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Monday, April 18, 2016

Go Hard on the Problem not on the People

When I read Getting to Yes. . . I remembered how humbled I was by all that new learning. I had not thought of many of the ideas relayed in the book and still today it takes concerted effort to bring the main points to mind, points I outlined in this post and others.

As I think of that book and a main point, "Go hard on the problem, not on the people," I wonder how I can make that visible in my practice each and every day. To think about making main points visible is a first step when it comes to embedding new ideas into your practice. As I think of this today, I am reminded of the following:
  • Don't blame individuals for problems, instead look for the systematic roots of issues. Problems have multiple origins and connections--rarely, and I surmise never, does a problem have a single origin. 
  • Don't name call. Too often we name call instead of rightly dealing with an issue. For example when an issue about teaching was brought up recently, a colleague suggested that anyone could teach that subject. That comment served to demean rather than to unearth the root of the problem and make it better.
  • Always speak with respect.
  • Be wary of conjecture, and instead seek the facts and evidence of a situation.
  • Work together to solve problems. There is greater good work that comes from collaboration.
  • Be unafraid to discuss the tough issues. When we do not deal with the difficult issues in straightforward, respectful, and transparent ways, those issues stand in the way of the good work we can do.
  • Be forgiving and empathetic in times of trouble. We all err, and no one has all the answers. It is essential that we care for one another as we solve problems and make things better.
  • Find common ground. The best solutions grow out of our common ground, and our shared interests. 
  • Use humor appropriately and respectfully.
As we work together to build caring, compassionate, collaborative, and successful schools, we need to "go hard on problems not the people." That will take us to the places that make our schools meaningful, dynamic, and quality environments for teaching and learning.