Héctor García

Héctor García, PhD, is superintendent of Plano District 88 in Illinois. He has been an educator for nearly 20 years, serving as a teacher, principal, and district administrator in a variety of school settings.

Spring Is a Great Time to Re-energize Staff and Score a Win!

While it may be tempting to blame staff members for a decrease in energy toward original goals, the time is right to go for some WINS! As Dov Seidman states, “We are now asking for so much more humanity [collaboration, enthusiasm, passion, etc.] from people that you can’t say do it by dangling carrots or threatening with a stick.”

Consider the following four strategies to inspire people this quarter!

  1. Mine a win.

“I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.”—Unknown

It is not unusual for highly effective teachers and teams to minimize their achievements and successes. After all, many teams set audacious goals that often mask great improvements. Therefore, challenge your leadership team to mine those successes by analyzing the progress that teams have made since the start of the school year. Leadership teams must ensure that staff members don’t minimize their progress!

  1. Plan a small win.

“Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”—Karl Weick

What if you developed a small win that could be achieved in the next two or three weeks by one of your most difficult teams? For example, these five students in our classes will meet the standard or we will all make sure that everyone has their common assessment data ready at every meeting. Small wins tend to set off a chain reaction of positive mindsets that increase the team’s level of perseverance, commitment, and enthusiasm.

  1. Play to win.

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.”—Henry Miller

Consider how many times teams who are struggling say that something won’t work because “we are just setting ourselves up for failure.” Now consider entrepreneurs who believe that unprecedented growth comes only when we leap into an opportunity that shows promise, but does not guarantee a smooth road or a linear path to success. So, let’s be very public in celebrating those “entrepreneurs” who have embraced the challenge of trying a promising strategy. For example, bring a team to the next board meeting for a five-minute recognition or post a brief article on your website.

  1. Inspire a win!

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Teams late in the year are hungry for inspiration. Yet, as a leadership team we rarely share the why of our work. Simon Sinek in Start with Why contends that people are more motivated by learning about the why than interested about the how. How often does the staff hear that we are striving to become a highly effective PLC because for some students, school will be the only viable path for success in life? Leadership teams need to help staff members reconnect with this fundamental desire to make a difference.

What strategy would resonate most with your leadership team and staff?

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