How well is your school organized to inspire and animate your people?

Our mission is to improve strategic decision-making within K-12 Education by providing schools and districts the proven means to create strong cultures anchored in a clear set of values.  We call it Built on Values®, a culture leadership model that has evolved over twenty-five years based on People Ink’s experience developing people-centric cultures for high performing companies across industries. For the last three years it has been practiced in two schools. 

“Organizations around the world are struggling with issues of productivity, leadership development, accountability, engagement, misconduct and a general failure to meet their potential. Those that align behaviors to sustainable, human values and conduct business with integrity outperform and deliver disproportionate long-term value.” – LRN, new partner of the CCSSO

As a result of comparatively low long-term student growth rates, we expect the organizational model to become the national standard in education. The CCSSO recently committed and after thirty years, it is the norm among the highest performing organizations and greatest places to work in the world. To learn more, watch this two-minute explainer video.

 

Initial Partner Schools

People Before Strategy

The 2016 HOW Report by LRN

Validated by The Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California

A Culture for Learning

An investigation into the values and beliefs associated with effective schools

The Hay Group's Study of 134 schools and over 4000 teachers.

NATIONAL LEADER IN K-12 EDUCATION

Too many times we have gone into a school and the work never took seed, either because the culture wasn’t ready from the start, or the principal left before it could become embedded. Rich’s initiative can mean a lot to the long-term growth of our kids – no matter the teaching or school model.
— Dr. Terry Roberts, Director of the National Paideia Center - A community of thousands of teachers in hundreds of schools across the United States and other countries who use the Paideia method to engage students in active learning.
NATIONAL LEADER IN K-12 EDUCATION

Teacher turnover is much more than a pipeline, preparation, and pay issue. It is an organizational alignment issue. Great schooIs are a reflection of their culture and/or community. Principals, including great ones, come and go. I know this having spent my life in education. Rich knows this well too and he is not just talking about it. He is doing something about it!
— Dr. Charles Coble, Former ECU Dean of Education, UNC VP, Education Commision of the States VP, and Current National Leader in Teacher Preparation
I recognized the culture my colleagues described. I admired the culture they said they wanted. I just wish the two weren’t so far apart.
— Deputy Head, North-Eastern Secondary School
 
 
AFTER ONE YEAR:

An urban middle school “exceeded” state student academic growth expectations following two years of “not meeting” AND WITHOUT CHANGING TEACHERS OR CORE PROGRAMS. The turnover rate in families also reversed directions.
— Lab School
 
 
AFTER ONE YEAR:

A more affluent K-8 school increased its employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS: enthusiastic loyalty) by 26 points, over seven hundred percent. This following two years of high staff turnover AND WITHOUT CHANGING PRINCIPALS.

Also, all... twenty-three indicators of parent engagement increased, resulting in a very high NPS (customer enthusiastic loyalty score) of 57. This following significant parent discontent present at the project’s start. (Southwest averages a 63 NPS.)

[The school is now well “exceeding” student growth expectations set by the state, compared to barely “meeting” expectations prior to the project’s start.]
— Lab School
 
ALIGNING CULTURE (BEHAVIOR) WITH SHARED: STRATEGY, GOALS, AND MISSION

I understand how the Shared Values and Behaviors will help my team provide a consistent staff-student-parent experience across our school.
I understand I am expected to demonstrate the Shared Values and Behaviors in addition to producing results.
I am committed to doing my part in adopting the Shared Values and Behaviors.
— 97% AGREED OR STRONGLY AGREED - Anonymous Midpoint Whole Staff Survey
HOW ARE THE SHARED VALUES AND BEHAVIORS RELEVANT TO YOU?

I believe in them.
They guide the way I interact with students.
I use them when planning with my team members.
I use them in thinking about my interactions with staff, teachers, students, and parents.
- They are a guide for the level of expectation for that interaction.
It turns our workplace into an enjoyable environment and makes my job worth
waking up for in the morning.
This set of values is expected in order to be a part of the TES team. (Hiring)
— Anonymous Midpoint Whole Staff Survey
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE SCHOOL OR POSITION THAT ATTRACTED YOU?

How much everyone wanted to not only create a great environment for kids but a great
environment for adults as well.
The opportunity to be involved in a wonderful school environment.
I appreciated the philosophy and values of the school and the focus on PBL.
Witnessing first hand the culture and school environment.
The school’s values.
— Anonymous Follow-Up Staff Hiring Survey
WHY?

As a new school, I wanted everyone to be able to clearly explain our culture and mission. I also wanted something to unite our school and to be able to create a great place for our kids to learn and grow and a great place to work for our staff. Built-on-Values provided a clear structure and guidance to do this deep work. The process has pushed us to grow a lot as a staff. My advice is to involve everyone interested in the process from the beginning!
— Co-Founder and Director of "Partner" School
An organization’s culture is even more important than its leadership.
— 2014 Deloitte Survey of 3,300 Executives
A strong culture can help or hurt performance. Culture can account for up to half of the difference in performance between two competing organizations. Shaping a culture is one of the leader’s most important jobs; it can be ignored, but only for so long and at one’s peril.
— James Haskett, Harvard Business School
We believe in deep collaboration and cross pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self- honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those VALUES are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
— Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
In order to be successful in a volatile world, you must unleash the goodwill and creativity of your people. You must organize your people in a way that will help your people achieve great things without constant supervision from above. Set this (Built on Values®) up right, and people will astonish you regularly with their great ideas and ability to take the organization to a higher level.
— Dr. Stephen Covey, Author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People & The Leader In Me — How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time.

The increasingly prevalent workplace model has been found to outperform by all meaningful measures, worldwide.

93 percent of employees at high-trust, values-based organizations outperform their competitors vs. 48 percent of those at strict top-down organizations.

When it comes to loyalty, 92 percent of employees of organizations based on values and trust plan to be at their organization in a year, compared to 46 percent of those in strict top-down organizations.

99 percent would recommend their values and trust-based organization to a friend vs. just 33 percent at strict top-down organizations.
Organizational leaders are six times more likely than average workers to believe they work in an organization where people are inspired; however, employees say they are primarily coerced (84 percent of respondents) or motivated (12 percent) by carrots and sticks on the job rather than inspired by values and a commitment to a mission and purpose (4 percent).
Over the past three years, the percentage of Self-Governing Organizations (purpose-inspired, values-based) has more than doubled, from 3% to 8%. Increases occurred in all regions examined. Moreover, Blind Obedience (power-based, task-driven) is in decline, dropping from 43% to 30%. Informed Acquiescence (rules-based, process-driven) remains the most prevalent organizational archetype at 62%.
96% of employees scored managers who emphasized shaping character (shared mission/values/metrics) and fostering freedom (collaborating/sharing information/speaking out) as effective leaders. They were also found to be three times as likely to deliver high performance.
In our own work with schools, we also discovered what we believe to be a number of vital ‘turning points’ associated with high performing schools including, among others, attitudes to innovation, the importance and style of hierarchy, willingness to make sacrifices, position on social justice and beliefs about what different groups of children can achieve. Successful schools in this study feel very dynamic and service-oriented – accountable, flexible, eager to collaborate and intrude on each other’s territory, customer – or stakeholder oriented. They have a hunger for improvement and a desire to be World class.
— Summary statement from the study
SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS
Measuring and monitoring targets and test results
A hunger for improvement – High hopes and expectations
Raising capability – Helping people learn – Laying foundations for future success
Making sacrifices to put students first
Promoting excellence – Pushing the boundaries of achievement – World class
Working together – Learning from each other – Sharing resources and ideas – Investing in others
— Top six value/belief statements by the teachers in the high performing schools, for how it is now. Regarded as "hothouse" cultures in the study.
LESS SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS
Measuring and monitoring targets and test results
Focusing on value added – Hold hope for every child – Every gain a victory
Recognizing personal circumstances – Making allowances - Toleration – It’s the effort that counts
Warmth – Humor repartee - Feet on the ground
Experimenting – Trying new things – Looking to the next big idea
Working together – Learning from each other - Sharing resources and ideas – Investing in others
— Top six value/belief statement selected by teachers in the lower performing schools, for how it is now. Regarded as "survivalist" cultures in the study.
IDEAL
Working together – Learning from each other – Sharing resources and ideas
Raising capability – Helping people learn – Laying foundations for later success
Creating a pleasant and collegial work environment
A hunger for improvement – high hopes and expectations
Focusing on the value added – Holding hope for every child – Every gain a victory
Creating opportunities for everyone – Widening horizons – Fighting injustice
— Top six value/belief statements chosen as ideal by all the teachers in the study, for how they would like their school to be.
Over the past two decades, our country’s leaders have done a great job building a massive accountability system around schools. What they’ve failed to do during that time is build an engagement system within them.
— Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development, Gallup
It is a system in which a culture of carrots and sticks, applied against rules and policies that govern what people can and can’t do, is replaced with a culture of shared values and principles that guide what people should and should not do... Self-governing requires each individual to step up and lead, to take responsibility both for their own work and for the performance of others... It is the most efficient way to get everyone on the same page, aligned to organizational values and goals, and doing the right thing to achieve them. Compliance is about surviving; self-governance is about thriving.
Among all professions Gallup has studied, teachers are last in agreeing that their opinions count at work and that their supervisors create an open and trusting environment. These are two crucial elements of teacher engagement, which is the single greatest predictor of student engagement.
— Gallup
Students who agreed with the following two statements were 30 times more likely to be engaged.
1. “My school is committed to building the strengths of each student”
2. “I have at least one teacher who makes me excited about the future.”
— Gallup
A one-percentage-point uptick in a school’s student engagement rate has been found tied to an average six-point increase in reading achievement and eight points in math.
— Gallup

 

Principal "churn" is costly. Student progress (growth) often drops for 1-2 years following and takes 3-5 years total to return to original levels, assuming the new principal stays (3.6 yearr average) long enough. The "drop" in school momentum is a result of ripple effects, including increased teacher turnover, difficulty recruiting new teachers, and teacher resistance to new change efforts. Principals also cost an estimated $75,000 to recruit, hire and on-board, on top of the $3600-$8,400 (non-urban/urban) per teacher.

Now there is a new example to follow, where motivation comes from within. An organizational model, rooted in trust, focusing on qualities which define continuing success. An increasingly prevalent model found to outperform by all meaningful measures and 99% of employees recommend working in. [The 2016 HOW Report, by LRN - a new CCSSO partner.]

 

In partnership with pioneer People Ink and their culture leadership model that has evolved over twenty-five years, we can help you build an organizational culture based on shared purpose, values, and performance consistent in practice with the most successful, workplaces of choice in the world

Performance is generated by strong beliefs, attitudes, actions, and high trust - the catalyst. How strong is the organizational core of your school? Are people inspired to ask tough questions, share resources, and admit mistakes? Click here to learn more about the values- /people-centric workplace. Organizations special not for what they do, but HOW they do it. 

Organizations around the world are struggling with issues of productivity, leadership development, accountability, engagement, misconduct and a general failure to meet their potential. Those that align behaviors to sustainable, human values and conduct business with integrity outperform and deliver disproportionate long-term value.
— LRN - "Inspiring Principled Performance", new partner of the CCSSO

Arrange a free consultation or discuss the Built on Values® for Schools framework.


People-Centric or Values-Centric Workplace

Does a leader need to be the smartest person in the organization to achieve growth and customer satisfaction?  No. In fact, being the smartest person in the organization can actually impede growth.

A people-centric organization focuses on the individual and liberating his or her innovative power. This principle is based on a belief that people want to be creative and that an organization must provide them with a setting in which they can express their creativity.

A people-centric culture emphasizes transparency and openness, and therefore also trusts in employees. In its recruitment process, people-centric organizations place a great deal of emphasis on hiring the right people—people who can manage in a challenging environment and where there is a high level of empowerment. Many of the organization's offerings to its employees in the form of education are voluntary, and employees can decide whether to opt in. Each year, the organization removes unnecessary bureaucratic features in order to give each employee more freedom and to facilitate communication and collaboration between colleagues.

Empowered organizations have tremendous competitive advantage because they have tapped into levels of energy and commitment which their competitors usually have difficulty matching.  A recent study of people-centric organizations showed them outperforming the average by 10:1 over a fifteen year period. 

Pioneer

Most leaders know that a winning, engaged culture is the key to attracting top talent and performance. Yet, it remains elusive exactly how one creates this ideal workplace culture.

— Ann Rhoades, a long time expert on creating the ideal workplace. Her group People Ink is supporting the Leading Schools Forward initiative. Ann is highly regarded by leaders of many of the best performing organizations and places to work in the world for how to create cultures of super-engagement. She has been interviewed, referenced, and quoted in 33 published books on the subject.

Founder

You will not find many, and perhaps any, as capable as Rich.
— US Sen. Michael Bennet, former Superintendent of Denver Public Schools ("The highest trained principals in the country.") and Finalist for US Secretary of Education

Partner School


The challenge good schools face and few break through to become great:

69% of teachers are disengaged. They’re dissatisfied and uncommitted. Due primarily to working conditions, almost 50% of new teachers are gone from the profession in five years. Teacher preparation program enrollments are down by 25-50%. 

  • Among all professions Gallup has studied, teachers are last in agreeing that their opinions count at work and that their supervisors create an open and trusting environment. These are two crucial elements of teacher engagement, which is the single greatest predictor of student engagement.

  • A one-percentage-point uptick in a school’s student engagement rate has been found tied to an average six-point increase in reading achievement and eight points in math. 

Principals turnover on average every 3-5 years. As a result, teacher turnover increases, recruitment is more challenging, student achievement momentum drops, and teacher resistance grows to future improvement efforts.


School improvement has traditionally focused on strategy and culture separately.  We don't:

Our Approach

We help you create a sustainable environment where faculty and staff members are inspired by a desire for significance and encouraged to act as leaders regardless of role. Mission-driven schools, versus schools with missions. More specifically, we help you and your leadership team to:

  • Enlist all faculty and staff in a commitment to a shared purpose-inspired mission that speaks to them as individuals, ignites their passion, and unifies them in a meaningful endeavor.
  • Instill a deep commitment to values and a set of standards to which people at all levels of the school can hold themselves accountable.
  • Build healthy, sustainable interdependency and connectedness among administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents, board members, and community members.
  • Create space by carefully promoting freedom from traditional constraints like hierarchy, and filling that space with carefully nurtured freedom to express oneself, experiment, and exercise leadership.

The framework helps committed leaders shed their school's traditional authority hierarchy in return for significantly higher levels of resilience, faculty and staff loyalty, parent satisfaction and student achievement.