Forrest Gump's momma said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." That's true, but it can also be said that, "Life is like a box of dental floss. Your habits predict your future."
Life extending benefits in the box
Is flossing really that big of a deal? You already know that flossing improves the appearance of your mouth as well as your breath, but did you also know that it has a huge impact on the overall health of your entire body?
Flossing prevents gum disease. And that's a very important feature given what we know about the other diseases that can be caused by gum disease: heart disease, diabetes, a high body mass index, and potentially various forms of cancer. Given that information, you might think everyone would floss diligently. Yet 50% of Americans don't floss enough or at all.
Keeping Score in the Dental Chair
Today I finished another box of floss. Another one bites the dust!
I haven't always been diligent about this habit. The game changing moment for me was sitting in the dental chair a few years ago with a dental hygienist stabbing my gums with a very sharp probe and then calling out numbers to an assistant nearby as she rounded my mouth. When she was finished, and my gums hemorrhaging, I asked the meaning of the numbers and learned they were a score rating the quality of my gums. Naturally, as a competitive person, I asked my score and how it compares to others. The news wasn't good--actually it was awful! So I decided this was another category in which I needed to win. Not for any award but to fulfill my long-term goals.
Rhythm of Discipline
The hygienist showed me the proper way to floss, and gave me advice on some tools that would help. I then had to practice and incorporate flossing into my regular schedule to develop a habit. That rhythm of discipline is what I have consistently seen among the most successful people, including school leaders.
Habit of School Improvement
How strong is your habit of school improvement? As with flossing, the benefits of school improvement are obvious but the disciplines required to accelerate growth for the organization and students are a challenge to master. Some experienced schools and school leaders are losing their edge under the weight of multifaceted competition and changing expectations.
- What are you doing to collect and analyze data from the families in your target market?
- How are you adjusting your value proposition to best fulfill your mission today?
- Are you building relationships with prospective families to further trust and engagement?
- Can you effectively share your school improvement story with faculty, parents and donors?
- Is your entire leadership team focused on the same goals and strategies?
Accelerating your habit of school improvement will prevent the diseases of complacency, callousness, and chaos. And it will change the lives of people throughout your organization.