In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell devotes the bulk of a chapter to KIPP’s unconventional approach to educating inner city kids.
“What KIPP is most famous for is mathematics. In the South Bronx, only about 16% of all middle school students are performing at or above grade level in math. In seventh grade, KIPP students start high school algebra. By the end of eighth grade, 84% of the students are performing at or above grade level.” (Gladwell 2008, p. 251)
Like other innovative organizations, KIPP achieves unprecedented results by empowering autonomy and creativity in their employees and, ultimately in their customers (in KIPP’s case: kids, families and communities).
Unlike teams that wait for something to break before seeking consultation, KIPP asked the questions differently:
- How do we leverage our strength to better meet the needs of the families and communities we serve?
- Have we established a solid infrastructure of norms, values and accountability in our teams?
- Do we engage with our teammates and conduct our professional interactions with trust and integrity?
- Do we take smart risks to spark innovative methods?
- Do we adapt to the change we have created by our innovation?
- Do we reinvest in new goals once our previous targets are achieved or surpassed?
Teams of all shapes and sizes benefit from Team Clock and everyone measures their growth differently. School teams track achievement. Business teams target productivity, efficiency or profit. Sports teams celebrate wins. Community groups look for strong organizational culture. Regardless of the metric, you fit in one of the following categories:
- High performing teams that wish to perform better.
- Under-performing teams that are unaware of the reasons for their under-performance.
- Dysfunctional teams experiencing unhealthy structure and interactional dynamics.
- Any team experiencing significant change wanting to anchor behaviors that solidify healthy team infrastructure.
Which team best describes you?