Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Keep doing what works
When people talk about improving a school or a business or a process of some kind, most often they think about fixing something that's broken. Yes, when you find something wrong, by all means, fix it. But there's something else that pays off even better.
Sometimes, you'll run across surprise successes. When this happens, keep repeating the surprise win!
Here's an example. I found three schools today whose data showed dramatic improvements in tardies. One of the schools had a 71% reduction in tardies compared to last year. That amounted to thousands of tardies fewer. I called each to find what they had done to make such large improvements in tardies. I know lots of other schools that would love to reduce their tardies. But these schools hadn't had tardy improvement programs going so they didn't know why the tardies were so much improved.
This is a great opportunity. Something caused these improvements. The numbers are too large to be explained by random variation. If we figure out the cause, it can thange the most common discipline issue simply by repeating whatever they are already doing.
This kind of opportunity comes up more often now that we have enough data to look for interesting things that are happening. But to benefit from it takes three things.
First, we need to be willing to take the time to just poke around in the data to see what's interestung.
Second, once we've found something interesting, we must resolve to track down what caused this surpise success.
Third, we need to keep doing what works, whether we found it by surprise or not.
Posted at 12:00 AM
, surprise success