1. UNIFYING PRIORITY

FROMTO

Follow the schedule

Every job in a school district is aligned with this priority — which was effective for making Model T cars, because

IF

everyone follows the schedule

THEN

no one slows down the line.

And it works, for making Model T cars.

Self-Directed Drive

Implementing this Unifying Priority solves a structural one-and-many problem in schooling.

IF

students become more and more able to Self-Direct wisely and responsibly — more and more autonomously

THEN

students are more and more able to work to their own unique ability.

This begins to solve the structural problem of the-one and the-many in education work. The one adult has only one mouth. Students are all different. Therefore we must provide more and more autonomy...

In addition, the very same autonomy students need to learn to their own ability, that very same autonomy is the first of three conditions which activates the natural drive to create and learn. The section "6. Method motivation theory" summarizes the science of motivation.

A Unifying Priority is not the desired result.

But rather, the aim, which if attained, gets the desired result.

Focusing on a Unifying Priority aligns activity, hearts, mind and intention with a focus which gets the desired results.

Further, it is a huge mistake to unify the focus of the organization on results. Managers have colorful ways of explaining why.

If one focuses on results, as Myron Tribus famously said, as quoted by W. Edwards Deming, "...managing by results is like driving down the road looking at the rear view mirror..." You can imagine what would happen! Other managers refer to a focus on results as what comes out of the back end of a horse.

Managing by results has two fundamental flaws that are well understood. In fact, management by results was codified into a method invented by Peter F. Drucker called Management by Objectives.

  1. Managers and employees who are pressured for a particular knowledge-work result feel compelled to achieve that result on time even after learning enough about the challenge to know it will take longer. When a bonus is attached to achieving the knowledge-work result on time, the result is often lower quality, cutting corners or even cheating.

  2. The other flaw is that Management by Objective discourages collaboration. A manager is less likely to help another — even if doing so would better advance the purpose of the organization, if doing so would cause one's own objectives to be put off till later.

For these reasons, effective methods never focus on the desired result, but instead on a priority which if achieved, gets the desired result.

As widely known as this concept is, apparently it is not known widely enough. Educators have gone to jail because of cutting corners after a tremendous amount of pressure was applied for results. In Washington D.C., the great gains reported under the start of a new Chancellor, Michelle Rhee, were probably the result of cheating.

Aligning the entire organization with an effective Unifying Priority however, allows everyone to work on the system itself so the system wants what we want.