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Education Elements’ Responsive Playbook: How We Built a Thriving, Learning Organization

By: Keara Mascareñaz on October 10th, 2018

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Education Elements’ Responsive Playbook: How We Built a Thriving, Learning Organization

School Districts  |  Leaders

As an education consulting organization we work with hundreds of schools and districts to improve the way teaching, learning, work, and collaboration happen. In projects with clients, we rarely ask leaders to try something we haven’t tried ourselves. In fact, when Anthony Kim and Alexis Gonzales Black published The NEW School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools, many of the lessons included in the book were drawn from our own teams at Education Elements. We are constantly seeking new learnings and ways of improving the way work happens at our company.

The playbook you see below is the culmination of our learning (through research, internal practice, and client work) over the past eight years. We dedicated the past six months to reflecting on and documenting our “secret sauce” for building a thriving, learning organization. The goal of this documentation is three-fold:

  1. As we grow as an organization we want a way for new team members to quickly learn the “EE way” of doing things
  2. We want to ensure everyone in the organization is able to use, reflect on, and improve the plays we’re using company-wide, so we can continue evolving
  3. We want to be able to share the responsive practices that have worked for us with others in the field. Although some great resources exist for improving meetings, implementing holacracy, and creating a learning organization, we did not encounter a resource that brings together the vision, practices, and tools for implementation and reflection.

The playbook provides practical tools leaders can use on a daily basis and a roadmap for thinking about change – from what you can try on your own, to what you can try with a single team, and what you will need more than two teams to try.

We know leaders struggle to improve how their teams collaborate, make decisions, and achieve their goals and we believe this playbook will support you to:

  • Change your individual leadership practice to be more responsive
  • Shift the practices of your team and organization as a whole
  • Support staff in driving their own learning and development
  • Improve meetings to foster active engagement
  • Structure projects in a way that promotes effective collaboration and communication
  • Make decisions in a way that feels empowering
  • Structure roles and accountabilities to ignite passions and productivity
  • Create clear, effective processes

We are sharing these practices with you so that you can make changes to your own leadership practice and for your teams and organization. We hope it will help you and your teams!

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About Keara Mascareñaz

Keara is a Partner at Education Elements who focuses on how to build and scale a culture of innovation in large systems, how to create national communities of collaboration, and how to keep laughing when pursuing daunting, large-scale changes. She was lucky to collaborate with co-authors Alexis Gonzales-Black and Anthony Kim to design the website and toolkit for The NEW School Rules: 6 Practices for Responsive and Thriving Schools.

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