We have recently completed work on Psychological S.A.F.E.T.Y with the leadership team at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua. This the start of the next part of their organization development strategy.
The school has been on a journey over recent years to improve its performance, the school recently got an excellent review from the Education Review Office. The dilemma they faced is where to now?
The senor leadership team were introduced to the Psychological S.A.F.E.T.Y. model and decided to use it to develop the management team across the school, some 10 leaders in total. The aim was to create the space that would tap all of the talent of the wider management group and facilitate them to be even more creative in the way in which they approach their teaching philosophy.
What Did We Do?
We used the Psychological S.A.F.E.T.Y assessment tool from the Academy of Brain Based Leadership and put all ten leaders through that assessment. This is a self-perception inventory (as opposed to a personality measurement tool). Secondly, each participant had a one on one debrief about their scores, triggers and how they might manage those triggers. It is backed by some of the latest neuroscience research. Each debrief lasted 1 ½ hours and was undertaken by a trained coach. After that the school decided that they wanted to spend a day off-site both unpacking what the results meant for the team and also how does it impact the way the management team operates as individuals and as a collective especially given the differing styles around the table.
It was a large investment in professional development from the school. They are now wanting to put all their teachers through it. It has given them a common framework and language to have more challenging leadership team debates and they understand the impact of their behaviors and triggers and those of others in those discussions.
They are now having some robust conversations about where they take the school and how it will look and feel. This is very different to where they are now. So, this process has helped them create that space so that the value of everyone is honored and they can tap into the true creativity of the whole team.
The Last Word – Goes to the client
We were struggling to move the organization forward from good to great. Technically the school delivered good outcomes and a clearly trodden and successful path.
To move to a sustainable continuous growth model would require new thinking across a larger team of individuals. Leveraging the collective skills in the entire leadership team was essential but knowing what to leverage required us to become aware and notice the skills and attributes of all members, some of which were fairly deeply hidden.
Moving the thinking of the team leaders away from ‘their team’ to ‘their leadership team’ as a collective was key. Making everyone aware of the potential challenges of the “turf v trust” model and finding ways to develop true collaboration by giving up turf was at the forefront.
Developing collective efficiency in its truest sense would lead us to have a positive impact on student outcomes, which is our key strategic imperative.
Benefits of this process from Lynmore School’s perspective?
· Gaining a greater understanding of the purpose of working together as a team and the purpose of having a leadership team in place.
· Developing a shared understanding of the purpose and strategic direction of the organization.
· Understanding the personal strengths, motivations and triggers of individual team members.
· Being confident to moderate our interactions with each other, give up some sacred cows (turf) and to leverage skill and insight across the entire team.
We were initially nervous about the process as it was potentially exposing for individual members but the structure of the programme built in a way that by the end the level of trust across the team was exceptionally high giving a very strong foundation to build the next iteration of the organization on.