
- Teachers who do not see themselves as school leaders and administrators who don’t see themselves as educators.
- Lack of congruity (or worse, ignorance of) the difference between what we want to do as educators and what we are actually doing.
- Lack of clarity or understanding amongst the school community about key elements of the school vision.
- A strategic planning cycle of three years or more.
- Not knowing the level of engagement of the faculty and staff, or believing it is high based on anecdote.
What is on your alarm list? Are you going to ignore the alarm and hope it is false. Great leaders make adjustments before the alarm actually goes off, not after.
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