Engagement: Top Predictor of Organizational Success
The term “engagement” is used deliberately - an engaged employee is someone who is deeply invested in the mission, with a mental, emotional, and even spiritual attachment to it. Here are some important points about engagement:
This data clearly demonstrates that faculty and staff engagement is critical to the effectiveness of a school and the value generated. One of your best competitive advantages is a team that is fully committed to the mission, culture, strategies, and leadership.
One of the books that was most impactful on me as a school leader is, Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly. It tells the story of a fictional company that created a higher level of engagement. Here are some of the key points:
- Employee culture is someone’s job, and it’s everyone’s job. If you are a chief administrator, your job is not directly student education, it is adult education--you are there to support and coach your faculty, staff and administration to ensure they have everything they need to be most effective.
- A school can only become the best version of itself to the extent that the administrators and faculty are striving to become better versions of themselves. Your school is only going to be as good as your people, and if your people are not pursuing great visions and dreams for themselves, then they’re not going to be able to for your school either. If you as a school leader are not able to clearly articulate what your strength, instincts, vision and unique genius are, and that you know where you’re going, you are never going to be able to give that to your faculty.
- If you are genuinely interested in and love the people in your school, doesn’t it follow that the primary responsibility of your leadership is to help each one fulfill his or her dreams?
If you want to engage people in your school’s dreams and goals, first engage them in their own personal dreams and goals.
How often is purpose development included in the school curriculum? Are students given direction to discover their purpose? It’s tough with all of the other demands on the curriculum and faculty, yet it is the driving focus behind people (young and older) gaining momentum and energy and discovering a deeper meaning in life. As a school leader, it will benefit you and your career if you can engage people (employees, donors, board members, etc.) in their own dreams and goals.
In the first session on Unique Genius we challenged you to research your strengths, and this week the focus is on identifying your natural instincts. Your instincts have to do with how you naturally take action. The Kolbe.com A Index is what we recommend for an instincts assessment, and is well worth the investment in you. It will identify how you naturally take action and how you put yourself in situations to most effectively use your natural instincts.
Learning your strengths and instincts doesn’t limit you--instead it helps you discover more about how to establish a team and a work environment around you that will help you be more successful. For example, when we recruit a new chief administrator for a school or district, we always require the candidates to take both the strengths and instincts evaluations to ensure they match with the vision, mission and culture of the school. You can use this in the hiring process for any position in your school. A data-driven hire will always be more accurate!
Table of Contents for Your Autobiography
The next data element in your journey to unique genius is writing a one-page table of contents for your autobiography. (This is also a useful tool for interviewing) What are the major chapters of your life? What are the key points you have learned about yourself in each chapter and that you would include in your autobiography? Keep it concise, no longer than one page. Reflect on what you were naturally drawn towards at each transition point and why you made certain decisions. You will likely remember characteristics about yourself and put in context those strengths and instincts that you have now refined. It will remind you what brings you joy and what you want to do with your life.
(If you want to delve even further into your naturally gifting, another self-assessment tool that I recommend is TraitMarker. Here you will learn how your personality traits contribute to your unique genius.)
Friends & Family Feedback
The final data source for you to consider in your journey is feedback from your friends and family. Who are the people who really know you well? They know what makes you tick and what gets you excited--ask them! Ask them to tell you what they think you’re unique genius is. Here’s a sample email or letter format:
Dear Friend/Family Member,
I’ve embarked on a journey to discover my unique genius, and your input is very valuable to me in this process. So far I have learned that my strengths are...
From another assessment I learned that my natural instincts lead me to...
My question for you is quite simple: how would you describe my unique genius?
Would you please take a few minutes to think about this question and send me your thoughtful response by <date>? I look forward to talking with you about what I discover through this journey.
Your goal is to collect at least ten responses, and then find the keywords and phrases that they use to describe you. You're looking for patterns. See how their feedback correlates back to the other data elements about yourself. Take the time to thoroughly collect the data, then reflect on it.
Once you have identified the keywords from all the data collection, go to Wordle.net to make a word map of your data. Note the patterns and phrases that are standing out because the more frequently used words will be larger in the wordle. Try to step out of your natural biases and look at it from a fresh perspective.
Next session we will discuss using this data to craft a Unique Genius Statement, then show you options to become the best in the world at what you love to do!