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Principled Possibilities - Ideas for Teaching
Visual representations in Science education: The influence of prior knowledge and cognitive load theory on instructional design principles. Sci Educ. Reynolds G. Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Duarte N. Slide: ology. The art and science of creating great presentations. If information is concealed, temptation grows to manipulate the data to make it look better.
The opportunity for strategic leadership is lost. Worse still, people are implicitly told that there is more value in expediency than in leading the enterprise to a higher level of performance. Strategic leaders know that the real power in information comes not from hoarding it, but from using it to find and create new opportunities for growth. Create multiple paths for raising and testing ideas. Developing and presenting ideas is a key skill for strategic leaders.
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Even more important is the ability to connect their ideas to the way the enterprise creates value. By setting up ways for people to bring their innovative thinking to the surface, you can help them learn to make the most of their own creativity. Of course, it can also be counterproductive to allow people to raise ideas indiscriminately without paying much attention to their development.
So many ideas, in so many repetitive forms, might then come to the surface that it would be nearly impossible to sort through them. The best opportunities could be lost in the clutter. Instead, create a variety of channels for innovative thinking. There could also be apprenticeships, in which promising thinkers, early in their careers, sign on for mentorship with leaders who are well equipped to help them build their skills.
Some organizations might set up in-house courses or sponsor attendance at university programs. Reverse mentoring — in which younger staff members share their knowledge of new technology as part of a collaboration with a more established staff member — can also be effective. Google has made use of a number of channels to promote innovation. People at Google learn to make the most of these opportunities — they know the conversations will be tough, but that genuinely worthwhile innovative thinking will be recognized and rewarded.
The next four principles involve unconventional ways of thinking about assessment, hiring, and training. Make it safe to fail. That works well until there is an actual failure, leading to a genuine loss. Those who fail often suffer in terms of promotion and reward, if not worse. You must enshrine acceptance of failure — and willingness to admit failure early — in the practices and processes of the company, including the appraisal and promotion processes.
For example, return-on-investment calculations need to assess results in a way that reflects the agreed-upon objectives, which may have been deliberately designed to include risk. Strategic leaders cannot learn only from efforts that succeed; they need to recognize the types of failures that turn into successes. They also need to learn how to manage the tensions associated with uncertainty, and how to recover from failure to try new ventures again.
Honda is one enterprise that has taken this approach to heart. Like several other industrial companies, the automaker has had a dramatic, visible failure in recent years. The installation of faulty equipment from its favored airbag supplier, Takata, has led Honda to recall about 8. The problem was the lack of attention to the failure at an early stage, when it could have been much more easily corrected. Provide access to other strategists. Give potential strategic leaders the opportunity to meet and work with their peers across the organization.
Otherwise, they remain hidden from one another, and may feel isolated or alone. The first step is to find them. Strategic leaders may not be fully aware themselves that they are distinctive. But others on their team, and their bosses, tend to recognize their unique talents. Instead, cultivate the idea that many managers, perhaps even most, have the potential to become strategic leaders. Then bring the first group together. Invite them to learn from one another, and to explore ways of fostering a more strategic environment in the rest of the enterprise.
Develop opportunities for experience-based learning. The vast majority of professional leadership development is informative as opposed to experiential. Although traditional leadership training can develop good managerial skills, strategists need experience to live up to their potential. Bring together a team of potential strategic leaders with a collective assignment: to create a fully developed solution to a problem or to design a new critical capability and the way to generate it.
Give them a small budget and a preliminary deadline.
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Have them draw plans and financial estimates of their solutions. Then run the estimates through an in-depth analysis. This project might include a simulation exercise, constructed with the kind of systems simulation software that has been used to model and participate in wargames since the s.
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Have them create the new capability or initiative on a small scale, and put it into effect. Then track the results assiduously. Assign mentors with experience to help them make the most of their effort — without sidetracking it. Whether you set up the project in reality or as a simulation, the next step should be the same.
Schedule a series of intensive discussions about the results. Explore why these results appeared, what the team might have done differently, and how things could be different in the future if the group changed some of the variables. What might we do differently this year to emphasize vigor over rigor?
How might we help our students to see their own learning as flexible, and foster their ability to learn from failure? Perhaps most importantly, how might we help students reach high expectations not through stiffness and inflexibility but through multiple pathways that capitalize on their individual gifts and passions?
What does it look like to facilitate learning experiences with that level of flexibility and personalization, particularly in light of our standards-driven accountability systems in the United States? We all know that challenges exist, that even the best of teachers feel they have to teach to the test by February or March. But while we enjoy the first few months of school, with testing still far off on the horizon, how might we rethink how we meet those standards?
If we put vigor first and trust that learning happens when students are engaged and excited, we might combat the belief that rigor leads to excellence.