Professional development a hot topic for Manatee teachers

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By CHRISTINE HAWES — chawes@bradenton.com

MANATEE — Professional development: such a dry, bureaucratic phrase. And yet, with recent happenings in the Manatee school district, it’s become one of the most controversial and frequently uttered phrases.

It’s the biggest reason why the school board decided in 2007 to let all students out of school 90 minutes early every Wednesday, a practice that was ended by the school board’s recent vote.

Professional development, a fancy word for teacher training, is also the area where two school board members feel more money should be spent in the preliminary $328.7 million budget released by Manatee County Schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal on Wednesday.

And it’s also where at least one school board member believes there may be some waste that can be trimmed.

Teacher training will become even more important in coming years, says Bob Gagnon, Manatee’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, because a new curriculum is gradually being introduced throughout the Manatee school system and others nationwide.

The new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards will require teachers to adjust their classroom approach, he said.

Gagnon says tougher teacher evaluation requirements from the state also heighten the importance of teacher training.

And Manatee County’s ongoing effort to improve its overall student performance, from 47th in the state to the top quarter of Florida school districts, is requiring professional development to be geared toward what each individual teacher needs to address their students’ unique needs.

Chuck Fradley, the district’s new director of professional development, was chosen for his position largely because of his experience in customized professional development. Fradley is the former principal at Wakeland Elementary, which as an International Baccalaureate school, had its own unique curriculum that required its own unique professional development.

“You have to make professional development pertinent to the individual,” Fradley says. “What works for ‘School A’ might mean something different than ‘School B.’ Each school needs to have some say in what they need based on their data, and Mr. Gagnon is going to be looking hard at school data to help them identify their needs so we can tailor professional development to meet those needs.”

That’s something the school district wasn’t achieving with the centralized professional development it was providing about once a month during early-release Wednesdays. The other Wednesdays were devoted to school-based professional development or teacher planning.

In a survey about whether early-release Wednesdays should be continued, teachers overwhelmingly identified district-guided professional development as the least useful aspect of their Wednesday afternoons.

“It was all research-based things the district was bringing,” Fradley says, “but professional development is all about timing and need. And sometimes the timing of the professional development wasn’t right. Schools weren’t ready to hear that particular message. Or maybe it was past time to hear that message.”

Gagnon and Fradley are in the midst of another survey of teachers to pinpoint the changes they want to see in upcoming professional development. Gagnon also has floated the possibility of delivering more professional development through online resources rather than person-to-person.

“Live might be the best practice for some topics, but a blended model that combines live with online is the most cost-effective and is the most respectful way to utilize a professional’s time,” Gagnon says, “It allows them to do it when they can, and where they want to do it.”

Some teachers are skeptical of how online professional development might be carried out. Elizabeth Harris, a third-grade teacher at McNeal Elementary, says it’s hard for teachers to receive answers to follow-up questions when using online professional development.

Linda Carnes, a language arts teacher at Palmetto High, says online learning only adds to the time pressures teachers are already facing. And Wade Smith, an art teacher at Nolan Middle School, says the effectiveness of online professional development will depend on the quality of resources the district provides.

“The idea is good, but how it plays out remains to be seen,” Smith said.

Smith suggested the school district make better use of its own teachers to mentor each other, especially in the area of technology. He also said technology is probably the one area of district-provided professional development he found most useful.

Harris suggested Manatee follow a practice common in Pinellas County, where teachers are allowed “trade days,” days off they are allowed to have during the school year that they can then devote to professional development, often over the summer.

Professional development has emerged as a controversial piece of the budget at least for board members Julie Aranibar and Karen Carpenter. Both say McGonegal’s proposed budget does not provide enough funding for professional development.

The two board members also question whether administrative personnel can be cut from areas that used to be associated with professional development. “We should not have to hire all the people who were tasked with the Wednesday planning,” Aranibar wrote in a letter to McGonegal.

Carpenter said she had heard that 116 people were employed by the professional development department and questioned whether the department’s personnel costs could be reduced.

But Gagnon said some of that information is simply wrong: there are only six employees in the “staff development” department, which is proposed to have a $752,539 budget this coming year.

“Our professional development staff and budget is very small for a district our size,” Gagnon said. He also said that he could not “justify” expanding the department given the financial pressure faced by the school district’s teachers.

Results of the professional development survey of teachers should be available by the end of this coming week, Gagnon said.

Christine Hawes, Bradenton Herald education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @chawesreports.
Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/06/17/4080651/professional-development-a-hot.html#storylink=cpy

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“Can You Imagine It?” – Developing Your Vision and Strategy

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by Tara Powers

There is continuous talk in all organizations about having a compelling mission and vision for your organization but who really cares? Well, you should. Whether you are a large organization or a small business owner, having a vision is essential to be able to communicate a picture of the future of your organization that others can see, understand, and support. A vision helps motivate people into action. A vision engages, excites, and empowers people to move forward in a consistent direction together. A vision makes people more willing to make small sacrifices today for the hope of a better future. A vision helps people know what to do.

Convinced yet? I thought so. Then read on to develop an effective vision for your business with 7 key characteristics to include in your visioning strategy discussion.

7 Key Characteristics to Developing an Effective Vision

  • Be sure your vision tells a story that people can imagine. Can they see it? Can they see themselves in the story?
  • Appeal to the long – term interests of your key stakeholders. What do they care about? How are their values tied to your future?
  • Be sure people believe its possible.
  • It’s exciting. People are excited to hear about it, talk about it, and share it with others. That excitement builds momentum that begins to shift culture and align behaviors with how you will get there.
  • The vision helps to identify what people should be focused on and what they should prioritize.
  • It’s easy to talk about and explain to others.
  • It’s flexible enough to remain relevant even when shifts in the industry, technology and customer needs take place.

When reading through these 7 characteristics ~ how does your organization vision hold up? Perhaps this article will prompt you to engage in crucial conversations about your vision, where you’re heading, and how to ensure that your vision is compelling enough to propel your company into the future.

© 2009 Powers Resource Center

International trainer, consultant, and culture makeover artist, Tara Powers partners with organizations interested in improving their company culture to boost their bottom line. If you’re ready to make changes in your business that will make employees happy AND make you money, check out our valued services at Powers Resource Center

Proof Lacking on Success of Staff Development

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Published November 10, 2010, Education Week

By Stephen Sawchu

Anecdotes about districts’ success stories with particular professional-development brands, services, and approaches are common in today’s marketplace. But is there proof that any of them actually work?

For the most part, the answer is no, according to scholars who have studied the link between postlicensure teacher training and student academic achievement. Reasons for that dearth of evidence include a general lack of rigor in education research, as well as specific obstacles that make studying professional development’s impact on student achievement a challenge.

Few studies of professional development employ scientifically rigorous methodologies. The research literature on the training, scholars say is largely qualitative or descriptive, and therefore not capable of answering nuanced cause-and-effect questions.

At the same time, there are many problems with those programs and studies that do purport to tackle the student-achievement question.

“First, the intervention itself should be workable, and some are not supported by theory or scientific action. Second, the program needs to be fully implemented if you want to see any effects, and in many cases, fidelity is a real challenge,” said Kwang S. Yoon, an analyst at the Washington-based American Institutes of Research who studies in-service training. “And the third piece is the intervention research itself. It may be weak in design.”

For a 2007 review commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, Mr. Yoon and colleagues pulled more than 1,300 potentially relevant research studies of professional development conducted between 1986 and 2006.

Only 132 specifically focused on K-12 in-service training in reading, mathematics, or science. And of those, only nine studies met evidence standards set by the What Works Clearinghouse, the arm of the federal Institute of Education Sciences that reviews experimental research on program impact.

Time on Task

The review found that, across the nine studies, only the teachers who received a substantial amount of development boosted students’ scores. Three of the nine studies, those that examined summer institutes or workshops between five and 14 hours in length, showed no effect on student achievement. The studies that looked at teachers trained between 30 and 100 hours were correlated with positive student-achievement gains.

Advocates have seized on those findings as evidence that the amount of time currently spent on professional development is insufficient. But given the small sample sizes of most of those studies, Mr. Yoon said, they don’t provide conclusive answers to the question of how much time spent in training matters.

Rather, he said, the effects of professional development are likely functions of both the time and the quality of the specific training. “You can have many, many hours without much engagement,” he noted. “Any serious teacher change or teacher learning requires intensive treatment of some topic of significance.”

An added problem is that professional development is mediated through teachers’ own practices. A successful in-service-training program, therefore, must inculcate in teachers behaviors that improve outcomes for students.

“Even if professional development is effective and a teacher learned something, what makes them really improve their practice in the classroom when they are so busy and so tired?” Mr. Yoon said. “I don’t think there is a huge external incentive for the teachers to practice their new learning. … I think that’s a huge [research] gap that we do not think to pay much attention to.”

Some of the largest-scale studies have found that even when teachers have indeed changed practices in response to a professional-development intervention, those changes haven’t led to greater student learning.

A 2008 federally financed study used a randomized experiment to look at the impact of two early-reading intervention programs. It found that the intervention caused significant increases in teachers’ knowledge and changes in their teaching practices, but did not significantly enhance students’ reading achievement.

Many professional-development advocates say one way to ensure that teachers both have enough time for professional development and work to improve their own practice is through site-based professional learning communities. Such communities are formed of teams of teachers who meet frequently to review student-achievement information and tailor instruction accordingly.

High-quality studies specifically focused on the effect of the PLC format of professional development remain sparse, despite the model’s common-sense appeal. The studies that do exist suggest that the success of such endeavors might hinge on having a formal, systematic approach and possibly experts to help guide teachers.

A study published in 2009 in the Elementary School Journal found an achievement edge for schools whose learning teams relied on a set of formal protocols, a leadership structure that guided meetings, and a process for setting forth and solving problems. The study used a quasi-experimental methodology to compare students in nine Title I schools that used that specific framework with students in six other schools using a variety of other school improvement models.

Too Site-Based?

Some scholars worry that the pendulum has already swung too far toward site-based development without proper attention to how the training is structured and led.

“For a long time, most professional development was guided or directed by a central office or a regional office, and those efforts lacked the contextual relevance that was really necessary,” said Thomas R. Guskey, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Kentucky. “Now, we’ve swung the other way and said we have to be completely site-based. … Solutions can’t always come from inside, and oftentimes the findings from research can be particularly instructive, but teachers need guidance and direction on what can be done to bring it to bear in their classrooms.”

Russell M. Gersten, a professor emeritus of education at the University of Oregon, seconds the idea that researchers need to do more to investigate features that seem to yield the most effective site-based training. He and colleagues crafted and tested their own approach for building 1st grade teachers’ capacity to teach reading comprehension and vocabulary, through facilitated study groups that met to discuss empirical reading research and create aligned lesson plans and instruction.

A randomized study of the approach conducted by Mr. Gersten and his team found that teachers aligned their practices with the research, producing modest but statistically significant progress on measures of oral-vocabulary development. Released this year, the study compared teachers in 19 schools receiving federal Reading First funding in three states.

Gains didn’t show up in other areas, but Mr. Gersten said his team is working on a larger-scale study with more statistical “power” to see if the results can be replicated.

Professional Development for Teachers at Crossroads

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Published November 10, 2010, Education Week

Professional Development for Teachers at Crossroads

To Influence Policy, the Field Must be Able to Articulate Both What It Is and How It Can Help Teachers Improve Student Achievement

By Stephen Sawchu

Perhaps no other aspect of the teacher-quality system in the United States suffers from an identity crisis as severe as that of professional development.

Few in the education field discount the eminently logical idea that teachers should be supported in the continuous improvement of their craft. But as a term for describing ongoing training investments in the teaching force, “professional development” has become both ubiquitous and all but meaningless.

Though frequently invoked by lawmakers and consultants, most recently in states’ applications for the federal Race to the Top competition, professional development plans generally incorporate little context about who will provide the training and for what purpose. That this situation endures, despite a focus during the past decade on data analysis and research to improve instruction, is both a testament to the complexity of the professional-development enterprise, and its greatest problem: Mediocre, scattershot training, apart from doing little to help students, is a burden for teachers.

“At some point, you are in this meeting and feel you’ve been there two million times before, and it starts to grate,” said Jess Rhoades Bonilla, an 11th grade English teacher in New York City. “It can be a teacher-morale issue as well as not a good use of time.”

New developments in education policy portend a crossroads of sorts for the field of professional development. For one, the idea of “teacher effectiveness” is now front and center on the state and national policy agenda. In theory, the idea dovetails with the goal of professional development: to ensure that teachers have opportunities to improve their craft and are given tools with which to do so, and that school systems have a way of determining whether students learn more as a result.

Yet advocates acknowledge that professional development risks marginalization in the teacher-effectiveness conversation unless it is able to articulate clearly its place in producing better teachers.

“The hard truth is that, until recently, the field of professional development has been underdeveloped and immature,” said M. Hayes Mizell, a distinguished senior fellow at Learning Forward, a nonprofit group and membership organization that works to improve the quality of ongoing training. “It has tolerated a lot of sloppy thinking, practice, and results. It has not been willing to ‘call out’ ineffective practice and ineffective policy. … It has not devoted attention to outcomes.”

In this special report, Education Week takes a detailed look at some of the critical issues faced by those charged with upgrading the quality of post-preparation teacher training.

Among other topics, this package of stories attempts to offer new insights into some of the fundamental questions about such training’s research base, its cost and its implementation in districts, and the changing marketplace for professional-development providers. The report also aims to launch conversations about changes in the field, including advancement in the curriculum of professional development and a new focus on serving an increasingly diverse student population.

Changing Landscape

Teacher-quality policy has evolved dramatically since 1996, when Education Week last examined professional development in a special report.

At that time, teacher quality was still largely defined by teachers’ characteristics, such as the selectivity of teacher education program attended, credentials held, educational attainment, and state licensing status. But as analyses of longitudinal data linking teachers to student test scores have become common, researchers have discovered that such individual characteristics are by themselves only weakly predictive of student academic success.

In the past two years, policymaking has moved toward linking student outcomes to teacher performance. But as teacher tenure, hiring, seniority, and dismissal policies increasingly come under that microscope, comparatively little attention has been paid to ways to boost the effectiveness of the majority of educators who will remain in classrooms across the country.

From a policy standpoint, that could be partly because of the vast number of initiatives that purportedly invest in enhancing teachers’ knowledge and skills.

“We’ve recognized professional development as important, but we don’t have very clear standards for what we’re looking for and we don’t have much accountability for what teachers engage in,” said Jennifer King Rice, a professor of education policy at the University of Maryland College Park. “It opens the floodgates for just about anything to be called professional development.”

Practices that fall under the broad heading conceivably include everything from teacher induction and contractually set in-service days to content coaching, recertification credits, and participation in professional associations and networks.

Obstacles Abound

In addition, scholars point to problems with how the training is selected and provided.

“Every time the superintendent goes to a conference, the teachers get worried, because they know he’s going to come back with something he wants to try,” said Thomas R. Guskey, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. “We should start where students’ weaknesses and shortcomings are and then seek strategies or techniques to help [teachers] understand those shortcomings.”

A popular model for doing that is the “professional learning community,” or PLC, in which school-level teams of teachers meet periodically during school hours to examine student work from common assignments, brainstorm ways to instruct students who haven’t yet mastered standards, and evaluate the results of reteaching. Such efforts appeal to teachers like Ms. Bonilla.

“One ineffective way of doing PD is very top-down, giving little control to teachers and treating all departments and all teachers the same way,” she said.

As with all teacher training, the team-based approach can be done well or poorly. Supporters of the model stress that merely putting teachers in a conference room once a week doesn’t, by itself, yield better professional development.

“There’s probably not a district out there that doesn’t think it’s doing PLCs,” said Judy Haptonstall, the superintendent of the 5,000-student Roaring Fork district, in Colorado, which for eight years has set aside time each month for teachers to work together. “But the heart of it has to be about planning for good instruction and evaluating teaching.”

Indeed, the relationship of professional development to teacher evaluation is among the murkier areas for educators to make sense of. Evaluation, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s teacher-quality plans, ideally provides teachers with specific feedback about how to improve their craft.

Some educators, like officials at the Learning Forward group, formerly the National Staff Development Council, worry that the focus on individual teacher evaluation will dominate discussions about professional development, causing it to be seen as a remediation tool rather than a process for collective, schoolwide improvement.

But Timothy Daly, the president of the New Teacher Project, a New York City-based training organization, argues that better alignment between individual and schoolwide training is crucial for making professional development relevant.

“You cannot possibly have good professional development without a [formal] evaluation that tells you the skills that need to be developed and without a subsequent evaluation that lets you know whether they’ve been improved,” he said. “It helps set the curriculum for professional development.”

Key Shifts

As such debates wind on, a variety of for-profit and nonprofit providers, both local and national, continue to populate a lucrative marketplace for professional development, and they are beginning to respond to the call to move training closer to schools.

Federal data suggest that a steady increase in teacher hiring during the past decade may have been caused by the phenomenon of the instructional-coaching model for professional development And federal data also document an increase in the number of teachers who report participating in a mentoring program. (“Slew of Layoffs May Be Linked to Overhiring,” May 19, 2010.)

What all the spending on personnel, programming, and teacher release time actually buys remains hard to determine, because districts typically amalgamate federal, state, and local dollars for those purposes— and do little to track their impact on teacher and student learning.

Despite all the challenges in the field, there are signs of rejuvenation, too. Providers of all sorts are creating new programming to respond to new needs, such as helping general teachers work with special populations of students.

On the cutting edge is a way of thinking about professional development that focuses not just on content but also on the minute-by-minute ways teachers make pedagogical decisions in classrooms.

And finally, there are teachers in every building and every school who are dedicated to constant improvement. They include teachers like Corey ft. Sell, an 11-year veteran of the field who for years has grabbed bits and pieces of everything from academic journals to in-service workshops that he felt would make him a better teacher.

Now all that remains is figuring out how to get all teachers to share that degree of professional commitment. That is not an easy task, says the 5th grade teacher in Arlington, Va., when some teachers prefer to close their classroom doors and new ones come into a culture that’s not always committed to ongoing learning.

“If I could find a way to get my own school to be innovative, to disrupt itself,” Mr. Sell said, “I’d do it in a moment.”

Freelance writer Bess Keller contributed to this story.

“Keeping Priorities and Time Management in Alignment”

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Tara Powers

Are employees spending time working on the RIGHT things that will grow your business? Are discussions about top priorities a regular part of management meetings? When is the last time you or your team assessed time management skills?
Each day all of us face the same challenge – a lot to do and limited time to do it. However, there are many savvy business people that have recognized the key to personal and professional success lies in consistently utilizing personal time management skills as well as analyzing and influencing daily environmental pressures. These individuals have learned to spend their time on what matters most.
Understanding and applying time management strategies can help you make tough choices about what to do and what not to do as you go about your day. By critically analyzing how you “spend” your time, you will begin to recognize time wasters and time enhancers that impact your productivity and stress-level on the job and at home.
The Covey Model of Time Management explains that their are two factors that determine any activity:

1. Is it Urgent? Requiring immediate attention and action, causing us to react.
2. Is it Important? Creating results in our work and life and contributing to our vision, purpose and values. 

 Once you understand these factors and you make decisions on how to prioritize and spend your time, your time will ALWAYS fall into one of four “buckets” or Quadrants.
Quadrant 1 activities are considered Important and Urgent. These activities are:

  • Significant issues that require immediate attention like crises, fires or problems
  • These activities can end up dominating you and your time on a daily basis

Quadrant 2 activities are considered Important But Not Urgent. These activities are:

  • The most important area of effective personal management
  • About building relationships
  • Long range planning
  • Exercising and health maintenance
  • Values clarification
  • Areas we spend least amount of time in

Quadrant 3 activities are considered Urgent But Not Important. These activities include:

  • Interruptions, some calls
  • Some mail, some reports and some meetings
  • Bad way to spend your time – isn’t helping to reach your goals
  • Don’t misinterpret urgency for importance (usually based on the expectations of others)
  • Ask “what will be the consequence if I don’t do this?

Quadrant 4 activities are considered Not Important and Not Urgent. They are:

  • Time wasters, busy work
  • Irrelevant mail and email
  • Some phone calls
  • Excessive TV or surfing the net
  • Escape activities

Covey Leadership Center, Inc. (1996)

As I analyze my time over the last six weeks, I spent most of time in Quadrant 1 and 3 and guess what ~ I didn’t feel very productive, satisfied or fulfilled. I am no closer to reaching my goals than I was 6 weeks ago. The reason for that is that I didn’t plan enough Quadrant 2 time each day. 

As a business leader, you and your team should be analyzing your priorities and time regularly to make sure that you are spending time on what matters most. At the end of the day the other stuff your employees are doing most likely isn’t making any positive difference. © 2009 Powers Resource Center

 Tara Powers partners with organizations interested in improving their company culture to boost their bottom line.  If you’re ready to make changes in your business that will make employees happy AND make you money, get your FREE tips now at the Powers Resource Center

“Ways To Keep Employees Happy”

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Tara Powers

 Wanna know what makes employees say “this is a great place to work?” It’s creating a recognition-rich culture. This is a culture where employees believe they are compensated fairly, supervisors appreciate the work their employees do, peers appreciate one another, and there is an overall good feeling employees have about themselves and their role. Is this your workplace? If not, then listen up! Here are 11 inexpensive ways to create a recognition-rich culture and keep your employees engaged and happy about their performance AND about your company.

  1. Let employees be involved in developing new programs (new hire orientation, mentoring, community service, etc.)
  2. Send thank you cards to employee and even their family members for their support.
  3. Provide the employee an opportunity to run a meeting, make a decision for the team, or decide which solution to choose.
  4. Invite the CEO or VP to attend a team meeting to thank the team for a job well done.
  5. Provide a reserved parking space for the month.
  6. Organize lunch with the president or BOD of the organization.
  7. “Get out of work FREE” Card. 1 vacation day, ∏ day off, or extra hour for lunch.
  8. Develop a “Pay It Forward” card and every few months hand these out at a departmental staff meeting. Tell employees they have 48 hours to give this card to someone whom they work with who has made a little difference in their lives.
  9. Thank the team as a group for their involvement, suggestions and initiative. Send an email out to the rest of the organization recognizing their accomplishment.
  10. Allow employees paid time off to be involved in community projects.
  11. Provide your employee a “gratitude journal” with sentiments from employees who were positively impacted by their efforts.

I encourage you to take a look at your culture. Are your employees happy? If not, then start doing something small but significant for them today. These ideas will get you started and there are lots more where these came from!

© 2009 Powers Resource Center

(303)875-5011

“6 Key Steps for Accomplishing Anything”

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by Tara Powers

This article is about clarity of purpose for you, your team, and your business. It includes simple yet powerful steps that when discussed, analyzed, agreed upon, and written down, will provide a clear expectations and a compelling direction for 2010.

The steps outlined in this article are not confusing or difficult. However, many business owners, teams and individuals don’t do it. Why? Here are the excuses that get in the way:

  • not a high priority item
  • don’t have enough time
  • my team won’t want to participate
  • I am not comfortable leading this discussion
  • executives should be doing this stuff, not us
  • my business is doing fine the way it is
  • my team is doing fine the way it is
  • I am doing fine the way I am

I can relate to many of these excuses because I have used them myself and have heard them being used in companies I’ve worked for. These excuses are “vision crushers” and must be seen as obstacles to be removed.  I promise that once you begin using these steps, it becomes a method for accomplishing anything as long as you have the right attitude and determination to implement what you have defined.

Step 1: Identify Values
What are the values that you, your business and/or team live by? What is important to each team member? What is important to the team? What are the standards by which the team makes decisions? How are actions and words a model for values? Are we rewarding behavior that exemplifies our values?

When a team has clarity of values and each team member personally aligns with those values, that is when team commitment, loyalty and pride is high.

Step 2: Develop a Compelling Vision
Where do you want to be a year from now? What will it look like? How will your team be working together? How does this vision of the future appeal to team members values defined in Step 1?

Developing a story about your vision for the future is the only way to engage others and help them see the possibilities and opportunities ahead.

Step 3: Determine Business Model(s) OR How To Support Them
A business model describes the rationale of how a business creates, captures and delivers value. What model of doing business will help you achieve your vision? It may include direct business models, distribution models, low cost carrier business models, loyalty business models, subscription business models, etc. You may use more than 1 model to grow your business and create new revenue streams.  If your team is not involved in determining the business model then the conversation should be about understanding the model and figuring out the best way to support it.

Step 4: Outline Goals
What are the goals within your business model that are necessary to accomplish your vision. This is where you would identify improvement goals, product goals, revenue goals, customer goals, etc. Each goal should have a time frame associated with it. Also, if it’s a big goal then you should break it down into smaller more easily achievable sub goals.

Step 5: Define Methods and Measures
What are the ways that you will accomplish the goals you have outlined? How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Defining methods and measurement is the only way to clarify expectations about what you should be prioritizing and focusing on day to day.

Step 6: Identify Resources
What resources (skills, experience, people, technology, tools, etc.) do you currently have available to help you accomplish your goals? What resources do you need? How will you get these resources and by when?

Using these 6 steps when discussing goals is the best way I know to chart a clear path to success. It is simple, straightforward and effective and represents a strategic plan for growth. If you think this method could work for your business and you would like help implementing it with your team, give us a call – we’re here to help.

© 2009 Powers Resource Center
International trainer, consultant, and culture makeover artist, Tara Powers partners with organizations interested in improving their company culture to boost their bottom line.  If you’re ready to make changes in your organization that will make employees happy AND make you money, check out our valued services at  The Powers Resource Center.