Client: Jackson Middle School
“5-Essentials Report” data reflected factions in the school culture highlighting concerns about teacher-teacher and teacher-principal relations. A change-resistant vocal minority was making it difficult for the faculty to move forward as a unified team. Trust was an issue and staff reported being unable to speak freely amongst peers without retribution.
100% participation in the online Team Clock assessment revealed both assets and liabilities.
Particular strengths were noted in the following areas:
• Leadership is receptive to candid feedback
• We share a common vision for the future
• We have trusted colleagues.
• Initiative and creativity are encouraged
• We are able to refocus and move forward following a change
Some of the vulnerability themes creating opportunity for the team included:
• Insufficient foundation of healthy norms
• An undercurrent of disrespect
• Hesitance to confront inappropriate behavior
• Discomfort with differences in perspective
• Discomfort asking each other for help
• Insufficient time and resources to support innovation
Based on the foundation of a common vision, staff and leadership were challenged to practice accountability in words and behaviors. Whenever interactions hinted of disrespect or supported “us” vs. “them” factions, teammates were empowered to invoke the professional standards of the philosophy, mission, values, and vision statement they had unanimously adopted.
Gradually, teammates most behaviorally aligned with the vision assumed leadership roles while those who were more resistant to change were slowly neutralized by a strengthening workplace that was increasingly less tolerant of words and actions that did not resonate with desired building culture.
A “Peer Culture Advisory Panel” was assembled to represent full staff concerns and charged with:
• Receiving input from staff regarding issues that are relevant and fixable.
• Recommending actions designed to address obstacles to living the vision consistently.
• Serving as a mediation panel for conflicts unable to be resolved through direct conversation and traditional support.
Day by day, month by month, teammate interactions increasingly reflected the organizational culture goals originally forwarded as the ideal future state. A mechanism is now in place for managing future challenges with professionalism, fairness, and respect.