Tuesday, July 21, 2009



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Monday, June 08, 2009

Proactive Thinking- Maintaining Institutional Memory

What happens when you prepare a replacement? If change is inevitable proactive thinking protects the bottom line.

Last Monday there was a change of guard at NBC’s flagship late night show, The Tonight Show. While at a ratings high Jay Leno was replaced by Conan O’Brian. This move follows NBC’s belief on investing into the future and preparing a replacement; NBC executives announced the formal transition process back in September 2004. While Monday might have been Conan’s first time at the 10:30 time slot, he has been preparing for this position since 1993 at the 12:30 time period. After a week on the air, The Live Feed, an entertainment news site reports “the first week of O'Brien's "Tonight" has averaged a 4.7 rating in the summer -- 21% higher than Jay Leno's second quarter average with the show.”

For television networks, ratings are the bottom line while schools look at student achievement. Since change is inevitable the Florida Association For Staff Development addresses how proactive thinking will protect the school’s bottom line. An example is provided in the article, The Role of Staff development in Creating and Maintaining Institutional Memory, “If you agree schools are in fact experiencing a steady loss of knowledge, we propose a parallel, complementary, cost efficient enhancement of staff development’s primary role. It is suggested staff development purposely establish processes and strategies to capture knowledge from teachers prior to their leaving our schools. Significant improvements in individual and school performance can be made by capturing and sharing knowledge and expert skills acquired from our most competent teachers. Staff development research has shown teacher improvement is better accomplished by working with teachers within the school as opposed to going outside the schools calling on outsiders who come in, deliver a workshop and disappear.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sharing a Worst Practice

Sharing a Worst Practice for the sake of improvement.

Critics of sharing Best Practices argue that the lack of result data defeats the concept of a Best Practice. For the most part changing input behavior does not constitute improvement. Is it possible that sharing Worst Practices is a solution to identifying strategies for improvement? At least by sharing what did not work includes results data, granted not desired results, yet results.

I can reflect on activities this past year that failed, yet even though they fall short of being identified as a Best Practice, there is a need to share what did not work. Our Teacher Leadership design that involved a professional learning community with teachers from across the district failed to materialize. Analysis of the design, participant work, and interviews identified what to do differently to increase desired results. If offered again we would need to identify if participants are geographically undesirable and provide a plan for collaboration. My Worst Practice is not providing a structure during the course for participants to develop a plan to work together.

Inspired by Chris Blatman, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Economics at Yale University (http://tinyurl.com/qo9jq8)

A response to Chris can be found at Why Not Share Your Worst Practices? http://tinyurl.com/ouanyo

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Conflicting Systems

A school has multiple systems serving children; it can be frustrating when good intentions prevent success.

To understand how organizational systems can work together to achieve a common goal, just watch an episode of Law and Order. To understand how dysfunctional systems can prevent a common goal, just watch an episode of Law and Order SVU. Have you ever noticed that the breakdown occurs when members of the organization make people-centered decisions? As much as I admire Detective Stabler and Detective Benson’s passion for the job, I want to scream every time they bend the rules for justice. People centered decisions has an impact on how systems work. Why don’t they see beyond the arrest and realize they are making it difficult for the District Attorney to make a case? Even with good intentions, desired outcomes only occur when both groups of individuals adhere to the norms of the system.

Preparing for next year

Another story about preparing your replacement.

The continued transition of quarterbacks was evident during this year’s traditional Orange and Blue Spring game. Ever since Tim Tebow grabbed John Brantley to join him in a victory lap around Florida Field the future of the Gators has always been peeking around the corner. As much as it pains the Gator Nation to accept that this is Tim’s last year, the process for preparing for the future has been as important as preparing for the next game. Last year we might have seen Brantley late in the fourth quarter cleaning up the carnage left by Florida’s players, however just as we were introduced to Tim during the Chris Leak reign this is the year to welcome John into the position. John placed an exclamation point at the Orange and Blue game by throwing for 265 yards with three touchdown passes and two rushing scores.

Coach Meyer and Tim are making decisions based on what is best for the organization. Can the same case be made for your leaders?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Planning in advance?

The distance between where you are and where you want to be can have an infinite amount of points in-between. Where should we identify the focus of planning?

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time contemplating the relationship between planning and reaching goals. My obsession started with the excessive “coach speak” during the NCAA football season. While each coach had aspirations and goals to improve their rankings and receive a bowl berth, they effective coaches maintained their immediate focus not on the future in January, but on the next game. So I began to wonder, when it comes to planning how close to the point of action is necessary for success? Or was my question, does planning too far in advance increase your chances on missing your goals. I wasn’t sure, but I do know that the successful coaches didn’t prepare for the games two weeks away but planned for the next week. Yet is that close enough? Did they plan for each day of the week? Perhaps after the Saturday game and watching the game film, they planned for Sunday, and took each day one day at a time.

What are the aspirations and goals of our School Liaisons and Instructional Coaches?
I am curious to know how their planning is approached.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Systems Thinking

A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. As you read the definition what connections do you make to your role of developing teachers?

"Systems thinking is a perspective because it helps us see the events and patterns in our lives in a new light—and respond to them in higher leverage ways. For example, suppose a fire breaks out in your town. This is an event. If you respond to it simply by putting the fire out, you're reacting. (That is, you have done nothing to prevent new fires.)

If you respond by putting out the fire and studying where fires tend to break out in your town, you'd be paying attention to patterns. For example, you might notice that certain neighborhoods seem to suffer more fires than others. If you locate more fire stations in those areas, you're adapting. (You still haven't done anything to prevent new fires.)

Now suppose you look for the systems—such as smoke-detector distribution and building materials used—that influence the patterns of neighborhood-fire outbreaks. If you build new fire-alarm systems and establish fire and safety codes, you're creating change. Finally, you're doing something to prevent new fires!"

Source: About Systems Thinking. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://www.pegasuscom.com/aboutst.html.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Focus on improvement before the win

When inducting new football players to the team there are practical tips that I believe can be easily transferred to our work. Since new players are expected to perform with the same results as their veteran teammates here are two sensible acts that coaches can easily implement:

Tip #1- Reduce the number of plays to study. There is a greater chance of success that a new player will learn 20 offensive schemes than 50. Develop the first 20 to mastery before biting off more than you can digest. Assist the new player in identifying the best 20 plays for success.

Tip #2- Focus on the technique not on the Win. While the goal of the game is to add another number in the win column, the time spent planning, the time spent practicing, and the time spent reflecting should be invested on what skills and techniques need improvement. When working with the new player assist with focusing on the need without forgetting the purpose of the game.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Where does a coach focus support?

With the Miami Dolphin regular season ending at 11-5, where does a coach focus his support? Even the home/loss record appears insignificant with a difference of 1, how would a coach know where to begin? You need to look at the details. If a coach approached improvement with a desired state that focused on just the Wins, will this provide enough information to produce results? I’m not sure, but I would not want to bet season tickets on that choice. Perhaps if the desired state focused on Takeaways then the goals can address skills related to when a defense forces a fumble or registers an interception. Improving a specific skill will eventually help with the W column.

Prepare your replacement

When I sign off on my emails I leave the reader with the thought, “How has your support system prepared your replacement?” I started to use this phrase during the Induction Systems course based on the belief that if your work is producing results, there is a strong chance that you will eventually leave the organization (probably to replicate the success), and if the work is valuable then it must continue. To avoid starting at zero and maintain success then promote from within and only hire from the outside when change is needed.

Without any prompting from the Teacher Development Department, Florida Gator head coach immediately recognized the results of an effective induction system and identified Steve Addazio as his next his next offensive coordinator replacing Dan Mullen. The induction carrot is that Dan Mullen did not lateral into a similar position but moved from offensive coordinator to the head coach of Mississippi State. Dan’s legacy will continue with Steve and those who follow.

If you believe this might have been an induction fluke, think again…the last three offensive coordinators under Urban Meyer have become head coaches.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tim Tebow: Induction Advocate

The headline from the Independent Florida Alligator newspaper read, “Tebow passes victory lap tradition to Brantley.” As an induction advocate not only has Time Tebow coached freshman backup quarterback John Brantley in the mechanics of the game, but in the celebration. From his first victory at Florida Field Tim celebrated with the fans by running a victory lap and on Saturday, he broke in his replacement. When the clock ran to 00:00, Tebow grabbed Brantley and circled the field together. “It was my idea, I made him come,” Tebow said. “He was a little shy at first. Hopefully we can start a tradition.”

Heading into the last game of the season as national championship contenders, it appears these boys from Florida know how to succeed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Right Person or Right Position

Improving results by placing the right person, in the right position.

It has been a while since thinking about the Dolphins and continuous improvement. Cautiously optimistic is perhaps the best way to describe my feelings towards this team. Already improved from last years train wreck, the Dolphins plastered the Bills 25-16 this afternoon. During the post game locker room interview linebacker Joey Porter was asked to explain what was the biggest factor in his improvement from just 5.5 sacks for the entire 2007 season to 10.5 sacks in just 7 games in 2008. Joey credited his performance to the coaching staff for placing him in the “right” position on the line. He endorsed his and the team’s success to the systems that revolve around the coaches and players.

Porter has already proved himself as a sack specialist with the Pittsburg Steelers and was a dominant force for the Super Bowl winning team in 2006. While many believe that if a person performs well in one location, then he/she will perform well in any location. Just ask Joey Porter if that belief is true.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wax on, Wax off

Is it possible that essence of coaching is revealed through the 1984 movie The Karate Kid? If you have not seen the movie in a while rent it or just search You Tube for the training scenes. While watching the movie on AMC I noticed the following:

The essentials taught to Daniel:
  • Wax on, Wax off
  • Paint the fence
  • Paint the house (side to side)
  • Always look eye
  • Whole life has a balance
Mr. Miyagi’s words of reflection:
“We make sacred pact. I promise teach karate to you, you promise learn.”
"No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher."
"You trust quality of what you know, no quantity."

For some this is just an ‘80s feel good movie, while others see this as a make someone else feel good movie.How could you see this movie in a different way? What would this look like in a school setting?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Does Data Judge or Inform?

Last weekend the Miami Dolphins lost to the New York Jets starting off the season 0-1. As a coach, it would be difficult to establish an improvement plan with just this information. To improve performance a football coach and the players should analyzing player stats, play selections, practice time, and situations trying to find an edge to get better and to eventually win a game. Reaching the Super Bowl does not happen by focusing on the Win/Loss record or the trophy, but on the players.

If there is a need to improve and evaluate, Action Research (AR) provides a structure to analyze performance data and would be able to explain beyond the Win/Loss record of a student. As a classroom teacher AR provides background information to distinguish between mastery and adequate performance (Sagor, 2000). Taking the same attitude of the football coach into the classroom means to constantly analyze data to look for edges in students, working to try to help them improve, no matter what the objective.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Working at Office Depot

While waiting at Office Depot for my paperwork to clear, I had the chance to talk to the store manager about his company’s orientation for new employees. He shared with me that he strives to instill a sense of pride with his staff. What stood out was his goal to have each employee feel like he/she was part owner of the store. It was quite clear that the objective of the orientation focused on Attitude and Aspirations. When it comes to building Knowledge and Skills the manager turn to his staff. Even though there is an assigned coaching team that includes the store manager, every staff member becomes available to step into the coaching role.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coaching: Nice or Helpful?

It is unfortunate that Randy Pausch’s death on last Friday led me to write this post, and I am fortunate that Randy Pausch’s life has led me to write this post.

While rummaging through the endless videos and blogs honoring Randy I found an article on mentoring by Professor Kirk Martini who shared his experience when he had Randy as a college mentor. The title of his paper reflects a belief that I have about mentoring and the relationship you have with your client, “Usually Nice, Always Helpful: A Mentor’s Approach”.

Kirk begins immediately with a belief statement that I know will rub some experienced coaches the wrong way. He starts, “Being a mentor is not about being nice, it’s about being helpful.” Now this does not mean that a coach must approach the client by providing cruel and unusual punishment, when providing support effective coaching behaviors such as building trust and effective communication skills must not be overlooked. Yet at the time of support a coach must be the one who should push the hardest, demand more, and irritate you the most. A Coach should know that as hard as he/she can push, reality will always deal a stronger blow. Kirk explains that while he felt relieved when his time with Coach Randy came to a close, he knew that “Randy understood my long-term future was more important than my short-term comfort.

Would you rather have your coach as someone who is always nice, usually helpful or usually nice, always helpful?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Who is on your Induction Team?

Thinking about who should be on your team? Is just wanting to be there to offer support enough?

Watching the Dolphins develop their roster for the new year made me wonder about their strategy to determine who should be on the team. It was obvious that Dolphin’s owner Wayne Huizenga wanted a leader of football operations by hiring football legend Bill Parcells. The next few weeks the Dolphin’s administrative staff evaluated each player (and coach) and assessed their value and future on the team. One player I believed to have a future with the team was running back Lorenzo Booker. I was shocked to hear of his trade. What I have learned is that even though he emerged as a valuable player, he was limited to being just a third-down receiver on short passes. It was determined that the team needed a player with more depth.

When building their team it takes more than to be just productive and valued, you need to have a purpose for the good of the group.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Measuring Success at 1-15

“We meet, but we are not a Learning Community…yet.”
“We have a Learning Community, but….”

These are two conversation starters that I have routinely heard this past year from teachers. After listening to the plight of facilitating a learning community our discussion turned to the recent performance of our local football franchise. When a football team has a season ending record of 1-15, are they considered any less of a football team? Even though popular opinion might disagree, not meeting expectations did not make this group any less a football team. This is true with our learning communities. Just because the team fell short of reaching their goals this does not take away from the vision or the effort. Developing a learning community is a process, they are just not there…YET. Moving closer to the vision requires all members of the team to reflect on their performance and review their plan and the systems of support. Is it fair to determine success by only a win-loss record?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

American Idol is Feedback

Every week during the Spring television season millions of viewers are exposed to performances of possibly the next American Idol. What they also view are examples of different coaching behaviors from Randy, Paula, and Simon. For the past seven seasons these three have established their own styles of feedback.

Randy provides technical feedback. All I know about music is what I like and what I don’t like. Randy shares with us feedback on tone, range, and pitch. What is important is this technical jargon must make sense to the performer. Paula provides the emotional feedback. Regardless of the quality of the performance, she always begins with a positive comment to make the performer feel good. What comes next out of her mouth as valuable to the participants is open for debate. Simon provides the honest critical feedback. In his role as a listener, he shares how he feels about the performance in a straight direct approach. His feedback is strictly professional.

While all three are distinctly different all styles have a purpose. When providing feedback to teachers a coach must know how and when to provide feedback like Randy, Paula, and Simon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Demonstration of Mastery at Too Jay's: Roles and responsibilities lead to results

If the post, "Being A Coach at Denny's” is about a recipe of success for support, then my experience at Too Jay's was the demonstration of mastery. During my short visit it was obvious that the staff knew their roles and responsibilities and they have succeeded in achieving their short and long term goals: my immediate satisfaction and having me longing for a return visit. Honestly I am thinking it was more than just knowing and performing their job, but it was the impression that they actually loved the job that they were hired to do.

It would only be an assumption that the hostess has aspirations to do more than to anticipate my arrival, but I would never know it. It would only be an assumption that the busboy has aspirations to do more than check ketchup bottles, but I would never know it. It would only be an assumption that the waitress has aspirations to do more than to make me feel that I was making the best food choice of the day, but I would never know it.

I actually believe the hostess, the busboy, and the waitress wanted to be there and make my experience as enjoyable as possible.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Avoiding Relapse

Not during this lifetime did I expect to think addiction and rehabilitation had anything to do with Induction.

As Induction in Broward County is not a “one-shot orientation”, but systems of processes embedded in all that we do to grow as educators; recovery is just not a “one-shot stint of rehab”, but a system that draws upon beliefs, values, and collaboration that focuses on new learning.

When attempting to make a change in your life, Dr. Drew from VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” points out that “Creation of Change” and “Sustainability of Change” are two completely different and equal components of growth. He not only introduces new choices in life, new approaches in decision-making and problem solving, but also prepares the patient to identify support systems that will reinforce the new paradigm after the doctor has left.

It appears that without a plan to sustain the new behavior, the creation of change might just be an exercise of futility.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Growing your own

For months my HRD Program Facilitator partner has included in her email signature the phrase “Induction: Nothing beats growing your own!” We are constantly reminded that when developing competent and qualified teachers, one of the most effective ways is to take ownership for professional development. It also appears that Marvel Comics harbors that same belief.

(The following requires your suspension of disbelief)

When faced with the recent death of Captain America Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada states, "We were toying with the idea of someone new taking over the mantle of Captain America," Quesada said by phone from his New York office. "But we kept coming back to Bucky.” Bucky Barnes was the Captain’s sidekick for many years before he went missing at the end of WWII and later returned to join his side. Yet during their time together Bucky took every opportunity to learn from his role model.

After his death, Steve Rogers expressed in a previously written letter that the mantle of Captain America needs to continue. The replacement needs to uphold all of Captain’s beliefs, morals, and values. The replacement needs to meet and possibly exceed the expectations of the people Captain America has protected for many years. Who else better to serve that role than Bucky?

For those keeping track on comic book heroes and preparing replacements, when Bruce Wayne was injured with a broken back and faced with making a decision for a Batman replacement he chose someone else other than Dick Grayson. He felt Robin was not ready for the dangers that came with the mantle of the Bat. Even though Dick constantly demonstrated his maturity, Bruce was blinded by his own emotions and failed to give him the opportunity he has been preparing for. Bruce chose someone who had the skills, yet lacked the attitude and aspiration. This KASAB deficit led to a complete breakdown of crime fighting responsibilities in Gotham. Eventually Robin did what he was trained to do and stepped up and took out Bruce’s first choice. When the time comes to step aside, Bruce will not make the same mistake twice. Nothing beats growing your own!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cooperation vs Collaboration

Have you ever noticed that educational buzz-words have a shelf life of no more than 6 months yet they seem to surface year after year? Recently “cooperation” and “collaboration” have surfaced and are being used interchangeably. What I did not realize is that these two words although quite similar* describe two different processes. I was just as guilty of using these terms interchangeably until a coworker explained the difference using the analogy of a “sandbox”.

“Cooperation is both of us sitting in a sandbox together respecting each other’s space. We are both focused on independent projects inside the same sandbox and occasionally once in a blue moon we might even share a shovel. Collaboration has us both in the same sandbox and not only are we utilizing the same space, sharing the shovel but we are actually working on the same project.”

She had me thinking. What I noticed differently with collaboration is that the end product could not have been accomplished separately. Too often people are placed in the same sandbox with the expectations to collaborate without considering the differences in background, experiences and beliefs. When teachers are placed on the same team is there an expectation to collaborate?

Perhaps teachers should expect common planning time, opportunities to work on the work, and site-based professional development that reinforces the relationship with your sandbox partner. Who knows this just might lead to doing something differently.

*(The Encarta World English Dictionary has these two words listed as synonyms)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is it Culture Shock or Culture Change?

I am not going to be another fan who joins the “Here we go again” bandwagon with the new Dolphin head coach. Even though Tony Sparano was named the latest head coach in what seems to be a revolving door of leaders for this organization I have seen two indicators that just might produce different results.

1) Identifying and hiring a leader. When it comes to Dolphin football, the buck stops with Bill Parcells. He has a vision and hired management staff who has already demonstrated similar beliefs.

2) A Coach who understands coaching. When asked about his players, Sparano keyed in on what the research says about achieving results- it’s about the coaching. "We're going to surround our players with the best coaches and teachers. We're going to work them as hard as we can. At the end of the day, we hope that will be good enough." Being hired by Bill Parcells, we know Tony’s work will hard and SMART.

For the past few years the Dolphins have not been meeting their AYP goals, Tony believes he is the right person to lead this organization. Does everyone else feel the same way?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Buzzword BINGO!!!!

I though IBM was original in their portrayal of the overuse (and lack of meaning) of high frequency catchphrases with their recent “Buzzword Bingo” television commercial, yet further investigation showed that this alternative office practice has its origins from a Dilbert cartoon.

Quite often in meetings and in trainings these buzzwords are scrambled around to motivate, inspire, or influence change in the workplace. Does anyone listen? From the perspective of Dilbert or the IBM commercial is it possible that the use of these words actually deters task and relationship-oriented behavior and instead fosters ridicule and avoidance?

What behaviors have you observed when motivating, inspiring, or influencing others? If results are important to change behavior, does your school:
  • Uses student data and mission statement to guide site-based decision making,
  • In partnership with stakeholders develops a written list of expectations for all staff members,
  • Use multiple sources of data to identify the professional development needs of all staff members,
  • Implements and monitors the School Improvement Plan based on the needs of all staff members,
  • Uses action research to monitor the effectiveness of each Induction/staff development component,
or preach buzzwords to motivate?

I offer you the opportunity to make your own Buzzword Bingo card for your next meeting/training and enjoy the conversation that follows.

(The IBM video is available to view; search using the phrase: IBM Buzzword Bingo)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Does Monitoring Help?

There is a feeling of nervousness and guilt that dries my mouth. I sheepishly sit and wait for her to arrive. Her bland green mask hides her grin as she greets me for my 6-month checkup. Even though Gail has great intentions, I loathe the experience of her inquisitive style as she probes into my mouth. All she does is ask questions to answers she already knows. “Have you been brushing after each meal? Flossing? Gargling?” I shake my head in response to “No, no, no…” I hate this! Through a series of pokes and prods leaving my gums sore and the floss bloody she evaluates the current reality of my dental heath. Form her perspective, things are not bad, not good either, and could be much better.

Yet despite my own investment in caring for my teeth and gums she proceeds to bring my smile to a point of shiny brightness. She informs me of specific flossing techniques that MUST be done routinely after each meal. Lack of this type of maintenance will only lead to receding gums- YUCK! That was six months ago.

This time I follow her advice and I change my flossing behavior. I add flossing to my routine; even became quite obsessed with it. I did everything she suggested just to avoid hearing her questions. The first few days were not easy, my gums were still tender from her deep cleaning and the used floss still radiated crimson. I don’t remember the actual day when my mouth stated feeling better and when the multiple daily cleanings no longer felt like a chore. Before I knew it my 6 month visit was due. While at the dentist waiting for Gail was different; my nervousness was replaced with eagerness and now I looked forward to her questions. Quite honestly I already knew of my progress without Gail.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lucky Number 12

Did you know that…
In astrology, there are 12 signs in the Zodiac.
In English, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable.
There are normally twelve pairs of ribs in the human body.
As of today November 14, 2007 there have been 12 starting quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins since the retirement of Dan Marino.

You might have known some if not all of these facts yet I would bet the last one is probably the most relevant for South Florida natives. I like most have been frustrated with the lack of team performance of our Miami Dolphins these past few years yet to be honest I did not expect much with the revolving door of quarterbacks. More often than not the offensive leader of a football team is the man who stands behind the Center, that being the case, just how can a team reach greatness without leadership ability …or is it stability? Right now the only change I can handle is the structuring of the team around quarterback number 12, John Beck.

Just imagine the possibilities if the right people are placed around him.
Just imagine the possibilities if this team starts to align their beliefs to their actions.
Just imagine the possibilities if the Dolphins front office have the patience to rebuild.
Just imagine the possibilities if the fans return. Then again some have never left.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Doctors preparing their replacements

A few days ago Kimberly Dozier’s story shared her story of survival from a car bombing in Iraq on Memorial Day 2006 on National Public Radio. I wondered if she new about the concept of Induction.

What caught my attention was the part of her story regarding the interest her doctors had when after her full recovery she returned to see them. She shared that since medical treatment in Iraq is administered in different stages, the doctors are not always able to receive feedback on whether they were a success. From what I understand from her interview it appears that there is a fast turnover with medical doctors in Iraq and they sought to identify and record the proper procedures to share with the "newbies" in the field. Perhaps it would be better I share an email I received from Kimberly describing her situation.

Kimberly writes, “...it's not so much an attrition rate I was aware of, but the year-in-year-out turnover of doctors just like all the other troops. One set rotates in, gains expertise, then has a short overlap with the new set of about a month, and rotates out. The new guys have to start from scratch, relying on what they learned in the few weeks of exchange. That's one of the reasons my trauma docs said they need a database that everyone can refer to, so the newly acquired knowledge isn't lost.” Kimberly’s story is unique in that a doctor’s Induction system is essential in saving lives.

I replied to her email, “Would you believe that a similar situation exists with teachers, department chairs, office managers, and administrators in our schools? The problem is similar with the Doctors in that since the routines and procedures of the work are people driven as soon as someone leaves that position the organization drops back down to a point of zero. The doctor database might just be a possible solution. In our schools identifying and developing a written plan facilitates the move away from being people centered. If the work has value then by all means it should stay with the organization just as the doctors look to develop a process that retains the most effective medical routines and procedures available.”

What processes exist to prepare your replacement?

Additional information on preparing your replacement is available as an HRD Podcast. Search for “Induction Air #2” and “Induction Planning”

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Exceeding Expectations

Have you ever found yourself glued to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? While most of the show is considered a glorified commercial for Sears, Pier One, and many other name brands there is something interesting that happens during the first 10 minutes and the last 15.

If you never watched before, the show is focused around a Design Team that facilitates and participates in the remodeling of a home for a needy family—with a completed project deadline in 7 days. During the first 10 minutes the Design Team reviews the family’s submission tape and assesses the housing needs by interviewing each family member of his/her current living situation. After listening to the family, the Design Team collaborates on their vision of the house and they begin to talk about the barriers, dreams and passion that each family member shared with them. The bulk of the show is a fast-paced timeline of Days 2 through 6 of the builders, interior designers, landscapers, woodworkers, electricians and hundreds of volunteers who work together to complete the job.

What strikes my interest in the show is always found in the last 15 minutes. It seems that regardless of the housing needs the outcome always exceeds the expectations of the homeowners. Why? Is the key to success the interview process that identifies the needs of family? What made the interview valuable to the process? What fostered the development of the collective conscience of the hundreds of volunteers? Why is it even important to study the process that led to the results when the outcome exceeded the expectations? Isn't that enough?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There is a procedure...no need to worry.

By now most of us had the opportunity to see or at least hear the taser incident at the University of Florida this past weekend. What I find interesting is the statement made by the university spokesman Steve Orlando, "The police department does have a standard procedure for when they use force, including when they use a Taser. That is what the internal investigation would address — whether the proper procedures were followed, whether the officers acted appropriately."

Okay, Steve is letting us all know that the police department had a plan and now an internal investigation will determine if the plan was followed. Great, yet I would like to know if the plan had a procedure that addressed accountability for its members. Can you imagine if this internal investigation is that process? Would there even be any thought of following the plan (or accountability) if it wasn’t for the YouTube video? Perhaps the department is just happy that the investigation is internal and not being investigated by an external source.

Should the ownership of accountability fall with the internal investigation? The police officers? The video? The man that was tasered? Or his attorney?

I had a mentor who believed that sometimes folks only think about accountability when they hit their wall. Unfortunately I believe that she was right. Why is it that some only react to situations while others plan for them? Why are ownership lines of accountability too easily passed to others? Is integrity challenged when people are quick to point the finger and not look in the mirror?
When you have undesirable results, who should ask why?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It is all about Scrubs

Now that summer is over and the routine of my job seeps back into my life there is one daily pleasure that I noticed missing…my hour of Scrubs. I will admit that for practically every day Monday through Friday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on Comedy Central I sat, watched and reflected along with John “JD” Dorian as he struggled with making sense of understanding friends, work, and the big picture of life.

Watching Scrubs was not always a staple in my TV viewing habit, heck I have not watched NBC’s “Much Watch TV” night since Sam and Diane has their thirteenth break-up. Yet on one of the first Sunday’s of the summer, the staff at Sacred Heart Hospital was featured in a 22-episode marathon. I would not be exaggerating if I confessed to watching all 22 episodes, but since the show has a strong connection to coaching and mentoring I’ll just chalk this up as my professional learning time.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, each episode chronicles the lives of a close-set group of doctors and nurses as they find their niche in each other lives and in a profession they hold dear. I was amazed on how each episode touched a day in my life, as if the writers were secretly watching my every boring move. Perhaps I sympathized with JD as he grew from a newbie intern into a confident resident or maybe it was the callous big-hearted Dr. Cox whose favorite coaching tool was his own sharp-witted tongue. What I do know is that the episode called, “My Fifteen Minutes” had me a believer that the writers in the show knew much more about professional development than they did medicine.

After his first year as an intern, Dr. Cox asks JD to evaluate himself. Unfortunately JD was more concerned in the motivation behind this demand than in actually fulfilling his coach’s request. The storyline leads up to a pivotal point in understanding Dr. Cox’s role as a mentor and the true nature of accountability and evaluation.

How come Hollywood writers understand that the value of accountability and evaluation does not stem from a paper form but from the SELF? When looking back at your experiences as a coach or being coached do you find yourself acting like Dr. Cox or JD?

Below is the best version of the script from the conclusion of “My Fifteen Minutes” or now know as “Evaluation Drama.”

Dr. Cox: (emerging from the shadows) It's time. Sit down.
[J.D. sits]
Now what do you want me to say? That you're great? That you're raising the bar for interns everywhere?
J.D.: I'm cool with that.
Dr. Cox: Well I'm not gonna say that. You're okay. You might be better than that someday, but right now all I see is a guy who's so worried about what everybody else thinks of him that he has no real belief in himself. I mean, did you even wonder why I told you to do your own evaluation?
J.D.: I can't think of a safe answer, I just figured...
Dr. Cox: CLAM UP! I wanted you to think about yourself, and I mean really think. What are you good at? What do you suck at? And then I want you to put it down on paper. And not so I could see it, and not so somebody else could see it, but so you could see it. Because ultimately, you don't have to answer to me, and you don't have to answer to Kelso...you don't even have to answer to your patients, for God's sake! You only have to answer to one guy, newbie, and that's you! There. You are...evaluated. (tosses evaluation to J.D.) Now get out of my sight. You get me so angry I'm afraid I just might hurt myself.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Is Cam Preparing a Replacement?

It’s far easier to make a decision that yields guaranteed quick results than to opt for a plan with mediocre results yet with long-term gains. With Miami Dolphin’s new head coach looking towards the future, Cam Cameron brought in an old friend that has experience on the field. Instead of tossing his top draft pick (fresh out of college) against an angry NFL defensive line, Cam opted for experience over hype and fought to bring in Trent Green (see pic). Most of the Dolphin fans already know that Cameron served as Trent’s coach back in the 1995-96 season at Washington. At the time who would have known that his was the start of their relationship.

Trent Green was acquired by Cam as the Dolphins starter and this year’s second-round pick John Beck was placed as the third-stringer. The Dolphins are hoping that Green serves as a mentor to Beck, who is projected as the Dolphins' long-term starter. Trent too is hoping that he will meet the team’s expectations and mentor this NFL future hall of fame superstar.

The idea of the Dolphins bringing in an experienced quarterback to hold things down and mentor until John Beck is ready to take over isn't too far-fetched. If an organization is producing positive results, then maintain status quo and focus on continuous improvement. If an organization is not producing results, then it time for change. When it comes to the quarterback position in Miami a change is necessary. With Trent, Cam knows what he is getting on the field. Cameron walked in to his new job thinking, "It's not going to be about any individual. We're going to build a team here. You're going to see a football team.''

Only time will tell if Cam’s beliefs, actions, and commitment support a system of preparing a replacement quarterback. I wonder whom Cam is mentoring.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

You Can Do It, We Can Help.

Training support for Home Depot’s new employees usually came in the form of plumbing, electrical, flooring, hardware, and lightening content. Now it is common to hear professional development terms such as online training, coaching, demonstration, mastery, role-playing, and mentoring.

When looking at developing new employees, Home Depot’s director of learning believes in a balance between online training and on the job training. New knowledge and skill content area comes in the form of online training. The balance of the employees’ professional development comes in the form of job-embedded coaching.

They key to Depot’s training success lies with the combination of coaching and demonstration of mastery of new employee skills. How are knowledge and skills introduced at your work site? How does your coaches add value to the work of your new employees?

Customer needs assistance in hardware!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What a TEAM can do

There have been hundreds of articles and commentaries written regarding the University of Florida Gators 2nd NCAA basketball national championship. A lot has been expressed about their success as repeat champions, yet when I think about Induction and professional development I am drawn to the story about the TEAM.

Head Coach Billy Donovan’s after the game press conference mentioned that this team may not have the best players in history, or the most skilled or have the slick style, yet when it comes to the word TEAM they are the national benchmark. In a NCAA basketball world where talented players regardless of years on the court leave for the NBA, the 2006 Gator National Champions all agreed to pass up millions (this is plural) and return for another trip to the Final Four. That was a year ago. How did they know they would reach their goal? Sixty-three other teams all had the same opportunity to cut the net, yet after a month of tournament playing, after the final buzzer, Florida was the one with the scissors.

Donovan described his team using words like: Unselfishness, Sacrifice, and Together. What words would use to describe your team?

If you are trying to figure out the secret to their success, perhaps listening to Joakim Noah’s reflective comments might help, “I feel like it's always about what is going to happen next….”

As with Induction, for them it was not about the now it was always about their future.

Friday, March 16, 2007

How do you measure commitment?

How do you measure commitment? Integrity? Beliefs? The Buddhist monks of the Hong Hock See Temple in Malaysia have been faced with an interesting and for some a dangerous situation.

In the past month the Buddhist temple have been infested with poisonous red ants. The ant situation has become aggressive enough where on worshipper was already sent to the hospital for excessive bites.

Most if not everyone we know would have called an exterminator, sprayed RAID, stomped, squished, drowned, burned, or done anything imaginable to remove the ants. Yet the Buddhist monks are bound by a belief of nonviolence and have maintained actions that have yet to deviate from their belief. They have demonstrated integrity by minimizing the gap between beliefs and actions.

Current efforts to remove the ants peacefully have not been successful. It would be quite easy, when the temple is closed from the worshipers, to secretly react in a way (that would make Tony Soprano proud), where no one would know and remove the ants.

And where would that leave commitment? Integrity? Beliefs?

When was the last time you had the opportunity to demonstrate integrity? To practice the application of beliefs and actions?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Does Real Matter?

Is it difficult to find time and opportunities to collaborate? Meet new people? Learn something new? Would you believe that the video game world can do all of this and more? The multiplayer online gaming industry, has over 3 million users where they have expanded their universe and experienced an environment that encourages scientific thinking, cooperation, possibilities for solving real-world problems, and cross-cultural learning and connections.

Additionally, the health-care community is exploring the virtual world and finding use for veterans and patients with a range of phobias.
Medial surgeons who excel in video gaming are significantly faster and more accurate at laparoscopic surgery and suturing, due in part to improved hand-eye coordination.

When analyzing the possible user outcomes to video gaming, what possibilities exist for training and learning?

Learn more at http://secondlife.com/

Inspired and referenced from Bryn Nelson, Newsday Staff Writer, San Francisco

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Up, Up, and Away...

Although quite similar in the role of support, the selection process for mentoring is different from coaching. In terms of selection, Coaches are usually assigned to the less experienced and Mentees select their Mentors. Recommendations, influence, knowledge, skills and even personality all take part in the selection process.

A friend shared this hero personality test. It is quite fun and can be used to begin the process of finding the right support. Now I need to rescue Mary Jane!

Click here to take a "superhero personality quiz"

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Google Docs & Collaboration

Collaboration is now available without meeting!

With transition of support members each year and teacher turnover, site-based support has the potential to always start at “Ground Zero”- always reinventing the work. Google Docs & Spreadsheets has the capacity to assist support teams to move from reactive to proactive by providing a way to collaborate with peers on written documents without the barriers of scheduling meeting times for every stage in the collaborative process.

A school that collaborates on being plan-centered can have:
  • written criteria for the selection of the support staff
  • specific responsibilities of each support team member
  • developed a written list of expectations for every staff member
  • scheduled time, opportunity, and resources to support staff members
  • developed written induction protocols

Google Docs can be used to collaborate on a document online in real time without the need to download additional software or pay for a license fee. The Google Docs interface is similar to Word and supports tables, images, and the ability to revert to older versions.

If you have a Google Account, you are ready to begin. At Google.com select MORE (found above the search window) and then select EVEN MORE. In the Communicate, Show, and Share section click on the Docs & Spreadsheets.

By utilizing Google Docs & Spreadsheets as a collaboration tool, what possibilities exist with your support team that was not available before?

A tour of the Google Docs service is available by clicking HERE

Google Docs user information can be found by clicking HERE

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rock-N-Roll Coaching

Just last week the new rock band Supernova put on a rock and roll demonstration for their fans. New lead singer Lucas Rossi had the pleasure to perform with rock veterans Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses) and Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) for the first time as their US tour kicked off in Hollywood, FL at the Hard Rock Live.

It was a thrill to see Dave Navarro standing off stage to observe one of the newest members to the tour, Toby Rand. While on the show, Rock Star Supernova, Dave was responsible for providing performance feedback to Toby after his weekly performance. Now that auditions are over, Dave is continuing his role as a coach.

It was interesting to see how every stage member has a significant role and responsibility. There was one stagehand whose only job during the live set was to watch Dave Navarro and assist with the exchange of his guitars. At the right time he brought out the new guitar and took away the old. Seamless and without interruption to the work. If he was too busy admiring someone else, say the drums or the bass guitar, there would have been a complete breakdown of the song set.

The band took months to prepare for their 2 hour set. It shows.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Devil Needs Induction

I am not going to bother you with a complete synopsis of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”, but the story tells the professional adventure of Andrea, whose greatest dream is to become a journalist

This was not my first choice of film (nor my second), and I managed to watch the entire film and publicly state that it was “OK”. Translation= Pretty good for a rental.

The hook for me was the trials of Andrea’s first job: the weak orientation and and the lack of new hire support. This is a classic non-example!! If you have seen the movie, what areas of Orientation and Induction need improvement?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Passing the Torch

Tim Tebow (pictured with Coach Myer) described the Florida Gator's National Championship year as a “Dream Season.” As a freshman he focused on learning from the senior he was replacing, BCS National Champion MVP Chris Leak.

Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen noticed Tim’s commitment early on the season. “Yet in meeting rooms and film sessions, Tebow started to see the game from a broader perspective. He said he thought like the starter, making each week a dress rehearsal for the coming year. At every turn leading up to the game, Mullen said, Tebow followed Leak's lead.”

If the work you do has value, then someone will be needed to continue the work. Induction provides the system for building capacity in order for the organization to limit loss with transition.

With a true Induction system in place with the Florida Gator football team, Senior Chris Leak and Coach Urban Myer utilized this past year to prepare a replacement. How have you prepared yours?

Friday, January 05, 2007


Since the retirement of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino the Miami Dolphins have experienced three different head coaches with the hiring of Jimmy Johnson in 1996, Dave Wannstedt in 2000 and now Nick Saban in 2005. Additionally the quarterback position has been a revolving door with 13 players identified for that coveted position.

With such a high number of turnovers, what expectations does H. Wayne Huizenga have when it comes to the Dolphins success?

Analogy of the Day:
Dolphin Head Coach is to Principal as Quarterback is to …?

QB Roster from 2000-Present
A.J Feeley, Brian Griese, Cade McNown, Cleo Lemon, Damon Huard, Daunte Culpepper, Gus Frerotte, Jay Fielder, Joey Harrington, Mike Quinn, Ray Lucas, Sage Rosenfels, Shane Matthews

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just Google It

From the article, “Google targets children with free programs for schools”, "I feel like I am on the edge of something really exciting and perhaps classroom-changing," Wojcicki said. "Using this as a teaching tool, I will be able to look at students' papers and make suggestions before they even turn it in."

Google’s word processor and spreadsheet is another venture into the collaborative world of Web 2.0 technology. Does new educator support have an obligation to “keep up” with technology? If time has been identified a diminishing resource, do we need to approach our work differently?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

In the not too distant future

There are quite a few connections when comparing standards-based instruction, Schlechty Center’s Working on the Work (W.O.W), and Teachscape's Classroom Walkthrough (CWT) to the development of Web 2.0. The following statements come from the article “Futurist: To fix education, think Web 2.0

Rather than treat pedagogy as the transfer of knowledge from teachers who are experts to students who are receptacles, educators should consider more hands-on and informal types of learning.

...he praised situations where students who are passionate about specific topics study in groups and participate in online communities.

… you have to change your teaching practices.

…"passion-based learning" that focuses on getting students more engaged with topic experts.

When planning your Orientation and monthly support meetings/ learning communities for New Educators at your school, do you prepare them for Yesterday or for Tomorrow?

How can you tap into the technological skills and experiences that New Educators bring to your school?

Friday, December 01, 2006


Finishing the season at 11-1 and approaching the goal of a SEC Championship, most of the media coverage this past week focused not on the present but on the future of the Florida Gator team. Articles did not highlight the record breaking career of Chris Leak, but of the freshman class.

“Coach Urban Meyer has allowed most of the freshmen time to develop before placing them in the season's most competitive situations.

‘I hear it quite often from family members and staff members and the athletic director how exciting they are, and let's get these guys (freshman) going,’ Meyer said. ‘But the reality is the normal development ... is you learn how to play the game your freshman year.’”

Does your Principal allow most of the New Educators time to develop before placing them in the school’s most competitive situations? What support can be provided in the areas of scheduling, planning, or management?

UPDATE: It's going to be Florida-Ohio State for the national championship. Florida's win over Arkansas in the SEC title game was enough to leapfrog the Gators to No. 2 in the final BCS standings and into the National Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rockies Using iPods to Study

Professional development is the core business at HRD and there has been increased “talk” on the role of technology in the context and process of our work. This article touches on the same message and purpose. Here are few quotes:

“He watches frames of himself delivering the pitch, followed by the result of the play. Everything else is weeded out.”

“Teams have tons of film to help players study their opponents and their own quirks.”

"They can do it on their time

"I think it's overrated personally, but that's just me," Randolph said. "I'm from a different school."

“Colorado's minor league hitting coordinator, Jimmy Johnson, has an iPod filled with video of players in the farm system. If a player is struggling, Johnson can compare his swing from the past with his current swing, and fix it accordingly.”

"Anything you can do to help yourself get ready for [games] is a good idea," he said.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Begin with the End in Mind

If it was not for a friend I would have never heard of the show Dancing with the Stars (and I still have yet to see an episode).

For those like me, this show pairs eleven celebrities like Jerry Springer and Sara Evans (who?) with professional dancers to perform a Ballroom or Latin American dance routine that is critiqued by professional judges and voters at home.

This season’s winner was former Florida Gator and Dallas Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith.

"From the beginning, he just wanted to be the best possible dancer he can be," commented Emmitt’s dance partner after his win.

Smith, ever the competitor, was determined to win, just as he had done so many times with the Dallas Cowboys. "You don't get into a competition unless you think you can win," he told AP Radio after Tuesday's dance finale.

When you hear, “Begin with the end in mind”, what strategies are planned and then implement that will lead to the end? Having a vision and a strong work ethic has produced another trophy for this 3-time Super Bowl champion. Do the New Educators and Instructional Coaches begin the year thinking that they will “win”? What has been prepared for teacher and student success?

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Rocks, Paper, Scissors (RPS) is more than just a playground game; it is an institution of fierce competition. The world of “who goes first” has grown into its own that includes protocols, procedures, strategies, a Hall of Fame, and Awards for Excellence.

Do you find the world of RPS at the Foundation (people driven), Application (plan centered) or Accomplished (systems driven)?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The Quadruple Bypass Burger has four slabs of beef weighing 2lbs, three cheese layers, four bacon rashers, lettuce and tomato. Customers can also order the smaller Triple Bypass Burger and Flatliner fries cooked in pure lard.

The Heart Attack Grill in Tempe, Arizona, provides support by offering wheelchairs to carry customers out of the restaurant. A nurse, an example of immediate site-based support, serves the burger.

For me, images like this reinforces a vegetarian lifestyle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

'So Minute"

"I don't care what our record is or their record is. The difference between the best and the worst team in the NFL is so minute. It has everything to do with confidence and emotion and being a consistent team on that day."

This comes from current Dolphin Quarterback Joey Harrington when asked to comment on this week’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Since I have been sitting in data meetings all year, I could not help make the connection to our teachers. Grade level comparisons are constantly being made between classes regarding the demonstration of high levels of student proficiency.

Is the difference between the types of teaching (and learning) as “minute” as Joey compares NFL teams? Can a small modification of instruction lead to dramatic student gains?

What is common is that teachers must have confidence in themselves and in their students while remaining fair and consistent throughout the year.

There is a lot more at stake than a world championship.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Final Showcase

CBS has done it again and I am not referring to another CSI spin-off.

First it was CBS news anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent Dan Rather who announced his retirement leaving a large gap in the anchor seat. Since CBS did not bother to prepare a replacement, the network has yet to make progress in the news department.

From the Associated Press, “Her (Katie Couric) average audience of 7.3 million viewers left the CBS Evening News 1.1 million behind ABC's second-place World News. It was the biggest gap between the two broadcasts since the week of Feb. 6, according to Nielsen Media Research. NBC's Nightly News led the way with 8.9 million viewers last week.”

Now CBS seems to be in the same boat with their #1 game show, The Price is Right. After 35 years of dedicated service to the show Bob Barker will be offering his last contestant showcase this year. If the owners of the show commented that they have been “looking” for a replacement for two or three years, when does their plan become a bit more aggressive? Is just “looking” how CBS prepares for the future?

How is CBS preparing a replacement? Without any visible prospects of a competent host in the near horizon, will the Price is Right take the same downward spin as the news department?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Gator Nation

The University of Florida has moved beyond the common mission statement and has identified the Gator Nation, another vehicle designed to communicate the beliefs, actions, and successes of the University of Florida.

Here is the transcript from the Gator Nation television commercial (click to view)




GO start a Fortune 500 company

GO write the great American novel

GO cure cancer

GO to Mars


There is no bond stronger than the one formed when you become a member of the Gator Nation. It identifies who and what we are, and this network knows no boundaries.

Act Boldly

"One thing the Marine Corps teaches is that it’s better to be doing something than doing nothing. If you stay where you are, you’re in the position where your enemy wants you to be. If you start doing something, you are changing the rules of the game."
- General Peter Pace, U.S. Marine Corps

This quote is printed in Mark Sanborn’s book, You Don’t Need A TITLE To Be A LEADER. Regardless if you are a NESS Liaison, Instructional Coach or even a New Educator, there are many obligations that happen everyday that can easily be turned around into opportunities.

Is it easier to watch or act?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Questions Make Life Interesting

House on FX does a wonderful job of modeling the use of high order questions. Even with predictable story arcs, House does not accept the obvious, and is always looking for more. Throughout the show, Dr. Gregory House riddles question that would make any teacher proud. “What is the relationship between? What ideas justify? Suppose you could ___ what would you do? Can you predict the outcome if? Based on what you know, how would you explain? What information would you use to support the view?

Not to put House M.D., out of business, but how can questioning skills lead to self-improvement?

Favorite “House” Quotes:
“You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to quit thinking.”

“I take risks, sometimes patients die, but not taking risks causes more patients to die - so I guess my biggest problem is I've been cursed with the ability to do the math.”

Monday, October 16, 2006


“Greatness…consists of doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all, one must be great here, now in Philadelphia.” Or in Broward County, Or in the Classroom.
--- Russell Conwell, pastor, founder and first president of Temple University

Do we find our work as a collection of Good or Great?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cheesecake Factory Cooks Up a Rigorous Employee Training Program

How do we compare to Cheesecake? Something to think about while waiting in line for your table.

Each candidate must go through a rigorous two-week certification process before becoming a full-fledged server. Candidates are assigned a mentor for on-the-job training. They observe how experienced servers interact with customers and navigate diverse situations in the restaurant.

At the end of the two weeks, candidates are given examinations and are required to attain a letter grade of A. They are given two attempts to qualify, and if they can’t get that A, they’re not hired.

Thirty days after becoming servers, employees receive follow-up classes. To maintain strict quality control, servers go through a recertification process once a year.

Because many of the company’s workers do not hold predictable 9-to-5 schedules, creating deep, long-lasting company ties can be a tricky undertaking. With this in mind, the Cheesecake Factory gathers employees every day for a formal meeting—a ritual long practiced by Ritz-Carlton. The sessions serve as a platform for talking about a variety of issues—from the best ways to keep the stores clean to safety tips to celebrating special events.

One way the company measures its return on investment is by examining turnover rates, which are about 15 percent below the industry average of 106 percent.

How rigorous is your Orientation compare to Cheesecake?

Click here for the complete article : )

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vampire Principle

Did you know…Vampires can enter a private residence only if invited; otherwise they will hit an invisible barrier. Once invited, the Vampire is always free to enter.

Vampires need to be invited. How thoughtful! Many actually believe that inviting Support is considered difficult. Granted Coaches are not Vampires, however Coaches are more effective if invited than forced.

Prime Directive

You do not need to be a CSI fan to appreciate the following anecdote (borrowed fom CSI).

Gil Grissom: I was flying to a seminar in New Hampshire a couple of summers ago. I was sitting in the plane next to a Philosophy Professor from Harvard. He told me this story about how every morning he heads to the bathroom after his three-hour philosophy class. When he flushed the toilet there'd be this tiny brown spider fighting for its life against the swirling water. He came back the next day, flush. Same spider, clawing its way back from oblivion. A week goes by, he decides to liberate the spider. Grabs a paper towel, Scoops him up and sets him on the floor in the corner of the stall. Comes back the next day and what do you think happened to the spider?

Warrick Brown: Dead.

Gil Grissom: On his back, eight legs up. Why? Because one life imposed itself on another. Right then I realized, where we stand. For the first time I understood our role. We don't impose our will. We don't impose our hopes on the evidence.

This exchange reminds me of providing support. Support should always start with the New Educator’s Current Reality. If a teacher is unconscious and unaware, the introduction of new ideas (or in the case of the spider- a new environment) without proper planning might cause more harm than good.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

NCAA Tradition

Florida Gators are 6-0! Two Quarterbacks!
Coincidence? Supernatural Phenomenon? Not!
Components of Induction
? YES!

As reported from MSNC news, “Tim Tebow has accepted the role that he’s going to learn how to play quarterback from Chris Leak,” Coach Meyer said. “More importantly, Chris Leak has accepted the role that he’s going to teach Tim Tebow how to play quarterback. That’s how it has worked throughout the history of college football. The upperclassmen have an obligation to bring along the younger players and teach them how to play.”

Obligation or is it something else?

Coach Meyer provides opportunities for the Quarterbacks to play to their strengths, as a result passes are completed, yards are gained, touchdowns are made, fans go crazy and the TEAM is happy.

Perhaps administrators need to start thinking like the NCAA.
Perhaps teachers need to stop thinking like a STAFF and start thinking as a winning TEAM.

Monday, October 02, 2006

CSI: Crime Scene "Induction"

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is becoming one of my favorite shows. Why? The style is unique, the technology is borderline Star Trek, the music is from The Who, and the characters are far from perfect. What is intriguing is the well-developed systems and protocols that focus the CSI team to investigate mysterious crimes and deaths.

According to the CSI website there are 59 documented procedures and 233 documented tools currently utilized by at least 8 positions including: Night Shift Team Supervisor, Swing Shift Team Supervisor, Day Shift Team Supervisor, Blood Spatter Analyst, Materials/Element Analyst, Audio/Visual Analyst, Hair/Fiber Analyst and Field Workers. With this many positions, tools, and procedures there is no doubt that CSI has in place a systems-driven Induction Plan.

Since a Plan is the HOW work is done, the WHO is just as important. Each analyst understands the characteristics of the team as a whole, each analyst understands the characteristics and traits of themselves and why they are chosen for the team, and each analyst focuses on his/her specialty. The team benefits since each member works towards his/her strength avoiding jealousy and competition. The success or failure depends on making sure the right people are on the right team doing the right job.

I am curious to know to and find how does one identify his/her strength?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Wrestling Coach

Professional wrestling, or better known today as Sports Entertainment has been entertaining my dad and I (and now my nephew too) for the past 30 years. What I did not know was that the Induction concept of “preparing your replacement” was embedded in the wrestling culture.

Vincent Kennedy McMahon, current chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is not only a billionaire wrestling promoter and an onscreen wrestling personality, he is the coordinator of a highly visible coaching program. Vince didn’t invent the program, but his actions demonstrate a commitment to professional development.

Throughout the week and between live performances WWE Superstars practice wrestling moves, memorize lines, and stick to an intense exercise program. On the other side of the ropes, Vince and his staff is constantly recruiting younger talent and seeking the assistance of wrestling coaches in the form of “older” talent. When Vince develops the wrestling storylines it is common practice to put a newbie in a program with one of the experienced wrestlers. Once the bell rings, a wrestler is only as good as his opponent; in the wrestling culture it is expected that the WWE Superstars “put over” the younger talent. This is a great example of coaching on the job.

Just as I still cheer for Rick Flair and Hulk Hogan, my nephew cheers for their replacements, WWE Superstars Ken Kennedy and Paul London.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Being A Coach at Denny's

4:00 AM at Denny’s Restaurant was not the place where I would expect to find elements of Induction. A few items that demonstrated a Recipe for Success included…

1) A new waitress was teaming/shadowing with an experienced server in the middle of the night. The middle of the night is probably the best time to model, provide opportunity to learn, coach and provide feedback for a new employee.

Regardless of who “owned” the table, the wait staff worked together to make sure our needs were met. One server directed us to our table and served drinks while the Mentee and her Server Coach took the initial order. Additional wait staff constantly surveyed the area and refilled our drinks.

Service/support did not end when the meal was delivered. The Mentee and her Server Coach stopped by AFTER the meal to offer additional assistance.

4) Being There. At then end of the meal, the Mentee and her Server Coach stopped by, smiled, and said “Thanks for coming by, we hope to see you again.” By all means it was us who should had offered them THANKS for being there and providing a friendly experience.

We were quite impressed for a place that is known for the Slam and its 4:00 a.m. Grilled Cheese sandwich.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Responsibility In Less Than 60 Seconds

Liberty Mutual has produced a TV commercial with the message of Responsibility (along with a purpose of providing you insurance, but I can look beyond the fiscal function of the commercial). I am quite impressed with what you can say and mean within 60 seconds. If a 60 second commercial can reinforce a concept, can the same medium be used to teach a lesson? Click here to take a look at the clip.

Monday, September 18, 2006

An Induction (Football) Team

It is not my intention for this space to have a football focus, but as long as University of Florida head coach, Urban Meyer is the poster child for Induction, he will be here until he finds his replacement.

Just a few weeks ago, Urban was disappointed with the team’s opening win and publicly stated that improvement comes with individual performance and growth. As a result, a crowd of 106,000 plus received a clinic on Commitment, Collaboration, Communication, and Leadership.

"That was one of the finest team efforts I've ever seen," coach Urban Meyer said.

When the ball is snapped at the point of impact, the 3-0 Gators represent a union of great individual performances that reach the end successfully only as a Team.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why an Induction Blog?

Her silence had me thinking. I had the chance to catch up with one of my mentors and as always she questioned the direction of my current work and my approach. When it came to sharing this Blog to her she simply asked about its purpose, I stated without hesitation, “the relationship of Induction to real life events”. Her silence had me thinking. “To show Liaisons that the components of Induction go beyond our work.” Her silence had me thinking. “To teach others about Induction.”

Her silence had me thinking about the generational differences, from Boomers to Generation Xers, and now Gen Y. New Educators unlike most of the NESS Liaisons, spent at least half of their life with a home computer and Internet access, and lately these teachers use the Internet as a tool for socialization more so than previous generations.

Why a blog? Reflection is an honored practice of learning from your experiences, the generational difference is sharing with a click of the mouse. I walk away knowing it's not that one generation is better than the other, it's just what can we do to understand and appreciate the differences. Her silence had me thinking.

"Steve Greenberg for Editor & Publisher magazine; posted here with artist's permission"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Do the Dolphins have an Induction Plan?

Miami Dolphin Head Coach, Nick Saban has a responsibility to develop his football team. This involves cutting (firing might be a more appropriate term) dozens of players until his team is at the NFL approved roster number of 53. I did not pay much attention to this process until I heard Coach Saban describe his team.

"We have three kinds of guys on our team," Saban said after conducting a practice in preparation for Sunday's home opener against the Bills.

(1st Type) "We have guys that get it; they play good; they understand how to play winning football.”

(2nd Type) "We
have some guys that are trying to get it, and they are working hard every day. ... We are supporting them, and we want the guys that have it to support them.”

(3rd Type) "Then we have some guys that don't get it and don't know that they don't get
it. We are trying to replace them."

One of the Dolphin players added, "That's how the program works, try to find the best players to win."

Are these TYPES of players found in our schools? Are there three types of teachers? Are there three types of Instructional Coaches? Are there three types of NESS Liaisons? Are there three types of NESS Program Facilitators?
Are there three types of HRD Producers? Are there three types of Directors?

What do you do when a peer is unconscious and unaware? What is our role as support for the 3rd Type of player?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Instructional Coach Jedi Master

I was only nine when I first learned the way of the Jedi, and almost thirty years later there seems to be a lot more to learn. As I discovered the Jedi mentoring principles (see below), I wondered if George Lucas participated in HRD’s Induction Site-based Professional Development event.

1) Though some small Force abilities may be instinctive or learned from experience, to become a powerful Jedi you must train. For a student to learn skills at a more advanced level, he/she must be trained by a mentor. Training with a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master is the fastest way to learn and a Jedi trainee may also have multiple mentors in their lives.

2) A Jedi Master is extremely experienced in the ways of the Force. A Jedi Master can function as a teacher or a mentor. A Jedi Knight, although he knows the Force, still has much to learn.

3) When training with a teacher, the student gains the benefits of the experience and insight, which that teacher has to offer. The teacher knows what works and what doesn’t. He/she knows a proven method of learning because he has already been a student. Without a teacher, a Jedi student is at a severe disadvantage.

If you missed Star Wars on the big screen, from September 12 to December 31, the original Star Wars trilogy is available on DVD.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Double or Nothing with Continuous Improvement

I perceived the Plan, Do, Study, Act process as four equal parts…until today. Planning is a major part of the Continuous Improvement Cycle and is appropriately represented in this graphic with Planning as no less than 50% of the time. Makes sense when W. Edwards Deming preached, "We should work on the process, not the outcome of the processes."

Do we double the amount of time in planning our actions? For example:

What planning was involved in determining the class list of a New Educator? What planning and considerations were involved in preparing the class lists?

What planning was involved in designing the monthly NESS meeting? If the meeting last an hour was two hours of planning invested?

What planning was involved in developing the Instructional Coaches? If coaches are asked to meet the New Educator at least once a week, who meets with the coaches?

Here are few of my favorite Deming Quotes:
“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”
“The emphasis should be on why we do a job.”
“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.”

Click here to find your favorite Deming quotes

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chain of Events from Video to Practice

A NESS Liaison shared with me a chain of events today that involved sharing and communication.. Follow this:

1) On the 6th day of school I videotaped a New Educator utilizing Response (Dry Erase) Boards during Writing instruction (to be used as a New Educator podcast).

2) A few days later I emailed the video clip to the NESS Liaison for feedback.
3) Through the NESS Liaison, the Principal heard of the podcast, and found additional Response Boards for the rest of the New Educators.
4) The NESS Liaison shared the clip and the new Boards with her New Educators.
5) A week later, I videotaped a different New Educator practicing a new skill: Utilizing Response Boards during Math Instruction.

The NESS Liaison was quite impressed on how fast her teachers are implementing new ideas.
It was a thrill to hear everyone tuned into the same frequency!

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers