As we reflect on our work with more than 2,000 schools and districts, we know that the formula for creating a learning organization includes three key elements: Organization, Team, and Individual. Collective mastery requires a shared understanding of what it means to be responsive and how to achieve it at each level. Individual leaders’ development combined with responsive team habits and mindsets lead to a nimble learning organization. The steps outlined below provide a starting point and path forward for organizational leaders, team leaders, and individuals.
Organization Level Leaders
Superintendent, District Cabinet, School Leader
Consider your school or district’s capacity for organizational learning: read this article and take the survey included within as a start. The results of this survey can be used to guide your priorities. Go through the process above with your team, focusing your collective efforts on improving the elements that your organization needs.
- Supportive Learning Environment: consider the leadership elements for Mental Models (yellow) and Personal Mastery (blue)
- Systems for Learning: explore the elements in Shared Vision (green), Team Learning (red), and Systems Thinking (gray)
- Leadership for Learning: dig into the elements in Personal Mastery (blue) and Mental Models (yellow)
As you focus on targeted leadership development based on the combinations of strengths and needs in each of your leaders, and align their development with organizational needs, the way your teams work together will escalate and amplify the work, or impede and diminish it.
Team Level Leaders
Division/Department Lead, Committee Lead, Principal, Team/Grade Lead
Consider how your teams support learning, using this article as a starting point. Begin shifting your team practices to support psychological safety and team learning.
- Review the meeting, project, and learning habits.
- Select one to try for two weeks.
- Reflect on what you learned, and what you’d like to keep, how you may want to adjust, or if you’d like to stop this habit and select a different area of focus.
Individuals should reflect on their own specific strengths and areas for growth within the Elements of Leadership.
- Review the Elements of Responsive Leadership.
- Star three strengths and circle three opportunities for growth.
- Ask three of your coworkers for their feedback on the same question: What are three strengths for you? Three areas for growth?
- Compare your answers with theirs, and choose one area to focus on for improvement.
- Learn more about this element: how can you practice this to get better?
- Practice for three weeks, reflect, and get feedback from the same three coworkers.
Once you have practiced self-assessment, gathering feedback, practicing for improvement, and reflecting on your progress with an area for individual growth, align your development with organizational needs.