By Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., Harvard Business School Press, 1997

Book Review by Herb Rubenstein, President, Herb Rubenstein Consulting


In 131 very readable pages Professor Joseph Badaracco invites the reader to become familiar with some of the most insightful and rewarding questions we can ask in our time.  Professor Badaracco weaves questions throughout the book selected from Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, William James, Frederich Nietszche, Immanual Kant, Machiavelli, John Stuart Mill, Sir Isaiah Berlin,  John Paul Satre, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Peter Drucker and many others.  These questions guide the reader in analyzing and learning from important decisions that three real business people – Steve Lewis, Edouard Sakiz and Peter Adario are faced with on their jobs in the 1990′s.

The Three Case Studies

Professor Badaracco’s three central figures all must make important, life changing choices.  None of them has an easy way out.  Steve Lewis is an Afro-American financial analyst with a great Wall Street future ahead of him and strong pro-civil rights parents behind him.  He is asked to attend (but not join in) a presentation by his company on an important project just because he is black.  He struggles with the tokenism, the false showing of  diversity by the company (especially since he had never even worked on the project) and faces the issue of going to the presentation and getting ahead in his company or not going to the presentation and being left behind.  His approach to analyzing the situation and his resolution of this issue represent a win-win situation that does not compromise his core value of being treated and judged based on his actions, not on his race.

Peter Adario, another central figure in the book, is a mid-level manager caught in a situation where there is a conflict between his personal values and the professional obligations he has as employee/manager dedicated to serve the best interest of his employer.  This type of conflict occurs on a monthly, if not weekly basis for many managers.  The decision he must make should he fire (or let someone else fire) a talented, female employee, who works 60 hours per week.  The problem faced by the company is that this dedicated single mother is not keeping up on an important account and occasionally misses work due to her family obligations.  One person in the company presses Peter to fire her.  Peter resists.  In reflecting on the situation, Peter realizes that the other employees at this woman’s level are either not married, have no minor children or are part of two parent families where they can devote almost every waking moment and ounce of energy to the company.  Peter directly addresses the issue of how strongly should he and his company stand behind the “family friendly” business environment (which he personally believes in strongly).  He struggles with two very timely questions: 1) “Should he or his company care deeply about sending this worker onto the unemployment rolls?” 2)  “Should the bottom line of the company be the only guiding force in deciding the fate of a hard working, talented, dedicated, single parent employee?”   Professor Badaracco also asks in an enlightening, yet demanding fashion whether Peter Adario should have anticipated this problem in the screening and hiring process and successfully planned for how it would be resolved down the road.


A third central figure in the book is Edouard Sakiz, CEO of Roussel-Uclaf, the pharmaceutical company that developed the abortion pill, RU 486.  The question he must grapple with is “Will his company sell the RU 486 abortion pill or keep it off the market due to protests by anti-abortion groups and the potential for economically harmful boycotts of its other products?

This question has many underlying questions including: “Who does a CEO/manager represent when he or she makes a critical decision like this?”  Badaracco explores many possible answers including the stockholders, the management or employees of the company, the customers, the nation, and even explores whether a business must or should take into account the best interests of society or the world at large in making such a decision.   Badaracco’s analysis of the Sakiz/RU 486 drama, played out on the world stage, explores a critical area managers must consider every day — “How do you make these tough decisions and protect and enhance your own position and personal power in the process?”

Defining Moments Analysis

Each of the decisions faced by the three main characters represents an important personal, professional and social decision.  The process of reaching and implementing such a decision is in Professor Badaracco’s words, a “defining moment” — a process that “reveals, tests and shapes.” Badaracco criticizes much of what we read today in business ethics as simple guides advising us of the reasons for choosing “right” over “wrong.”  This book suggests that the truly difficult decisions are the decisions between “right and right” that good, thoughtful people must make every day.

Choosing between two “right” decisions requires first that the decision maker analyze the situation carefully and accurately.  Second, in order to make the “proper” decision Badaracco teaches that the decision maker become very clear about his or her values and how strongly or weakly the decision maker is attached to these values.  Third, the decision maker must become keenly aware of and sensitive to the values of others (especially of others who are powerful).  And fourth and most importantly, the decision maker must be able to analyze carefully and in detail the long term effects or results of making one choice over another.  In each case study in Badaracco’s book, the author makes absolutely clear that the decision maker’s life will never be the same after the decision is made and the defining moment has passed.

Each human being on this planet has defining moments.  The book suggests, correctly I believe, that most of the time we pass through life on such a fast train that we do not even realize when a defining moment has occurred.  Even when we realize that a defining moment has arrived we do not stop to take adequate measure, reflect and learn sufficiently from this defining moment to fully understand how this defining moment has “revealed, tested and shaped” who we are as a human being.  Badaracco’s book is designed to fill a gap in our business management literature.

The gap in the literature is the lack of a proper conceptual and practical framework to use in dealing with defining moments.  Due to the lack of this framework, Badaracco suggests that decision makers can not appreciate the true value of defining moments.  In addition decision makers do not prepare in advance for when a predictable defining moment will occur.  By preparing properly for a defining moment we will not only know ourselves better, but we can improve our decision making ability by planning for success, anticipating the obstacles and even preparing for and overwhelming the opposition to the course that we want to choose.

Ultimately Badaracco’s framework is designed to allow the reader to take great strides to improving how managers (and commoners) make important decisions in the future.

The Context

In addition to being practical, the book is thoughtful and intellectual.  In Defining Moments Professor Badaracco carefully synthesizes important elements from the works of all of the authors, statesmen and leaders cited above and addresses important questions of our time.  For example, Nietzsche’s question “What is your way?” (which is stated elsewhere in the book- “This is my way; where is yours?”) strongly implies that each of us should have our own way and be our own compass.  The questions raised in analyzing each case study show clearly that important decisions should be made with a careful understanding of the values, goals, viewpoints and intentions of others who have an interest in the decision.  Professor Badaracco states persuasively, “A talent for understanding what facts and events mean to others is especially valuable when managers confront difficult ethical issues.”  Simply put, what is a defining moment for you is probably of great interest and concern to others and if they are stakeholders in the decision making process or the result of the decision making process, it is critical to understand their views on the matter before one makes such an important decision.

This is not just a feel good; everything will turn out all right business book.  This is a book that discusses raw power in meaningful terms: how to measure it, how to use it and how to survive it. Some of the great lessons the book teaches are the value and necessity of “skepticism,” candor, and realism; the need for a manager to identify patterns of behavior quickly; the importance of laying the groundwork for success of employees and endeavors; the need to understand the real power struggles in an organization.

The book also stresses the significance of being able to play to win and to create and implement business plans that do not fail just because some elements of an approach do not work exactly as anticipated.  Badaracco states that a “plan of action must be robust across a range of possible scenarios and altered circumstances.”  Although Defining Moments does not tell us exactly how to draft, much less implement, such a “robust plan” it certainly gets the reader thinking in the right direction with its explanation of “virtu,” the word used by Machiavelli to signify “vigor, confidence, imagination, shrewdness, boldness, practical skill, personal force, determination and self-discipline.”

Badaracco also seems to side with Machiavelli’s view that “weak leaders and fragile organizations accomplish little in this world for good or ill, because they are preoccupied with survival.”  After examining the need for an organization to be very profitable and very successful, the book exhorts managers to ask the question, “Have I thought creatively and imaginatively about my organization’s role in society and its relationship to its stakeholders?”  Here again, Defining Moments, points the reader in the right direction.



So, what does it take to realize the “potential greatness” of a defining moment? Badaracco’s answers and prescription are straightforward, yet profound.  He suggests that we must have “creativity, persistence, courage, restraint, shrewdness and fairness.”  But Badaracco realizes that these qualities are not enough.  In addition, one must 1) seek a quiet space for contemplation and serenity away from the daily pressures; 2) keep a journal as Marcus Aurelius did; and 3) reflect seriously on one’s past, acknowledging a dozen or more people by recognizing what each have taught us or how each has influenced or contributed to our lives.

Defining Moments is the beginning of a journey for thoughtful businesspeople which can guide us through difficult choices between “right and right.”  It can improve the reader’s chances of creating that “certain kind of life” that is ethical, sensitive to one’s own values, the values of others and the need for success and profitability.  I recommend the book to any manager, employee, business owner, non-profit executive, parent, minister or rabbi, politician, artist, entertainer, investor or educator who has to make important, life altering choices between two alternatives that are, in many respects, both “right.”  This book takes us far beyond deciding between “right and wrong” to a level of thought, analysis and decision making ability that can transform the way you look at making important decisions and choices in the future.


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Article by Herb Rubenstein

“There is no formula to relationships.  They have to be negotiated in loving ways, with room for both parties, what they want and what they need, what they can do and what their life is like.”

Morrie Schwartz, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albon


This article is based in part on my participation at an event where Julio Olalla gave an address sponsored by The Georgetown University Certificate Program in Training and The World Bank in Washington, D.C.  The contents of this article include many concepts expressed by Mr. Olalla in his presentation combined with many concepts which I have learned over many years of serving as an executive coach to organizational leaders and students at the Universities where I teach entrepreneurism, strategic planning and leadership.

Julio Olalla is a leader in the field of coaching. He is a lawyer from Chile who has changed professions to head up a world-renowned school of coaching operating in North and South America. He has coached over 35,000 people and certified over 1,000 people as Master Coaches through his programs on two continents. His work centers on fostering improved communication, supportive learning environments and improved productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.   The goal of this article is to combine the insights that we have discovered at Growth Strategies, Inc. in our executive coaching practice with the insights offered by Mr. Ollala in his presentation.

Improving the Ability to Work Together

A major goal of coaching is to improve one’s ability to work successfully with others. One of Olalla’s essential ideas in this regard is that an “organization” is a conversational network. In order to work effectively in improving organizations one must become attuned to the conversation that is going on in the organization.

A second idea stressed by Olalla used to help people he coaches become more successful in organizations deals with the biology of cognition. For coaches to be effective, they must know how those they coach learn in a physiological sense as well as how they learn intellectually and emotionally.

A third idea that coaches must master with those they coach is to learn how those they coach, and the organizations in which these people operate daily, view and interpret both the past and the present. Today, with people having more information today than ever before, people without realizing it much more quickly (and possibly more permanently, interpret this information.  Sam Donaldson, the news reporter, recently stated in a seminar that reporters are giving out so many stories, many of which including conflicting facts, that people’s and organization’s ability to interpret these stories is being pushed to the limit.  And as Olalla and many others have documented, people do not react to the facts; they react to their interpretation of the facts.  Since interpretation drives behavior and a coach’s job is to assist people with improving behavior and the results of behavior, a great coach must understand how people and organizations interpret “reality.

Since many interpretations of past facts are strong barriers to both future action and learning, the coach must be able and willing to assist people and organizations in improving their interpretation skills. Assisting people in improving their ability to “interpret” reality, allows people and organizations to converse more effectively, learn more effectively and ultimately, act more effectively.  Today’s literature on “learning organizations” often fails to grasp that the purpose of learning is to create wisdom. Learning itself, when it is successful, creates wisdom and we must take as an article of faith that wisdom creates better action and better results.  Thus, a coach’s road must include aiding clients and their organizations become aligned with the goal of attaining wisdom.

Learning, for many, has been given a role in life today that is inconsistent with the history of its role throughout generations. Today, learning, for many, has been placed outside of the fundamental concerns of our lives and outside of the major concerns of the organizations in which we work. When issues arise, people and organizations seek to devise technical solutions to the issue, and often fail to address the issue and how the issue or problem or challenge arose in the first place. Typically, even when a technical solution solves a “problem,” neither the solution nor the process of developing that solution does not create the learning necessary to resolve the issue in a way that improves the individual or organization’s capacity to deal with the next set of issues when they arrive.  Coaches can guide their clients to consciously use their learning in a cumulative way so that it is generalized to the point of having applicability to tomorrow’s problems.

Learning Environments

Today there is a strong emphasis on the learning organization. What will create effective learning in an organization? Olalla and the “learning organization literature” describe the keys to creating a learning organization. They are:

  • Enthusiasm for learning
  • Respect and dignity for each individual
  • Pleasure being derived from work and the relationship with the organization
  • Attention to all that can be learned from the verbal and body language, mood and culture of organizations and individuals
  • Undertaking and promoting new conversations
  • Addressing issues in ways that were previously unthinkable
  • Creating and supporting a strong demand or hunger for learning and questioning with individuals and organizations
  • Identifying the barriers, or lack of interest, to creating great questions
  • Limiting the rewards for explanations and questions
  • Allowing individuals and organizations to expand the space of “I don’t know” as part of the conversation

Olalla emphasizes that learning cannot take place either efficiently or effectively in an environment of fear and uncertainty. Where there is fear and/or distrust, high levels of learning are impossible. Where there is respect and dignity, learning is inevitable.  Thus a coach, should inquire and observe with an inquisitive mind the elements of fear and uncertainty within individuals and organizations.

Coaching and Personal Development

People often go into organizations as workers wanting to serve other human beings, but after time this desire to serve others dries up. In order to become effective coaches and to improve the inner workings and productivity of organizations, we need to understand the dynamic behind why this desire to serve others dries up within the individual.  Usually the causes of this “drying up” or “burning out” are in the organization, even more than the individual.  Thus, as Durkheim the father of sociology repeatedly taught, to understand the individual, one must learn and understand the social and organizational context(s) within which that individual lives and works.

Personal coaching is the discipline designed to promote effective work at the individual level in an organizational context. Effective work is a function of a purpose, a commitment to realize a strategy to recruit, manage, organize and deploy resources efficiently to accomplish the tasks necessary to achieve the purpose.

Teaching differs from coaching in that the typical model of “teaching” is where one person delivers information to another. Training differs from coaching in that the goal of training is usually to impart some skill or system to another person or organization who will master this skill through repetition.  The essence of coaching is to guide the client to bring forth the best of his or her skills, knowledge, commitment and to discover his or her talents rather than just get some new skills, talents, information or even knowledge from someone else, like the coach.  Coaching leads a person to develop him or herself, not add some new layer onto him or her self through taking some insight from the coach.

Coaching often requires explanations.  Explanations can be powerful to take an idea to the next level. A coach must be very aware whether an explanation serves a client as a gateway or barrier to an idea or concept at a higher level.  Thus, coaches must be great listeners and must coach their clients to become better and better listeners.

The Model of Coaching

When coaching takes place, there is a coach, an observer (who is the client or “doer’), action and results. At all times in successful coaching, the coach and the doer sees and assesses the results, uses this feedback and through guidance and explanations from the coach, the doer creates a new platform of thinking, reasoning, perception and/or commitment, that allows the doer to revise and improve the doer’s actions.

Thus, to repeat an earlier point when we were discussing interpretations, a critical function of the coach is to understand how the observer (the  doer) observes the world and how the organizations in which the doer operates observes the world. In order to address that matter fully, the coach needs to understand “How did the doer become the type of doer that he or she is? And, “How did the organization become the way that it is?”

Coaches need to both understand the world through their eyes and they need to listen carefully so they can understand for the ways that those they coach understand the world.  Coaches must be able to cross the bridges of these “understandings” without creating a n in surmountable backlash by the doer or the organization.   This requires substantial diplomatic skills on the part of the coach.

Coaching As A Change Process

In order to change the action, the result, coaches must assist the observer/doer in changing in fundamental ways.  They must also, in some cases, prepare the doer to change his or her organization, especially its pattern of interpreting reality.  Otherwise, coaches are merely working on the symptoms. It is never enough, when coaches want to improve results, merely to give information. If coaches just give information, even if that information is acted on, the change in results is temporary. When there is isolated teaching or training, based primarily on the giving of information, there is often no permanent, useful change, that the doer or organization experiences in a sustainable manner.  When there is some change followed by actions that effectively undo the positive changes, resignation sets in, builds its own momentum and becomes a strong  predisposition toward no positive action occurring in the future.

Coaching is fundamentally and initially concerned with the observer, the doer, more than with the results. Coaching enlarges the vision of the observer/doer in order to enlarge the things that the doer will be able to see as possible that previously did not seem possible. By seeing something as possible that one, at the individual or organizational level, did not see as possible previously, there is growth of the individual and there is the substantially increased likelihood that what the doer now sees as possible will become a fact in the future.


Generally we “explain” phenomena by saying, “This is what happened and why.”  It can be as simple as I ate a large bag of potato chips and gained a pound.  A teacher could explain the large bag of potato chips has 3,500 calories and for every additional 3,500 calories eaten, all other things being equal, a person will gain one pound of weight.  That is very useful teaching, but it is not coaching.  Coaches need to be able to understand and to coach in a way that allows the observer/doer to understand the observer/doer’s relationship with the phenomena of eating the whole bag of potato chips.  The does must be led to understand by the coach that he or she was “cause” (or responsible) in creating that activity in order for the coach’s coaching on the subject to be used effectively by the doer.

Innovation or change is impossible when we believe that we had no part in making something the way it is.  Yet, we often tell the story of what happened in a way that is designed to shield ourselves of being cause and of being responsible for what took place.  How many car accident stories start out, “I was running late and had to get to…” when a person being coached on how to not drive into car accidents surely needs to start off the story as to why he or she was running late or believed he or she “had to” get somewhere by a certain time.  To the extent people are stuck in the explanations, “this is the way it is”, that shield them from being “cause” or being responsible for all of their actions and the results of their actions,  innovation is not possible.  Coaching must also get at the source of why change or innovation is not occurring before a coach can effectively coach another person to change, innovate or be more successful.


A key to financial success is the ability and willingness to take intelligent, calculated, entrepreneurial type risk. An individual or organization’s view toward risk and their predisposition toward risk will be a great factor in determining its ultimate level of success.  In the K-12 educational sector, there is very little risk tolerance and the results of this sector have been very disappointing for some time.  Administrators will not risk letting teachers teach subjects in ways the teachers think best.  And schools are not willing to allow students to be very innovative in their approaches to the subject matter.  The new era of “accountability” in schools is likely to further reduce a school’s willingness to take risks.

The Role of Language/Linguistics in Coaching and the Change Process

Language has several important dimensions:

  • Language as the creator and documenter of distinctions
  • Language as commitment, the speech act
  • Requests
  • Demands
  • Offers
  • Declarations
  • Assertions
  • Assessments
  • Questions
  • Etiquette

An assessment is not an assertion. An assessment is an interpretation.  An assertion is a reporting of what one believes are the facts.

An assessment is a judgment.  Often that judgment is concealed to the speaker who believes he or she is making an assertion, especially when the speaker tries to make their judgments and opinions sound like facts.  Assertions often retard new ways of thinking about something and this, in turn, will have the effect of retarding change.

An important tool of coaching is to constantly bring in distinctions that challenge the current assessments that an individual, or a collective organization, holds.  These distinctions must be introduced diplomatically and in the weight example, a simple distinction, like for each large bag of potato chips (the 3,500 calorie per bag variety) that you do not eat that you would have otherwise eaten, (all other things being equal), you will save yourself 3,500 calories and you will weigh one less pound.  And one less pound to you is valuable to you because….. where the doer fills in the rest of the sentence.

The effective use of linguistics is essential in coaching. Language gives us the ability to make distinctions. The distinctions we make create or limit our ability to make observations. Our language creates or limits our ability to listen (listening is an audible observation that impacts on the individual or organization). The distinctions and observations we make create our culture, since culture is defined by the common set of distinctions and observations made within an organization and society. Culture results from a sharing of distinctions in a manner so a group of people experience the same observations and listening and look at and see the world in the same way.  This is why when someone yells “Fire” in a crowded night club, everyone goes to the doors as fast as possible.  We all know what someone yelling
”Fire” means in a crowded nightclub and it means exactly the same thing to everyone there sober enough to understand.

Coaches must be aware that their clients and the organizations where their clients live and work often lack many of distinctions that exist in others and in other organizations.  Coaches must assist their clients create and expand their ability to make distinctions.

Language with a broad range of distinctions reveals.  But language with only a few distinctions, often conceals.

Effect of Language and Physiology on Emotion/Moods

There are emotional levels within individuals and organizations.  Coaches and doers must learn to read and understand them.
Emotion is a basic building block to behavior and helps guide and control each individual’s and each organization’s fundamental predisposition toward action/inaction.

Some emotions, just as some words in a language, do not work in support of some actions. Some emotions even prevent some actions from taking place at all or cause the action to be “half-hearted” or destined to fail right from the beginning.  Below are several emotions explained as distinctions:

  • Resentment-a secret promise of revenge
  • Fear-a concern regarding an anticipated loss
  • Sadness-concern over actual or perceived loss

Fear predisposes people not to take action because of the doubt that fear causes. Often, people are afraid of their fear, afraid to act in the face of fear.  Some people fear quitting smoking cigarettes to such a great extent they don’t even try or take more time between their cigarettes.  Then, sometimes these same people, one day, just stop and do not have the results they feared and wondered why they did not quit long ago.  Similarly, people are often fearful of leaving their job or city only to find, with some real glee, that the next job or city is a real delight.  Fear is very powerful and coaches must recognize it even if the doer does not.  It takes substantial coaching and diplomatic skills to educate a client/doer that he or she is not acting due to fear when that person is not ready, willing or able to notice or acknowledge this fear.  The ability of a person through coaching to begin to recognize his or her own fear or sadness (which also depresses one’s predisposition) opens up great pathways to learning, to becoming a better observer and becoming a more successful doer.

Emotions give individuals and organizations pain and cause individual and organizational suffering. Coaches must seek to get to the root cause of the pain and suffering and the emotions that accompany them before a coach and a doer can identify the best approach to improvements.

Emotions are the shift in one’s mood that people experience in association with a certain event. Most people blame the event for the emotion.  Many “explanations” are stories that people tell about an event with a subplot that the thing that happened made them feel a certain way and that feeling or emotion caused them to act in a certain way.  This is a very common story and a coach must often encourage his or her client to accept the distinction that no event or outside source, per se, causes any emotion or shift in mood. It is our interpretation of that event, the meaning that we attach to the event, or even the way we choose to describe or not describe that event (the “I can’t talk about it syndrome”) that affects our mood or the moods of our organizations dealing with situations.  Once people can separate out the factual situation from their reaction, they are much more powerful in dealing effectively with a situation.  One good example is that when people see a police car come up from behind them with their lights flashing and they are speeding, they often get very scared, tense, their breathing changes or stops and they grip the steering wheel tightly which further tenses up their body, maybe for the entire rest of the day.  One does have the power in that situation to observe that they might be “getting a ticket” and it might cost them some time and some money and they will be just fine afterwards so there is really not much to get twisted into knots about when the police car comes up from behind you.

Coaching a person to react more consciously to situations rather than letting their emotions get gripped by facts of a situation is a great strength of good coaches.  It opens up tremendous possibilities for action, improved action and results on the part of the doer.  These are some of the reasons why it is so important for coaches to know how individuals and organizations interpret events.

Emotion is a fundamental basis of relationships. Coaches and doers need to deal with emotion at the individual and the organizational level because before learning can take place, the emotions of an individual or organization must be assessed and addressed.  And if found, not to be supportive of the desired learning, action or results sought by the doer or the doer’s organization, the coach’s role must be to elicit from the doer and the organization the fundamental causes and contributors to the state of the emotion.  This is not a step in coaching that can be skipped.  Getting to this deep level of uncovering emotions need not be a long and drawn out process, like psychotherapy, but it must be done adequately to allow the doer and the organization to see the emotion and to see its negative impacts and to see that the doer and the organization can create new and different emotions that will foster better results.

People develop over time regular or consistent moods, regular dispositions toward life, and behavior patters which predispose them toward certain behaviors and away from other behaviors.  Coaches must be able to see these patters very quickly and guide their clients to seeing these patterns.  Coaches help people “catch” themselves by transforming a non-thinking doer, into an observer/doer.  Once someone is able to observe not only the language, body and verbal, the distinctions that others make, the culture that exists, but also observe the emotions that lead and guide all of these “things,” then the observer/doer is much better equipped with taking the actions and changing the emotions quickly enough to produce better results.

One’s physical body is an important part of their environment for many reasons. How we stand, how we walk, posture, etc. all affect our mood(s) and our ability to learn. There is a coherence/congruence between our ability to formulate certain concepts (our conceptual territory), our physiology, our mood and our use of language. A coach must be a careful enough observer of the client to know how the positioning and posture (and physical condition) of a client’s body effects the doer.  Often the doer will be clueless about this and may reject out of hand any suggestion of a relationship of body position and ability to think and act.  Each coach must observe the client’s receptiveness to this new set of distinctions and guide the doer to testing these distinctions out for him or herself in a manner that allows the doer to learn the truth of these interrelationships.  The ultimate teaching of this line of understanding is that very often, In order to change results, we need to change our behavior, which means we need to change our ideas and learning and in order to do that, we must change our body position and body conditioning.  This is not easy for many people to accept since changing one’s “normal” body position, much less one’s body conditioning, requires a huge amount of vigilance, determination, observation skills and intentionality on the part of the person who want to change their behavior and achieve better results.  But, like the conversation we just had on emotion, this is a step that can not be skipped in the coaching process if maximum results are going to be achieved by the doer in a reasonable amount of time.

Coaching and Leadership

The art of leadership is to align the predispositions of all participants in support of reaching the vision/goal. When one helps improve the doer’s capacity to direct their emotions in given situations, rather than be at the effect of them, great energy and great results are often unleashed.

In distinguishing between the ways things are (the unchangeable things in the short run) and possibilities, Olalla uses the words “facticity” and possibility. Often people and organizations oppose what is, oppose facticity.  They say, it should not be that way, and by doing so use up some of the precious energy they could be using by saying, “This is the way it is, and we are going to change it.”

If we oppose what “is” we create resentment and if we create resentment we are predisposed to not being able to “see” possibilities that exist or us in changing the current situation. If we accept what is, accept this “facticity,” in Olalla’s terminology and endorse it, (not as what is right, but as what is true or real), then we should experience the emotion of inner peace, which is a very strong place or perch from which to view the world of possibilities. The emotion or mood of peace is the inner sense of acceptance and a great promoter of creativity. Coaches must work with their clients to achieve this very strong position of accepting what is, only for the purpose of using what is as the proper place from which to commence change to improve actions and results.  If the map on the wall says, “You are here,” (assuming the map is accurate and you are really there), and you either don’t like it, you get mad at this fact or you reject this truth and believe it is false, you have made it much more difficult to get to where you really want to go.  Coaches are “you are here” signs at every moment for their clients.

If we oppose or reject possibilities, our resultant mood is resignation. Coaches facilitate acceptance of facticity (I prefer the word “reality”) in their clients. Only when facticity or reality is accepted as being true, can real learning, learning for possibilities and improved actions take place. The coach creates the context for the doer’s increasing willingness to quickly see, understand and accept what is and by doing this goes a long way toward assisting the observer/doer promoting success in the doer’s life and in the organizations in which the doer operates. The coach does not define success for the observer/doer. That is the doer’s job.  The entire process of the doer defining success for him or herself or for the organization to define for its self, is essential to the effort to insure that the observer/doer does not become dependent on the coach.  By creating the success goal, the doer not only owns the goal as his or her own, he or she begins to “identify with” and “bond with” that goal.  The more that goal becomes intertwined with the identity of the doer, the more likely success becomes.  For example, when the “smoker” who has smoked a pack of day for 20 years, begins the process to quitting smoking and goes without a cigarette for two whole days, if the smoker can say with certainty and confidence, “I am not a smoker!” or “I would never smoke a cigarette!” then the person is very well along their way to never having a cigarette again.  On the other hand, if the most the person can say after two days is, “I am trying to quit smoking,” then, this type of statement can only come from someone who identifies themselves as a “smoker,” because a non-smoker never has to “try to quit smoking.”  So, it is more than just good etiquette for the coach to insist that the client/doer create the goals for the client.  It is an essential element of the client developing a new identity which supports the actions and emotions that will lead to the desired result of the client.

Certainly, there must be alignment between the coach and the observer/doer as to what constitutes success, because if the coach thinks the client can do either a lot more or a lot less in the time frame or budget/resources/capability of the client, the coach must help the client explore the feasibility of reaching the client’s goals.  Coaches do have a responsibility should someone say, I will not eat anything for two weeks and will lose 20 pounds to inform them that this strategy is often tried, but rarely successful over the long run.  Suggesting to the client that 20 pounds over 10 to 20 weeks may be a more feasible approach, still allows the client to create the goal with some advice from the coach..


Context provides meaning to language and actions. If an organization punishes mistakes or teaches people not to act when in doubt, it will create a context of fear, a context that heightens the focus on the potential negative consequences over and above the potential positive consequences.  Coaches should advise their clients on how to see context, even when the clients are acting at full speed within the organization and generally impervious to the context in which they are operating.


Olalla suggests that we must go beyond tolerance of others who are different from ourselves.  He says “tolerance” is simply delayed rejection. The goal in organizations, per Olalla, should be to promote full acceptance of those who are in some ways are different from others. In order to do this, differences must be viewed as possibilities and benefits and not problems or challenges. In order to transform one’s view of someone as being a problem because they are different, to the view that differences constitute a strength, people must recognize that the way we see things (different as bad, inherently inferior) is not the way they are, they are merely an interpretation. Each person has a different set of eyes, a different lens through which they observe the world. (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity applied to every day life). We must ask each other to “lend me your eyes so I can see the world as you see it?” This is essential for effective coaching.  Coaches must see the world through the eyes of those they coach and ultimately, clients should be able to see the world through the coach’s eyes, as well.

Differences can create energy, which can be turned into creativity if there is dignity and trust. Different people and different types of people bring different “assets” to life, to organizations. The tensions created through differences can energize and need not create conflict.

However, if we hold the point of view that differences are the causes of our problems, then, we will try to live life according to that maxim and cut ourselves off from the much more powerful paradigm that there are differences, there will always be differences among people and we should use those differences to the best advantage of all individuals and all of our organizations.

The Big Picture & Big Questions

People and significant organizations are now beginning to look at the big picture and ask big questions. This is in direct response to a current crisis in meaning as we have more and more things and know less and less what makes us happy and what makes organizations work in this commodity filled world.


“Vision” means to see and by the word we mean in the business or coaching context the ability to imagine possible worlds. Our ability to imagine these possible worlds is an aligning force to making the “possible” or “potential” world become a world in fact. The “ground” or infrastructure to make vision a reality is strategy.  Strategy is the link between what we want the world to be and making it that way.

We can not be so pessimistic or “realistic” as to kill off people’s dreams. The only way to be the author of our own lives and the author of the future of the organizations in which we work is to share our dreams, enroll others in our vision and be enrolled in others’ visions of a better world.  In order to enlarge your vision and sense of possibility in this world, the key strategy is to share meaningful distinctions.

Effective Action

Effective action is the result of good coordination, communication, consideration and conversation between people. We must focus on the ontological, the foundation of effective thinking. Positive thinking is not particularly helpful if it denies actual reality and sugarcoats it with wishful thinking about what is and what will be.  To improve coaching and improve the world, we do not need to change reality immediately, we need to change our view of reality to emphasize potential rather than barriers.  We must bring to this thought process the right emotions, the right body and body posture, the right set of lenses through which we see the world and, most importantly, we must develop realistic strategies to achieve the world that we want to exist in the future.

Effective action will result when through coaching we bring into being a new kind of observer/doer. In order to promote effective action there must be an ease of conversation about everything in an organization. Truth must be told easily and often and believed.  An organization’s inability to achieve effective action is often a function of its inability to have a successful conversation.

“Conversation” means to change together. When one engages in a real conversation, one does not know in advance where it will arrive or where it will conclude. Today, we are full of answers and information. What is needed for effective action and for learning environments is that the participants be full of questions. Effective action is the result of living out of both creativity and certainty (vs. fear and scarcity).

Leading is partnering. Effective action requires completion of tasks.  When we in an organization state that we will complete a task, others have a right and duty to rely on us carrying out that task in a timely manner.  For many people, doing this on a consistent basis will require us as individuals changing our views of and our relationship to the tasks we say we will do.  Telling someone you will do something and doing it without fail, must rise to the level of “sacred honor” or at least to the level of “giving one’s word.”


Trust operates at two levels:

  • Assessment of sincerity, truthfulness–the ethical side
  • Assessment of capacity-the management side

People fail the trust test in the area of sincerity when we believe the public conversation they have (what they tell others) and the private conversation they have (what they are really telling themselves) is neither consistent nor congruent. Credibility is a key element of trust on both the ethical and the management sides. Without trust there can not be an effective learning environment nor can there be an effective organization.

We must not confuse trust with being naïve. Prudence must not be confused with distrust. At the organizational level, we must find ways to overcome distrust and resignation.  The best way of doing this is to emphasize the importance of doing what you say you are going to do in every situation.  Coaches can play a large part in assisting people transform their willingness to back up what they say they will do with the action necessary to actually do it.


Understanding a person or organization’s relationship with/attitude toward failure is critical in coaching. If a person or organization blames some external event or force, if a person or organization blames some form of differences between people or if a person relies on “excuses” as the explanation for failure, then the person is attempting to make themselves superior to their failure “for free,” without taking responsibility for their actions and the results (or lack of results) of their actions.  These types of explanations serve as a dodge. These explanations use language to hide rather than reveal. These explanations stop learning.  They negate effective coaching.


Throughout this journey, this journey of coaching and being coached, we conclude where we began.  This article provides insights to guide the coaching process.  The most important insight is that each coaching relationship is different.  While there is much to be gleaned from strategies designed to achieve:

  • learning how to promote trust
  • improving observation and listening skills
  • assisting someone in creating an empowering vision
  • working with people on setting goals
  • aiding others in developing robust plans to achieve these goals
  • helping open the observer/doer’s eyes to new and greater possibilities there will always remain Morrie Schwartz’s dictum – “There is no formula to relationships.”

Coaching is the ultimate relationship.  It requires skill, knowledge, friendship, patience, devotion, caring, investment, consistency, creativity, passion, strength and even love, as Morrie defines it.  He says, “Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.”

Finally, all coaching relationships should have one thing in common: a strong feeling of mutual respect between the coach and the observer/doer.  Mitch Albon got it right.  Coaching begins and ends with the framework:

Dear Coach…

And the coach’s reply –

Dear Player…


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Two new books, Leadership Development for Educators (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009) by Rubenstein, Miles and Bassi of Colorado, and Teaching As Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2010) by Steven Farr of Teach for America open up a new avenue for improving the PreK-12 schools of the United States. These books in their own unique ways call on our educational establishment to train teachers in leadership skills.

Teach for America has been teaching leadership development to its corps members for twenty years.  The Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington, DC, part of the new alternative certification movement designed to address filling the upcoming 1,000,000 openings in education we can expect over the next five years, provides leadership development training for its teachers.  The Auerback Central Jewish Agency for Education and its newly merged partner, the Jewish Outreach Project in Philadelphia has created an entire collection of book on leadership training for educators to support its work.

In Charter Schools teachers are being trained in leadership.  In religious schools teachers are being trained in leadership.  In private secular schools, teachers are being trained in leadership.  Today such training is provided to, and even required for, librarians.

However, leadership training is not provided to public school teachers in the U.S. in their teacher preparation programs, in their teacher certification programs, nor in the teacher re-certification programs.  One of the authors of Leadership Development for Educators, and a person who would be deeply involved in this pilot program, Mike Miles, does provide leadership training to some of his teachers where he serves as Superintendent of the Harrison School District. Since beginning this leadership development training in his school district for a sample of his teachers, the school district has shown some of the highest gains in student outcomes (test scores) in the State of Colorado.

As shown in both Leadership Development for Educators and Teaching As Leadership, Teacher leadership has its own context which must be understood in order to provide effective leadership development training to teachers.  The public K-12 school system is a unique environment, with many stakeholders, and a culture of its own.  This culture varies greatly among different urban, rural and suburban schools, and across different geographical areas.

While there is talk of “teacher leadership” and even a book by that name by Charlotte Danielson (ASCD, 2008), usually when this phrase is used it is meant to focus on “instructional leadership” or “curriculum development leadership.”

Teacher leadership is one of the four key aspects of the Race To The Top, and is an important part of the STEM program, but in these efforts teacher leadership again focuses primarily on instructional leadership.  We find that virtually no where in the entire PreK-12 public school system are the teachers, the greatest asset of the educational system, trained in leadership development.

Yet, there has never been one recognized study of how improving the leadership skills of teachers can systematically improve student outcomes.  This proposed pilot study would fill that gap with rigorous social science research and program evaluation, detailed and public curriculum development, and help 10,000 teachers reach competence in a critical teaching component, leadership development.

That is the current context in which this proposal has been created.  Our strategy, to train teachers throughout the United States to be better leaders builds on our 20 years of work both in public school systems and in being authors and leaders in the leadership development movement embraced by business and many educational fields, including the field of library science.  Now it is time to give teachers those skills they have been lacking in the classroom, in their schools, and in their communities – leadership skills.

Leadership Development for Educators (Rowman and Littlefield, November, 2009) written by Rubenstein, Miles and Bassi is a book that creates an entirely new platform for the training of teachers in public schools.  Teachers who sign up for Teach for America are taught leadership skills.  Teachers in PreK-12 public schools are not.  As G. Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution stated on January 20, 2010, “Where is the body of evidence that improving the leadership skills of teachers will improve student outcomes?”  His question is not meant or designed to denigrate the idea of training teachers in leadership development, which he states is, in his opinion, a good idea.  It is a statement that our educational system has overlooked how to train teachers and how to evaluate teachers in key aspects of leadership development.

Educational leaders such as Senator Michael Bennet gives speeches calling for improving teacher leadership. Yet, there is not one program in the United States that teaches leadership theory, leadership best practices, teaches teachers how to begin to identify themselves as leaders, and teaches them how to improve as leaders.  This pilot program, offered by the nonprofit organization, THE LEEEGH, INC., a Colorado nonprofit organization, in conjunction with key partners, in six school districts across America, will fill this gap.

This book and the courses to be created based on this book vividly point out the obvious fact that teachers are leaders in their own lives, in the classroom, in the eyes of their students, and the parents of their students.  The book clearly makes the point that in many schools, teachers are also leaders in their own schools.

On January 27th, when State of Colorado Education Commisioner Dwight Jones talked about “educational leadership,” or “school leaders” or “school leadership,” he basically was talking only on principals and assistant principals, school board members, superintendents and assistant superintendents, and the “upper echelon” of the educational establishment.  Upon questioning by the audience, Commissioner Jones stated that he did believe that teachers were leaders and had worked with co-author Mike Miles to create the leadership courses for teachers in the Colorado Springs area discussed earlier in this proposal.  Should this pilot program move forward, we would reach out to Commissioner Dwight Jones to be on our Advisory Board and be very active in this endeavor.

Teachers are leaders and they deserve, and more importantly, they need leadership development training.

The authors of Leadership Development for Educators believe it is long past time to give teachers the training they need in leadership skills, leadership theory, and leadership practice, since teachers are leaders.  Teachers are struggling and our public PreK-12 schools are struggling.  They are considered hierarchical and top down in their management and leadership.  Teachers are often viewed as mere functionaries who are supposed to teach a certain item on a certain day because a certain test is right around the corner.

Virtually everyone across the political and educational spectrum agrees that the time has come to try something very new in our schools.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in October, 2009 called for a “revolution” in the way teachers are trained.  We agree.

We believe our direct approach through our book and the leadership development courses to be developed as part of this Pilot Program, is a key element in improving student test scores, improving the ability of teachers to teach, improving the lives of teachers, and improving our public schools.  Some leadership courses have already been taught to teachers by one of our co-authors, Mike Miles, Superintendent of the Harrison School District in Colorado.  These courses have contributed to recent positive results in the Harrison School District where student achievement is up, teacher retention is up, teacher satisfaction is up, teacher absenteeism is down, and the schools as a whole are improving.

Our book and the Pilot Program we envision would not only have 12 hours of leadership development training for each teacher in the selected school districts who elects to take these courses, it would also include detailed leadership development exercises that teachers would employ day in and day out.  Further, as the book calls for, the Pilot Program would develop and encourage numerous ways that teachers would be able to help other teachers become better leaders. Each one of these vital components to improving the leadership skills of the PreK-12 teachers should be an integral part of that “revolution” in teacher training and preparation called for by Secretary Duncan.

At the request of Bennie Milliner, a former Denver Public School District School Board Member, who is on the Staff of Senator Michael Bennet, himself, a former School Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, we have prepared a Pilot Program proposal to the U.S. Department of Education to create a six school district Pilot Program on training teachers in leadership.  This program will be designed, implemented, and evaluated by people who have worked in America’s public schools for over 30 years, have worked at the National Academy of Sciences, the American Institutes For Research in the Behavioral Sciences, and have developed leadership development courses using numerous training platforms.

The Pilot Program would be bold, at a time when we need innovation and bold initiatives in our public schools.  It would improve the most important asset of our schools, our teachers.  It has a great chance for success, and little downside risk of failure.  The Pilot Program would create many positive spin-off leadership development courses, raise the awareness of principals that teachers should be treated and recognized as leaders, and would go far to help build the capacity of school districts all over the country to train their own teachers in leadership development.

Proposed Timing and Basic Framesork for The  Pilot Program

The Pilot Program would be put in place for the school year, 2010-2011.  During the Pilot Program whenever a leadership training course is completed and tested, it will be released to the public. The electronic version of the course would be made available for any teacher to take on low cost terms to be determined during the Pilot Program.  The syllabi and all curricula documents for the classroom courses on leadership development would be made available to the public immediately upon their being completed and tested. This would allow others, including many retired or current PreK-12 teachers, to learn these materials and be able to teach courses in leadership development for teachers right away.

At this stage, we are not envisioning the Pilot Program training more instructors than those necessary for the delivery of the leadership development training courses called for under the Pilot Program.  Training additional instructors could be added to the Pilot Program.  All training content used to train the instructors for the Pilot Program will be in the public domain.  Where special software is used to create the e-learning versions of the course, we will work to ensure that a license for public use of this software, in exchange for reasonable fees on a per use basis, or a fixed cost basis, becomes available to all teachers who want to take the course, and all school districts who encourage their teachers to take these courses.

The basic framework of the Pilot Program has four basic parts.  The first part is the design and creation of leadership development courses themselves. The second is a marketing/awareness set of activities that will encourage teachers to become aware of the courses and to enroll and complete the twelve hours of leadership education provided by the Pilot Program. The third part is the delivery of the leadership development training courses to teachers who voluntarily choose to enroll in these courses in six school districts. These courses will be taught by instructors trained in the Pilot Program. The fourth part of the Pilot Program will be the evaluation of the impacts of the training and the evaluation of the processes used in developing and implementing the training.

The Design of the Pilot Program

The Pilot Program would have an Advisory Board of approximately 12 members who would serve without pay, but would have their expenses paid.  Some remuneration, including possibly some stipends for performing duties like speaking engagements, making appearances, or writing articles/reports on behalf of the Pilot Program that are above and beyond the normal duties of an Advisory Board, could be compensated activities.  These members would be selected due to their experience and excellent reputation in education, leadership development training, and in government programming.

The Advisory Board would be diverse, and would include at least one student representative. Active and retired PreK-12 teachers would also have representation on this board, as would representatives from numerous educational associations, the business community, school boards, teacher unions, and school superintendents.  This Advisory Board would meet both in person and meet using the latest video and information technology.  The Advisory Board would help guide the design the Pilot Program, insure proper selection of school districts to reflect a representative and diverse set of school districts, help guide the implementation, the public awareness activities, and the evaluation of this Pilot Program.  It would not have voting power to direct the Pilot Program, but it is certainly anticipated by the designers of this Pilot Program that the managers of the Pilot Program will welcome their suggestions and follow their sound advice.

The Advisory Board would help form a strong cadre of people who could help carry the mantle of teaching leadership development to PreK-12 teachers throughout the nation after the conclusion of the Pilot Program. The Advisory Board could reasonably be expected to be champions who could help society see the need to focus resources on this area for the long-term.

Specifically, key aspects of the Pilot Program would include:

  1. Six School Districts will be selected for participation.

The criteria for selection of the School Districts will be as follows, subject to future modification.

  1. Two rural, two urban, and two suburban school districts.
  2. Required full and enthusiastic support  for the Pilot Program in each School District selected for participation of the following people/groups:
    1. School Superintendent
    2. Teachers’ Union
    3. School Board
    4. Other Key Stakeholders
  3. The capability of the School District to implement the program and  send teachers to the leadership development training sessions either taught via classroom on selected dates in their school district or delivered electronically via an e-learning platform.
  4. Geographic distribution of school districts will be essential.
  5. Lower performing school districts will be given preference in the selection process.

For purposes of budgeting, we have selected six school districts that may fit all of these criteria. We have not contacted any school district to date to inquire of their interest.  The six school districts selected as possible, preliminary candidates for the Pilot Program include:

Urban:  Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Denver, Colorado

Surburban: Prince George’s County, Maryland and Merced City Elementary School District, California

Rural: Venus Independent School District, Texas and Okeechobee County Schools, Florida

  1. A second key element of the Pilot Program would be that every teacher in PreK-12 schools in that district will be eligible to take the four three-hour leadership courses that we develop, subject to funding availability. Participation will be on a voluntary basis. Pre- and post-course assessment information provided by each teacher would not be reported individually to the schools or school districts, but school-wide pre-and post-course assessment data would be used in the evaluation and be publicly available.
  1. Marketing and public awareness campaigns will be critical to the success of the Pilot Program.  In three of the school districts, we will design a “light” marketing approach with a limited budget to promote teachers taking the course.  In the other three school districts, we will design and implement a more comprehensive marketing and awareness effort.  We will carefully evaluate the impact of each level of marketing so that a cost-effective marketing/awareness effort can be implemented on a national scale and funds are not overspent on marketing.  We expect to secure a significant amount of “earned media” and journalistic interest in these programs since they will be so new to the educational system of the United States.
  2. In addition to the development and delivery of the three four-hour leadership development courses, we will establish the following as key ingredients in the Pilot Program:
    1. Robust website – with leadership development exercises, articles, research findings, etc.
    2. Blog – so that teachers can communicate with other teachers regarding what works and what does not work in leadership by teachers in schools
    3. A “linked-in” type group for communication
    4. Regular meetings between the managers of the Pilot Program with teachers, principals, school administrators, students, parents, and other key stakeholders in each school district
    5. A national public awareness campaign to let teachers and others in education know that this effort is being tested in 2010-2011 with the intention that it be rolled out nationally in 2011-2012 and beyond.
    6. Continuous refinement and improvement in the course material and website.

Proposed Evaluation Criteria for the Pilot Program

The Pilot Program would be evaluated on numerous dimensions.  These dimensions would be consistent with, but not limited to, the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 (see Appendix A, the explanation of Kirkpatrick Levels of Evaluation from the Encyclopedia of Education at the end of this Pilot Program design).

The first set of dimensions upon which the Pilot Program would be evaluated will include enrollment data and additional evaluative criteria such as:

  1. Number/percentage of teachers who took the leadership courses
  2. Numbers of students receiving instruction from teachers who have taken leadership development courses in the Pilot Program.
  3. Number of teachers who passed the post course-assessment or achieved a significant improvement in their knowledge and understanding of the content of the training .
  4. Level of satisfaction as reported by teachers in the courses (a quality measure)
  5. Level of and types of positive impact on teachers who take the courses as reported by these teachers. These self-reported impact measures would include a listing, and discussion by teachers, of the behavioral changes the teachers participating in the program made in the classroom, in their schools, in their lives, and in their communities that they attribute to the program, the readings, the exercises, and working with other teachers to become better leaders that they believe have helped them to be a better leader, more effective teacher in the classroom, and more effective participant in the overall improvement of their school, and their school district.

The second dimension of evaluation would examine the “marketing” or “awareness” effort/incentives that were employed to encourage teachers to take these courses.  This  part of the evaluation would assist policy makers, program developers and school districts that want to encourage their teachers to take leadership courses.  It would help them   in determining what marketing/awareness approaches and incentives resonated with teachers and got them teachers to enroll and complete the 12 hours of leadership training courses offered by the Pilot Program.  In addition, the marketing/awareness evaluation would identify the barriers that got in the way of teachers taking and completing the leadership development courses during the 2010-2011 school year Pilot Program and identify ways to eliminate or remove these barriers to participation.

The third dimension, and possibly the most important dimension of the evaluation of the Pilot Program would be an impact evaluation, measuring the impact of the leadership development courses on such outcomes  as:

  • Student test scores
  • Graduation/Drop Out rates
  • Teacher satisfaction/engagement
  • Teacher retention
  • Teacher absenteeism
  • Other possible measures

Some of these data elements are already collected by school districts.  However, the Pilot Program evaluation must be capable of doing primary research on some of these measures and collect this information through surveys of teachers and schools participating in the pilto program.

As a Pilot Program, the unit of analysis would be the school.  That is, we would look at data at the school level. For the evaluation, we would never need the names of any teacher who has taken or completed the training, or any identifying information that could ever become publicly available.  (For registration purposes, each teacher would need to sign up for the program by name, or some identifying number that would identify the person and the school).

We would assume that some schools in each school district will have a higher percentage of teachers taking the leadership training than others.  Therefore, the evaluation would link the percentage of teachers taking the leadership training program in each school to each outcome measure in each school so that one could report, for example, at the end of the Pilot Program:

Schools with a 76% enrollment of teachers in leadership training programs had a average X% increase in:

  • Student test scores
  • Teacher satisfaction/engagement
  • Teacher retention
  • Teacher absenteeism
  • Graduation/Drop Out Rates

And schools with a 24% enrollment of teachers in leadership training programs had an average increase of Y% in these factors.

Of course, if only a few teachers in a school district take a leadership training course, we would not expect any changes in these dependent variables.  The art of evaluating a Pilot Program is not just statistically linking the treatment (taking the leadership development course) data with the outcome data, but also analyzing and explaining data that might not fit the expected results of the program.  The Pilot Program evaluation would also include the gathering of qualitative data and information from teachers, principals, and others at each school and school district participating in the Pilot Program so that evaluators will be able to understand all of the other factors going on at each school that are likely to impact the variables studied in the program evaluation.

The fourth dimension of evaluation would be a classic process evaluation.  For example, each course and the process of delivering the course would be evaluated on numerous quality and content factors including:

  • Availability of the courses at times convenient to the teachers
  • Logistics of classroom or elearning or blended platform for course delivery
  • Ease of use of pre and post testing and assessment
  • Budget planning and compliance
  • Schedule planning and compliance
  • Similar process evaluation metrics.

Preliminary evaluation results should be available by August 2011 and a final evaluation report would be available six to nine months later.  The contract for the evaluation of the program can be part of the Pilot Program contract or be let separately.

Preliminary Budget Narrative

The six school district Pilot Program would include full funding from the federal government for the teachers who want to take leadership development programs up to some limit per district or per school based on budget limitations. The school districts’ contribution to the program would be the time invested by teachers in receiving the training, taking the pre- and post-course assessments, the teachers’ work in assisting fellow teachers become better leaders, and in forming local groups of teachers who meet and communicate regularly to promote leadership development among teachers.

The Pilot Program should have a third party, independent evaluation of this pilot contract. McBassi & Company, Inc. could perform this third party, independent evaluation.  Other organizations such as ICF International, (evaluator of Head Start), or Dr. Peter Hartjens, former Director of Program Evaluation for the District of Columbia, could also perform this evaluation.

Preliminary Budget Narrative

Although we have not budgeted out this Pilot Program in great detail, we have some idea of some of the fixed costs, marginal costs, and staff time such a Pilot Program would require.

Fixed Costs would include:

Three full time staff for management including benefits: $240,000

Project director: $100,000 including benefits

Website: development and maintenance for full year $50,000

Supplies: $10,000

Communication: $10,000

Overhead @ 10% of total cost of pilot

Training of the classroom instructors: $250,000

Travel: $50,000

Fixed costs for development of each of the three four hour leadership development courses would be:

$140,000 for development of each of the three hour e-learning courses (total $640,000)

$100,000 for development of the in-classroom courses

Assuming 10,000 teachers take the leadership development courses offered from the Pilot Program, with one-half doing in-classroom courses, the cost of delivery of these in-classroom courses would be:

The marginal cost for each teacher taking one three hour e-learning course would be approximately $25 per course for books, copyrighted material delivered via the web, grading and posting the pre- and post-course assessments, server hosting, registration, etc. Assuming 5,000 teachers taking four (three hour) courses, or 20,000 enrollments in the courses, the marginal cost of these courses would be $500,000.

For the classroom courses the costs would be:

$15 per teacher taking the course for printing/books or the licensed use of copyrighted material via the web = $150,000

Assuming 20 person class sizes = 1,000 actual classes (5,000 people taking four (three hour) courses each, with 20 people per course) offered as classroom courses with each 20 person course costing: $2,000 (to cover the cost of the instructor, room, logistics, travel, lodging) per course as delivered (or $100.00 per person for each course).  This would cost a total of $2,000,000.

Evaluation would cost approximately $150,000.

Marketing/Awareness would cost as follows:

Light Marketing/Awareness: $10,000 in rural district; $20,000 in Suburban District; $30,000 in Urban District = $60,000

Comprehensive Marketing/Awareness: $20,000 in rural district; $40,000 in Suburban District; $60,000 in Urban District = $120,000

Dissemination of results: $30,000

These preliminary budget estimates suggest that the total cost of the Pilot Program would be approximately: $4,900,000 or $490 per teacher taking the leadership development course if 10,000 teachers take the 12 hours of leadership development courses.

We could limit the in-classroom enrollment to 5,000 people and these budget estimates would hold even if the e-learning course enrollment would exceed 5,000 by some number up to 6,000 or 7,000 teachers.

We would expect to use ICF International, Knowledge Factor, and possibly others in the development of the e-learning/blended courses.

All course work developed by this Pilot Program would be owned by the federal government so that in the future, the federal government could deliver the e-learning courses, or the videos of the in-classroom courses at a cost that would be less than $100 per teacher taking the course, including books and materials costs.

Personnel to Manage The Pilot Program

Herb Rubenstein, lead author of the book, Leadership Development for Educators, would be the Principal Investigator for this project.  He has designed and evaluated government programs during his tenure at the American Institutes for Research, the National Academy of Sciences, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.  He is also an attorney and would serve as General Counsel to the project.

The other authors of the book, Mike Miles and Dr. Laurie Bassi, would serve as consultants to the project.

Diane Anderson, former school teacher and principal, would be one of the managers of the Pilot Program.

Other managers would be recruited based on their experience in running training and leadership development programs, as well as their experience in dealing with schools, teachers, school districts, and school district superintendents.

Conclusion and Statement of The Basic Philosophy Behind the Leadership Training for Teachers Concept

A five million dollar Pilot Program providing leadership development to teachers in six school districts would provide excellent seed funding to promote leadership development for teachers throughout the nation.

Although this program would be funded entirely by the federal government, with the possibility of some foundation funding, as well, in the future, school districts, foundations, contributions from businesses and potentially other funding sources might be willing to contribute to helping pay for leadership training for teachers.  This Pilot Program would create, in the public domain, many excellent courses on leadership development for teachers that will past the test of time and could be made available to all PreK-12 teachers at a very reasonable cost.

Further, the Pilot Program would focus on developing a process whereby each school district could develop its own leadership development courses, procedures for teachers and business community volunteers mentoring teachers in leadership, and its own system for the delivery of leadership development courses for its teachers.

In the long-run, for all teachers, or even a significant number of our 3.7 million teachers in public and charter schools, to take a leadership development course of some kind, whether  using the resources and courses developed by this Pilot Program or some other program, school districts must be able to administer their own leadership development programs for teachers.  School districts must be empowered to develop  internal resources they can rely on in the future to promote the teaching of leadership to teachers.  We strongly believe with this Pilot Program school districts will see the benefit of leadership development programs and will build their own internal leadership development programs as part of their professional development programs for their teachers.

We see many positive “spill over” effects of this Pilot Program. First, we see many organizations, including colleges and universities, developing leadership development curricula, courses, workbooks, aids, mentoring planning guides, and other leadership development tools for teachers. Second, we expect that many organizations will develop software and e-learning platforms for teachers to use in their own leadership development.

Third, we see the potential for stronger bonds between the schools and the general community as teachers increase their leadership skills. This could lead to communities throughout the nation being willing to provide more resources to schools, including volunteers and approving bond/funding activities that provide needed resources.

While none of these potential spinoffs or spill- over effects can be properly measured in a quantitative manner in this Pilot Program, we do expect to receive significant and solid anecdotal data that these and many other positive spinoff or spill-over effects have resulted from the Pilot Program.  In addition, leadership development programs could raise the stature of PreK-12 teaching as a profession, which could have a dramatic impact on drawing even more qualified and diverse applicants into the teaching pool in the future.

We believe that a result of this Pilot Program and the new emphasis on teaching leadership to current and aspiring teachers would be that hundreds of colleges and universities who prepare teachers for certification and re-certification would begin to develop their own courses on leadership for teachers, using either the materials developed in the Pilot Program, or materials developed by their faculty or from other notable leadership development experts.  This would result in additional revenue for these institutions of higher learning that are suffering under State budget cuts caused by the recession.

This $5,000,000 investment by the federal government represents just over one dollar per teacher as 3.7 million PreK-12 teachers are in the US.  Leadership development training for teachers is not a panacea and will not cure all of the challenges schools face.  More than anything, it will open the door for teachers to be more competent, more creative, and more engaging with students, fellow teachers, administrators and the general community.

Leadership development training would improve the communication skills of teachers, a key ingredient in teacher effectiveness.  It would improve a teacher’s ability to create a community in the classroom so that we could move ahead on our national goal of “no child being left out” of an educational process suited to that child.  It would lead to a teacher being able to manage more successfully the greater and greater demands we place on teachers as we move into an era of “mass customization” in public schools.  It would likely help younger teachers and more senior teachers reduce the divisions that we know currently exist between these groups of teachers. And, it may well reduce tensions between principals and teachers and promote better working relations and more mutual respect by principals and teachers.

We expect that as teachers become better leaders, there will be a greater emphasis and greater likelihood for principals to become better leaders.  Only recently have principals, not our target audience in this Pilot Program, started to receive leadership training and McRel’s research shows that improving the leadership capabilities of principals does have a positive impact on student performance.  McBassi & Company’s research shows that improving the management and development of teachers improves student performance, as measured by student test scores.

Leadership development for teachers is a new tool to help our teachers cope, succeed, and excel.  Many teachers are not able to cope and succeed, so they quit.  We will have 1,000,000 vacancies in the public PreK-12 teaching profession in the next four years.  We will have “turnover” rates in teaching that are far greater than in almost any profession or occupation other than “call centers.”  These facts are not only not acceptable, they hurt our public education system every day and hurt our students in countless ways.

Leadership development for teachers will also likely make teachers more willing to use new technology in the classroom, as it has certainly had this impact on librarians since they began to take leadership development courses in 1998 as a requirement for their own Master’s of Library Science degree and recertification.

Retooling America’s schools is not simply about building new schools, though we need them.  Retooling American’s schools is also not only about setting test score standards for schools and calling out schools where students do not perform as well as others.  Retooling America’s schools must be about equipping teachers with the skills they need to succeed.

Teachers are leaders, yet we currently give them no training in leadership.  Teachers are leaders and our educational system does not treat them as leaders.  Teachers are leaders and yet, teachers themselves, often do not consider themselves to be leaders. Students expect to be led by teachers.  Parents expect teachers, coaches, librarians, extracurricular activities managers, and even teaching assistants to be leaders of their children.  Now is the time to give the teachers the skills they need to exceed as the leaders they are.

This is the basis of our writing the book, Leadership Development for Educator. Yet, our mission is not complete simply with the writing of the book. We intend to be a catalyst for the development of leadership training programs that will be available to every PreK-12 teacher and everyone who aspires to become a PreK-12 teacher.  Our focus, and this entire Pilot Program is designed for public schools.

However, we are certain that when leadership development training proves to be effective and popular in the public school setting, it will quickly catch on in the private school setting, in the religious school setting, and in the ever-growing home school setting, thus sending ripple effects throughout PreK-12 education.

We look forward to your comments.  Our new nonprofit organization has Rick Lawton as its Executive Director. Mr. Lawton served on the Board of Directors of ProLiteracy for 17 years.  He also served the United States as facilities manager of Rocky Flats, managing an eight billion dollar clean-up effort.  He has a life and great record of public service.

THE LEEEGH, INC. is willing to work with other nonprofits to carry out the work of this pilot program.  We will establish offices or partner with nonprofits and educational institutions in each of the six cities where our pilot program is instituted.  Executives of THE LEEEGH, INC. are available to come to Washington to meet with members of Congress to push for the appropriation of funds for this pilot program.

Already Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, the two main institutions of higher learning training teachers in Colorado are developing plans to build courses around the book, Leadership Development for Educators. ETS, the Educational Testing Service, has developed a consortium of 35 institutions to develop a set of model standards on teacher leadership.

The US government is expanding its commitment to PreK-12 education.  Student outcomes will be the measure of success as will closing the achievement gap.  The Pilot Program we propose is not only consistent with the new movement in PreK-12 education, it can serve as a catalyst to improving teachers all across America.

Funding is always challenging to find.  We look to the leadership of Senator Bennet to help make this Pilot Program a reality.

Appendix A –

Kirkpatrick Evaluation Levels Explained

From the Encyclopedia of Education

Level 1 Evaluation – Reaction

Just as the word implies, evaluation at this level measures how participants in a training program react to it. It attempts to answer questions regarding the participants’ perceptions – Did they like it? Was the material relevant to their work? This type of evaluation is often called a “smilesheet.” According to Kirkpatrick, every program should at least be evaluated at this level to provide for the improvement of a training program. In addition, the participants’ reactions have important consequences for learning (level two). Although a positive reaction does not guarantee learning, a negative reaction almost certainly reduces its possibility.

Level 2 Evaluation – Learning

To assess the amount of learning that has occurred due to a training program, level two evaluations often use tests conducted before training (pretest) and after training (post test).

Assessing at this level moves the evaluation beyond learner satisfaction and attempts to assess the extent students have advanced in skills, knowledge, or attitude. Measurement at this level is more difficult and laborious than level one. Methods range from formal to informal testing to team assessment and self-assessment. If possible, participants take the test or assessment before the training (pretest) and after training (post test) to determine the amount of learning that has occurred.

Level 3 Evaluation – Transfer

This level measures the transfer that has occurred in learners’ behavior due to the training program. Evaluating at this level attempts to answer the question – Are the newly acquired skills, knowledge, or attitude being used in the everyday environment of the learner? For many trainers this level represents the truest assessment of a program’s effectiveness. However, measuring at this level is difficult as it is often impossible to predict when the change in behavior will occur, and thus requires important decisions in terms of when to evaluate, how often to evaluate, and how to evaluate.

Level 4 Evaluation – Results

Level four evaluation attempts to assess training in terms of business results. In this case, sales transactions improved steadily after training for sales staff occurred in April 1997.

Frequently thought of as the bottom line, this level measures the success of the program in terms that managers and executives can understand -increased production, improved quality, decreased costs, reduced frequency of accidents, increased sales, and even higher profits or return on investment. From a business and organizational perspective, this is the overall reason for a training program, yet level four results are not typically addressed. Determining results in financial terms is difficult to measure, and is hard to link directly with training.


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By Herb Rubenstein

Two books have come out in a span of one month on leadership development for PreK-12 teachers.  Leadership Development for Educators by Rubenstein, Miles and Bassi (Rowman and Littlefield, December, 2009) and Teaching As Leadership by Steven Farr of Teach for America (Jossey Bass, January, 2010).  This is on top of Charlotte Danielson’s book Teacher Leadership (ASCD, 2007) and many other groups that are working on this idea, including the Educational Testing Service, The Educational Commission for the States. School districts such as the Harrison School District of Colorado are already training their teachers in leadership development and are achieving some of the highest test score improvements of any school district in the state of Colorado.

In addition the Gates Foundation has just committed $335m for teacher improvement.  All of these developments point in the same direction.  That direction is the recognition that in the current role of teacher, leadership skills and aptitude are essential.  Yet, rarely in the United States do we provide a rigorous curriculum or training for teachers in leadership development.  Teacher certification programs do not require leadership development training.  Recertification programs, and even national board certification programs for teachers do not require teachers to take leadership development programs.

There are many approaches and definitions of “teacher leadership.”  Some argue that it is instructional leadership, or curriculum development leadership.  Some argue that there must be a new “role,” a new place in the organizational chart for teachers, with appropriate pay differential for “teacher leaders.”  Some argue that teacher leadership means that teachers are put into some formal position as a mentor of other teachers.  Farr’s new book views teaching as leadership and lists hundreds of leadership acts and six principles of leadership to guide teachers into how to become better leaders, and, he argues, better teachers, with improved student outcomes.

These are all valid positions to define teacher leadership.  Another view is simpler and more profound than any of these views.  It is simply that teachers are leaders in their classrooms, in their dealings with parents, in their own lives, and in dealing with their students outside of the classroom.  This view propels the simple proposition that all PreK-12 teachers in the United States should be trained in leadership development and that leadership is a core competency of teaching.

Leadership is a core competency of teaching because one of the first jobs of a teacher is to create a community in the classroom.  Second, teachers deal with diverse students in the classroom, and as ICF International, a leadership development training firm has noted, diversity is a leadership competency.  Third, teachers must motivate and enroll their students, and their parents.  Motivation and enrollment are key skill set and knowledge areas of leaders.  Fourth, teachers have tremendous time pressures and it is a leadership skill to be able to manage one’s time brilliantly and delegate what can be delegated effectively.

Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst, the Director of the Brown Center on Education Policy of the Brookings Institution asks, “Where is the body of evidence that shows that improving the leadership skills of teachers will improve student outcomes?”  The answer is that there is such body of empirical evidence that conclusively proves a positive, causal relationship between improving the leadership skills of PreK-12 teachers and student outcomes.  There are thousands of anecdotes, and logic suggests that enhanced leadership skills learned and developed through rigorous leadership development training, will  not only improve student outcomes, they will improve important areas including teacher satisfaction, teacher retention, and increased parental involvement in our children’s education.

The answer to the question, “Why Do We Need Leadership Training for Teachers?” is rooted in the fact that we do not have empirical evidence of its impact, over time, on key achievement metrics in our public school system.  Once we train 10,000 teachers in leadership development, we would have a handle on many of the questions surrounding this currently unstudied, unfunded area.  We invest billions and billions of dollars in training teachers, but we might be missing one core competency that teachers need to help close the achievement gap and help promote all children to learn at or near their potential for learning.

Finally, providing leadership development training for teachers is not just for students, or even parents.  It is for the benefit of teachers who, with this training, will be able to improve the management of  their classrooms, their professional and personal lives, and gain greater satisfaction from their interactions with other teachers when they are mentored and when they mentor other teachers.  Leadership development training will not overnight fix all of our schools’ challenges.  But, it is no accident that in the private sector, in business, we spend over billion dollars providing leadership training.  And, it is no accident that librarians, since 1998, have had to take leadership development training.

This is an idea whose time has come. Students, teachers, parents and the entire school system will likely benefit from this investment.  Teacher leadership is one of the new buzzwords in education. Now it is time to put time and money into helping our teachers become the best leaders they can be.



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Article by Herb Rubenstein


Over 30 years ago Jack Wallace and I developed the first computerized evaluation system so that students could evaluate faculty members at a college. We were at Washington and Lee University and today similar evaluation systems are widely used throughout the United States on hundreds of college campuses.

In order to evaluate a group or an individual, you need to know what are the key elements of that person’s job or responsibility. We have compressed the leadership literature into list, in a checklist format. This list describes what leaders do in an organizational context. We understand fully that a critical component of leadership is successful leadership of one’s self, although this checklist does not delve into the “lead yourself” aspect of leadership. We hope that you find this checklist useful in rating leaders, in developing leaders and, most importantly, in becoming a more successful leader yourself, starting today.

Checklist 1: People Management:

1.1 Clearly communicates expectations
1.2 Recognizes, acknowledges and rewards achievement
1.3 Inspires others and serves as a catalyst for others to perform in ways they would not undertake without the leader’s support and direction
1.4 Puts the right people in the right positions at the right time with the right resources and right job description
1.5 Secures alignment on what is the right direction for the organization
1.6 Persuades/Encourages people in the organization to achieve the desired results for the organization
1.7 Makes sure not to burn out people in the organization, looking out for their well being as well as the well being of the organization
1.8 Identifies weak signals that suggest impending conflict and deals with the sources of conflict effectively
1.9 Holds people accountable
1.10 Encourages the human capital development of every person in the organization and allocates sufficient resources to this endeavor
1.11 Correctly evaluates the actual performance and the potential of each person in the organization
1.12 Encourages people in the organization to stand up for and express their beliefs
1.13 Creates a non-fear based environment where all persons in the organization can speak the truth as he or she sees it without concern for retaliation
1.14 Able to empathize with those he or she leads

Checklist 2: Strategic Management

2.1 Flexible when necessary to adapt to changing circumstances
2.2 Sets, with input from others including all stakeholders, the long term direction for the organization
2.3 Understands the competitive environment, social trends, competitors, customers and all stakeholders
2.4 Correctly analyzes the risks of all decisions
2.5 Correctly analyzes the returns of all decisions
2.6 Has the ability to focus without losing breadth in his or her ability to see at the outer edges gathering worthwhile information that others miss or fail to see as significant
2.7 Understands the strengths and weaknesses of the organization; how to exploit the strengths and address the weaknesses successfully
2.8 Can develop and implement strategies to improve the strengths and to combat the weaknesses of the organization
2.9 Can identify appropriate partners, strategic alliances and outside resources to tap into to help further the organization’s goals
2.10 Can articulate the values of the organization and develop strategies consistent with the core values
2.11 Demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity and change, improvement
2.12 Demonstrates a strong commitment to creating and sustaining a learning organization (Learning is the foundation for all sustainable change).

Checklist 3: Personal Characteristics

3.1 Lives with honesty and integrity
3.2 Selects people for his or her team who are honest and have high integrity
3.3 Will, passion and desire to succeed
3.4 Willingness to shoulder the responsibility for success (without being a “thunder taker”) and failure (without casting blame)
3.5 Innovative and open to new ideas
3.6 Not willing to accept the ways things are since they can always be improved; never satisfied completely with the status quo
3.7 Smart, intelligent, emotionally strong
3.8 Confident without being arrogant
3.9 Able negotiator
3.10 Willing to be patient
3.11 Decisive when necessary
3.12 Able to think analytically
3.13 Quick learner
3.14 Respectful to all
3.15 Perceptive and sensitive to the needs of others
3.16 Diligent, disciplined and has strong perseverance capabilities
3.17 Comfortable with ambiguity
3.18 Willing to be original
3.19 Informed risk taker

Checklist 4: Process Management

4.1 Able to manage change
4.2 Promotes innovation
4.3 Able to secure resources
4.4 Able to allocate resources
4.5 Great problem solver
4.6 Able to anticipate crises
4.7 Able to handle crisis when it explodes
4.8 Can create and manage budgets
4.9 Can create and manage timelines, work plans
4.10 Great project management skills
4.11 Can translate long term vision into step by step plan
4.12 Able to measure results
4.13 Knows when a process is not working
4.14 Willing to redesign processes as often as necessary


This checklist, of course, is not complete.  Leaders do many other things.  However, it serves as a guide as to how to evaluate yourself and others as a leader.  We hope you find this checklist useful in your work, in your nonprofit organizations and throughout your personal and professional life.


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Article and Presentation by Herb Rubenstein


Schools are facing significant budget cuts.  In every sector of the economy, when budget cuts come down, training is one of the first areas to be cut.  In education, this has been no exception.  Therefore, how do school districts, charter schools, and private schools in the PreK-12 arena, make available excellent professional development in a low cost manner?  This article addresses this question by proposing a new model for professional development funding and course offerings.

Most people will agree, with the challenges our PreK-12 educational system faces, that this is not time to cut out much needed professional development for teachers and principals.  This article addresses this issue with an innovative approach to funding training in our PreK-12 schools.

The New Model For Funding Professional Development

The method currently in place for providing training for teachers and principals is either for internal professional development in the school (school district) to provide training or outside trainers are hired to provide the training.  Teachers and principals would receive these courses for free, and the school, school district, charter school or private school organization would bear cost of the training.  Certainly, teachers have been paying for some courses.

The new model we propose is a hybrid in numerous respects.  First, school districts, charter and private school organizations, would not pay for this professional development training.  Teachers, staff and principals, and in some cases, schools, would pay for this training.  In fact, they would receive money from the vendors that provide the training.  For example, 10% of the total proceeds of the training would go to the school district for the following activities:

  1. Administer the overall training program
  2. Certify the training provider
  3. Let teachers know about the training
  4. Assist with certification of the courses for credit for the teacher
  5. Provide record keeping of who takes the course for official school purposes (advancement, salary determination, etc.)

Under this system teachers, principals, and administrators would pay for their own training. They would buy the training they want from the menu of offerings provided by the approved vendors.  The downside of doing this is that teachers have very limited salaries and this is going to hurt their pocketbook to some extent.

However, if the vendors can provide training programs on a large scale, either in-classroom or  through elearning or hybrid platforms, the cost per unit of training will go down significantly.   Since vendors under this system will absorb no marketing costs (since the schools and school districts will let their teachers know about the offerings), this will reduce the costs of training.   Third, the reduction of per unit costs of training will meet the need for schools to become more efficient. .

In fact, this approach could produce higher quality training and would be more responsive to what teachers desire since teachers would be paying for the courses.  Further, it would expand the offerings of training to rural school districts and districts that are not currently investing significantly in training.

This “market” approach has several advantages.  Today, every school district, charter or private school organization builds its own professional development courses and systems.  This system will be more efficient because it allows for school districts and buyers of training to purchase from national organizations.  Second, under this system, vendors will respond to feedback and improve their programs quickly when teachers, staff and principals evaluate them negatively.  Third, this system opens up training to more teachers, staff and principals than the current system can accommodate.

This approach could create responsive, national organizations, or at least statewide organizations, capable of providing high quality, low cost training programs.  School districts, charters, and private school organizations would become cash positive for undertaking this system.  They would provide low-cost but highly valuable roles supporting this new system.  These educational organizations could use this money to address the budget cutting environment they face.

Teachers, administrators and principals would be paying for the training.  However, having them be the purchasers of their training will make them better consumers and lead will improve the training, and participant retention and outcomes.

The Benefits and Win-Win Nature of This New Training Model

First, teachers, administrators and staff will win by having a large number of professional development options at a low cost.  Second, educational organizations will win because they will receive 10% of the total proceeds of the courses in their market.  Third, innovation will be a clear winner as new courses and distribution systems are generated by this revenue sharing model.  Fourth, the general public would win as the the entire training system for teachers would become more transparent. Universities and other training vendors would win as they can earn a reasonable return for training larger numbers of teachers than they can reach today with their current training methods.  Finally, this will reduce the cost of training teachers, administrators and principals, and thus, everyone will win.


This new revenue sharing model is bold. The time is right for our nation to employ a new economic model for providing professional development for teachers, administrators, staff and principals.  This new model begins to transform and modernize our professional development training system in PreK-12 education.


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Article by Herb Rubenstein


The PreK-12 educational industry is changing rapidly. Charter schools.  Private-for-profit schools. Greater use of home schooling.  Vouchers.  Computer based learning systems catering to the individual learning styles of students.  Budget shortfalls for public schools.  Changing governance structures and the evolving roles of School Boards.

All these are challenges to the public school, PreK-12 environment.  And there are many more challenges to come including the role of internet based cameras recording every action and every word in every classroom (discussed in a separate paper by this author) and the possibility a completely redefining who is the “customer” for PreK-12 education in the United States (also discussed in a  separate paper by this author).

The Role Of Volunteerism

Volunteers currently play many roles in the public school PreK-12 environment.  They help out in the office, assist with extracurricular activities, raise money and address key issues through the PTA or PTSA and serve on governing and quasi-governing boards at the community level throughout the United States.  This author is not aware of any statistics collected on the level of volunteerism each year in the PreK-12 public school environment.

Often high school students volunteer to mentor elementary school students in programs such as “Elementary Baseball” in Washington, D.C.  College students mentor PreK-12 students through the National Society for Collegiate Scholars throughout the United States.  There are many other valuable mentoring after school and weekend mentoring programs and this author has been a mentor for a District of Columbia elementary school student in the northeast section of the city.

Even though there are literally thousands of volunteer efforts in and around the PreK-12 public school environment, there has never been a successful movement to place truly large numbers of volunteers in the classroom.  There are many reasons why such a large scale volunteer program has never taken hold, but there are now as many reasons why such a large scale volunteer program may become an integral part of the PreK-12 environment within the next decade.

One can easily find a dozen reasons why teachers, students and PreK-12 administrators would not want two, or even one, adult volunteer in every classroom every day in the United States.  These reasons include:

  • Students do not want to be observed
  • Teachers do not want to be observed
  • Schools do not want to be liable for the actions of volunteers
  • Schools do not have the resources to screen the volunteers
  • Schools do not have the resources to train the volunteers
  • Schools do not have the capability to or interest in recruiting the volunteers
  • Teachers’ learning plans presently do not have the ability to utilize one or two “full time” volunteers
  • Volunteers may raise safety concerns among teachers and PreK-12 administrators
  • Volunteers, in the teachers and PreK-12 administrators may not be able to add much value to the teaching and learning experience of the students
  • Schools are not capable of managing large numbers of volunteers or providing for them at the schools
  • There may not be enough volunteers to volunteer in every classroom.

There may be another dozen reasons why there has never been a large scale program to add volunteers to the classroom in PreK-12 public education.  While it is beyond the scope of this article to address each of the reasons listed above, this article will show how social forces are converging that suggest that such a large scale volunteer program might be developed on a pilot basis in innovative school districts and may prove to be incredibly beneficial to the PreK-12 public education system.

The Social Forces

The environment of PreK-12 education is changing rapidly.  The public education system is being challenged today as it has not been challenged since the civil rights days.  Today the challenges come from many fronts as identified at the beginning of this article.  How will public education improve and improve dramatically?  That is the key question that all teachers, all PreK-12 administrators and all educational associations must grapple with and grapple with quickly.  Without improvement, there could be a

steady erosion of public support, a steady erosion or brain drain in the educational system and there will be a serious loss of resources (money, students, teachers, buildings, curricula, etc.) to the upstart competitors of PreK-12 public schools.  As we enter the “Age of Accountability” and the educational market is opened up to competition by home schooling, private for profit schools, charter schools, vouchers and other sources of competition, public PreK-12 education is facing a key question:  “How does public education secure additional valuable resources when government funds are becoming more scarce for PreK-12 public education?”

The resource inputs in a school environment are very easy to identify:

  • Teachers (human capital)
  • Administrators (organizational capital)
  • Buildings (physical capital)
  • Students (customer capital)
  • Curricula/Books/Libraries (intellectual capital)
  • Reputation (public relations capital)
  • Educational testing and standards (accountability capital)
  • Security officers (safety capital)
  • School Boards (governance capital)
  • Extracurricular activities and programs (programmatic capital)
  • Budgets (financial capital)

In every category of capital or set of resource inputs, we see real limits.  How can schools find something today that impacts positively on each and every resource input without costing them significant amounts of money?  It is impractical to think that buildings will be donated, that school districts will be able to find ways like the private sector has done over the past three decades to eliminate levels of management and not hurt productivity.  Curricula will not be donated to schools.  Students and their parents will fight being charged significant sums for students to participate in extracurricular activities.  Governments will not add to school budgets significantly and will not in the future increase spending per student or project long term budgets consistent with long term population predictions.  The political process, which has a fairly short term time horizon, can not commit five and ten years out to guarantee schools sufficient funding in the future.

Volunteers In The Classroom

The first proposition I make is one that I admit has not been proven.  That proposition is that enough people in the United States could be recruited to volunteer in every classroom every day.  We have 2,000,000 PreK-12 public school classrooms and assuming that each volunteer volunteers one day per week for ½ a day, we will need 10,000 volunteers.  In addition, we would need another 500,000 volunteers to volunteer for extra urricular activities and after school mentoring.

Today, we may have a greater opportunity to promote volunteerism in schools.  America’s Promise provides volunteers as do corporations like Starbucks giving workers time off from their jobs to volunteer. More and more people are reaching retirement years when they may have more time to volunteer.  Thus, the potential exists for more adults to volunteer in classrooms as a “teacher’s assistant” or in some other capacity that would increase the human capital and intellectual capital available to the PreK-12 public schools without significant cost.

I believe the screening, training, recruitment issues can be successfully resolved with pilot programs.  The fact that some teachers and some students may hold the point of view that they would not like a volunteer in their classroom may be a thought that will fade as volunteers find ways to become useful in making significant contributions to the PreK-12 educational system of this country.

It is also possible that by enrolling so many volunteers into the PreK-12 public school environment that we will become a ‘teaching nation’ and the volunteers will become important stakeholders, political allies and supporters of the public education system.  It is also clear that a well run volunteer program like the one suggested here could result in higher educational achievement by students, better discipline in the classrooms,  the development of long standing mentoring relationships between volunteers and students and could also result in giving students important role models as these adults exhibit the best in themselves and in America as they volunteer.  This program could improve the lives of many Americans who would welcome the right volunteer opportunity, one where their desire and capabilities to contribute to others is allowed to flourish in the place where the next generation of Americans are getting their start in life.


The purpose of this article is to start a conversation, a debate, that intersects the fields of volunteerism and the need to improve our public schools.  The goal is to direct high quality resources into our public schools without breaking the budgets of local, state and federal governments.    I hope that a pilot project could start with foundation support to test this idea in several school districts.  Full national implementation of this idea could take place within the next decade.  I believe that teachers and students have little to fear if this becomes a national program, a National Educational Corps, if you will.  Issues like how to insure or bond the volunteers so that schools will not be liable for their actions can be resolved in the financial markets and through leadership of associations with skill and knowledge in the insurance arena.

With the risks of the program being real, but low, and the benefits of the program being potentially enormous, this programmatic idea should at least be given a full and fair debate at the national, state and local program level.  If we do it, I would want to call it either the “National Educational Corps” or the “Wofford” program, to acknowledge the great work in the field of volunteerism that Harris Wofford has brought to this country.  If I had never met Harris Wofford and had never had the privilege of working with him in the 1970’s on the idea of National Youth Service, I do not know if I would have become such a supporter of this idea.

Finally, the benefits of this program can be easily measured through students’ scores, reduction in student dropout rates, the public’s perception of how well schools are doing, the volunteers’ rating of the program, and many other easily documented measures in use in the educational world.  This is a program whose time has come, but will take a long time to actually become reality.


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Article by Herb Rubenstein
CEO, Growth Strategies Inc.


The technology available to the K-12 educational industry is changing rapidly. This author assisted the Montgomery Blair High School secure $50,000 in funding to pay for TV’s in each classroom to provide an administrative communication tool and educational programming device to the school. This article is about another type of communication device – the camera that picks up and transmits video images and audio recordings live of exactly what is going on in the classroom.  While it is understood that many teachers, administrators and students may oppose the use of these cameras, the new technology that allows at very low cost the installation of these cameras and audio devices and the live viewing of and listening to what is going on in the classroom via the internet should make all of us take another hard look at the benefits of using these cameras and the internet. Consider bringing up that you are only suggesting a pilot program in the introduction—this makes people more likely to support your idea.


Most studies show that the more the parent is involved in the education of their children, the better the child does in school.  However, how are parents ever to find out really what is going on in schools these days and what experience their child or children are having in the public school K-12 environment.  Occasionally, parents can visit the school, though rarely are they invited to attend actual classes.  Therefore, parents are shut out of observing their child or children’s classroom or lunch experience, as well as their extracurricular activities experience.  Technology exists today to put one to four cameras linked to the internet in the classrooms and parents, administrators and those given passwords are allowed to view exactly what is going on in the classroom by going to their personal computers and clicking on the internet site with exactly the camera angle that the parent seeks.

I believe that many parents would tune in via the internet and observe their child in class.  For those parents who do not have high speed internet access, centers at public libraries and other convenient locations can easily be established where they can go to view the entire educational experience their child is receiving whenever they want.  [Since the classes would be recorded, a parent will be able at any time and look at the internet site and see that day’s classes where his or her children were in class or previous day’s classes.]—awkward sentence, unclear  Parents would be accurately informed about how the child is interacting in class, behaving in class and learning in class and would be able to observe the teacher to learn more about how the teacher is teaching the class.  I believe that the road to greater parent involvement will be to open the classroom up to the parent and internet based cameras are the least obtrusive way to do this.  My personal opinion is that the parents who will view these videos are the parents who are already involved in their children’s education. Getting uninvolved parents to care is not solved through the cameras idea. With the cost coming down and companies who may be willing to donate equipment and internet bandwidth, for the first time in history it is now feasible to design and implement a program of internet based cameras in the classroom.


There are many technological reasons why such a large scale internet based camera program has never taken hold, but now these technological reasons are disappearing fast.  There are other reasons that can be raised against such a program and some of these reasons include:

  • Students do not want to be observed
  • Teachers do not want to be observed
  • This is an invasion of privacy
  • Schools do not have the financial resources to implement this program
  • Internet based cameras could lead to security problems
  • The password system can be overridden and anyone could view the classroom
  • It all seems like “big brother.”

These objections are, in fact, easily dealt with.  Administrators and parents now have the right to attend class and observe both teachers and students—then why do they need the video streams?.  The “observation” of the teachers and students via internet based cameras will be unobtrusive.  Neither teachers nor students should be doing anything in the classroom and in extracurricular activities that they do not want observed by parents and administrators in any event. This is true, yet class debates and discussions are a vital part of learning—in my experience some of the best ways to learn—and cameras will put more pressure on students that will prevent them from expressing controversial viewpoints. A big part of learning is getting the wrong answer, and in classrooms where students are already self-conscious about speaking out, they will be less likely to even take a chance and speak in class.

This is not an invasion of privacy.  Our Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that students do not have privacy rights in schools, and neither do teachers.  I am not suggesting cameras in the teachers’ lounge or in the bathrooms. I am suggesting in the most public places of our schools, classrooms, [hallways, cafeterias, school grounds]—you do not mention this until now, consider leaving this proposal only to cameras in classrooms so you deal with less complicated issues. and [places where extracurricular activities take place,] internet based cameras should be installed.

The argument that internet based classroom cameras could lead to security problems is absurd.  In fact, they may have a huge positive impact on classroom discipline, on the ability to immediately spot and intruder or the beginning of any act of violence.  By creating parents and administrators as observers, parents and administrators may be able to spot a situation that is likely to become violent, alert security guards and prevent violence from occurring.

[The final criticism is that it all seems like big brother.  This is pure nonsense.  The Super Bowl is shown to billions of people around the world, live.  No one has ever accused the National Football League of using big brother tactics to show the world a football game.]—I personally think that this section should be cut from the paper. I don’t really see the relation between the two situations, and the comparison you draw is unfounded and a little confusing.  The observation of the classroom by parents, administrators and other interested parties will make these groups better partners in education and better participants in the educational process of their child or children.


The use of cameras in the classroom is easily established as a pilot program.  The program could start in areas such as Las Vegas that is far advanced in technology in public schools. It is? The rewiring of schools to accommodate this new internet based program can be done on a school by school basis with money sought from foundations, parent drives like the one I managed to raise $50,000 for TV’s for Montgomery Blair High School—perhaps expand on success in this high school and clarify what happened there and other creative funding approaches (e.g., donations from technology and telecom companies) could be used to start the process.

There are be many educational uses for having all of the classroom experience recorded.  [When a student is sick, he or she could observe the class.  If a student wanted to review material presented in class, he or she could do so via the internet.]—this is a very good point, perhaps bring up earlier in paper  Public schools could package and sell the rights to observe the classes to home schooled children and deliver [as MIT is planning to do internet based recordings of its classes throughout the world. ] I’m not sure about this example. To me it seems a bit random in the flow of the sentence, but the home-schooling point is a good one.


I urge all groups interested in improving K-12 public school education in the United States to consider implementing a pilot program quickly to find out the potential for this approach to achieve

positive benefits for students, for administrators and

for parents.  A careful evaluation of all effects of the program should be undertaken.  We can be sure that there will be unintended consequences of this program, but many of these unintended consequences could be very beneficial to improving the delivery of education by teachers in the United

States and improving the receipt of education by students in the United States.  [I believe that students, if they knew they were being observed by their parents would perform better, have higher discipline and would be more engaged in the school process.  I also believe they would cut fewer classes, be less likely to drop out and would be less disruptive and less disdainful of those students who are trying to excel.] These are really good points; bring them up earlier on and expand.  I think this program could raise the standards in the industry significantly and look forward to a broad and deep debate on this topic.


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Article by Herb Rubenstein
CEO, Growth Strategies Inc.


As the Development Chair (fundraising) for the Montgomery Blair High School, I attended PTSA meetings with great regularity.  I once asked the question, “Who is the customer for K-12 Public Education?  As an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurism at George Mason University I am aware that the term “customer” means “one who pays for a service, a patron or buyer.”  However, today when you go to the doctor you do not pay, your insurance company pays most often, yet you would argue strongly that you are the customer, not your insurance company.

So the first question is: Does K-12 Public Education have a customer? If the answer is “No,” then there is a huge problem.  Without a customer, a supplier (in this case the public education system including teachers, administrators and funding sources) has no idea how to properly measure the quality of the service provided, has no idea of what services to increase, decrease or stop delivering in their entirety.  Without a “customer” a supplier does not know if it is performing well, if an innovation is successful, if an innovation or change is needed and can not learn from the essential feedback from the customer as to how to improve its services.

It is more than a logical fallacy to say that K-12 public education does not have a customer.  My definition of a “customer” is “the one whose interests are most served by the supplier and without whom the supplier would go out of business.”  There are only three possible candidates as to who is the “customer” of K-12 public education.

The Customer

Having determined that K-12 public education must have a customer, who is that customer?  One could argue it is a) the parents, b) the teachers and administrators, c) the employers of students or d) the students themselves.

Unless K-12 is only day care or a means to get the children out of the hair of the parents, then the parents are clearly not the customer.  There could be no parents (due to a war or some catastrophe) and if there are children, then we would need to supply them with education.  The parents are not the ones whose test scores we use to determine if the school is doing well.  It is the students.  Surely, the teachers and administrators are not the customers. They do not pay for school.  Schools are not designed for their benefit and teachers and administrators are the suppliers of education, not the customer.

An interesting argument could be made that employers are the customer for public schools because they need people with math, English and other skills, plus discipline, and the purpose of the schools is to teach these skills to students for the purpose of meeting the employer’s needs.  The grading of students is the way that schools communicate to employers how “worthy” the students are as future employees.  This writer has

been informed that in Connecticut the DuPont Company built schools in the 1920’s for African Americans and paid for the teachers since neither the state nor US government would do so. A dissertation is being written on this topic and may cogently argue that this is conclusive proof that employers are the customers of K-12 public schools. The argument of “employers” as the customers of k-12 public education, while interesting and supported by some evidence going back for nearly 100 years, is misguided.  Employers today do not pay for schools and they are not the prime beneficiaries of the public education system.  If schools fail to teach students, or, to put it another way, if students fail to learn anything useful in school, and the student wants to work and an employer wants to hire the student, employers will train the student as necessary to fill the job.  While employers benefit greatly from the K-12 public education system, they are not the customer; they are not the reason why schools exist.

The only logical answer for “who is the customer of the K-12 public education system” is the student.  It is the student who we seek to train, teach and improve. It is the student whose test scores we use to determine success of the system.  Without students, the very idea or existence of a school is absurd.

What Does It Mean That The Student Is The Customer

In this Age of Accountability new efforts to focus on test scores appear to make the K-12 public education system accountable for student performance.  However, students have some choice in the matter.  They can choose to work hard and earn higher grades or choose to work less hard and earn lower grades and have lower test scores.  The teacher may or may not be directly responsible for how hard the student works.  Clearly, the student, him or herself, is responsible for how hard they work.

Recently my daughter who is 17 went to the doctor and took some medical tests.  As she was checking out, she noticed on the bill (which the insurance company was going to pay for) there was a $20.00 charge for a test that she was not given.  She insisted that the doctor’s office take the charge off of the bill and they did.  Even though she was not paying for the bill, she wanted the doctor’s office to know who was the customer.  She was the customer.

If it is the job of the schools to insure that the customer, the student, does well, then the supplier better figure out what the customer wants and figure out how to supply what the customer wants.  My daughter wanted a bill that was accurate. The Age of Accountability has hit 17 year olds who will not stand for their doctors’ offices cheating insurance companies, even out of a mere $20.00.

The supplier in any situation is and must be accountable to the customer.  The customer can leave, and many students have left the public school system via home schools, charter schools, private schools, and many have just dropped out.  My family left the District of Columbia to move to Maryland because our children, then in the second and 5th grades demanded better schools.  We moved to Maryland and got better schools.

Knowing that the student is the customer will totally change the way education is delivered in the K-12 public education system.  Today companies are spending billions on “Customer Relationship Management” and those that understand what their customer wants and needs will be the winners.  K-12 public education schools have never had a history of listening to students to find out how they want to learn, to find out what they want to learn and for that reason students in the K-12 public education setting have so little choice in what and how they learn that it is not surprising that there is not a good fit between the supplier and the customer in this industry.

The Customer

There is an old saying, “The customer is always right.”  Clearly five and six year old children just starting school can not be expected to be right all of the time.  And neither can 18 year old seniors.

But, five and six year old children and 18 year old young adults are often right and the K-12 public school system needs to listen to them and needs to figure out new ways to supply educations the way the customer wants to get it.


If the K-12 public education system continues to ignore the fact the student is the customer, the customers will continue to flea via vouchers, via home schooling, via dropping out.  Without a customer a supplier can not exist.  Without a growing customer base, a supplier can not flourish.  The timing is critical for the K-12 public education system to begin to understand that a new partnership between the supplier (teachers, administrators and public funding sources) and the customer must be formed.  New forms of real feedback must be established with formal student evaluations of teachers, formal systems where students have real input into how they are treated, how they are educated and how they are viewed.

In this Age of Accountability, suppliers are now accountable to their customers and the public at large.  The K-12 public education system is not immune from this new era.  Teachers and administrators will find that they will become accountable to students and treat them as customers or they will see vouchers empty their classrooms.  This author does not want to see the day where the only payment a teacher receives is early retirement because the public education system was closed down due to the lack of customers.

If teachers and administrators continue to argue that “there is no customer” for K-12 public education, they may find that what they say becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and one day there will be no students in their classrooms.  On that day, and not a day before, will it be true that “there is no customer” for K-12 public education.  Let us hope that day never arrives, but we are heading in that direction through no fault of the parents, through no fault of the students and through no fault of the employers who want to hire well trained students.  We are heading in that direction because the K-12 public education system refuses to recognize who their customer is and refuses to treat their customers the way suppliers need to treat their customers if they want to keep them as customers.


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“Change Management” – The 12 Step Process

Article by Herb Rubenstein
Founder & President, Herb Rubenstein Consulting, Brooklyn, NY


The two chief trends currently at work in the business world, rapid development of technology and globalization, have brought not only business opportunities and opportunities to grow that were unforeseeable a decade ago, they have wrought serious challenges to for profit companies and non-profit organizations.  In order to adapt to this challenging environment that we call the “rugged landscape” and in order to develop and maintain a competitive edge, Growth Strategies, Inc. assists organizations launch and carry through on transformation programs to realize significant and lasting change.

How to create, fund, staff and manage successful change programs in such diverse areas as leadership and governance, general business strategy, organizational development, strategic alliances, employee empowerment and productivity/quality improvement programs have all  become key issues for today’s business leaders.

The Center for Organizational Transformation at Growth Strategies, Inc. assists organizations in identifying the challenges and opportunities that confront your organization in order to develop, promote and manage the transformation necessary to keep your organization ahead in this rapidly changing business world.  Significant change should be an integral part of your organization’s operations, fully supported and implemented by both management and employees throughout the work flow and governance processes of your organization.  The change process that we have found successful involves twelve steps:

Beginning A Change Process

1.0 Understand trends in your industry, the competitive context and assess the key areas where your organization is not keeping up with or leading these trends. Create the incentives to fuel change.  Get a strong grasp of the tough organizational challenges your organization faces and identify the root causes and solutions to these operational and structural challenges.

The organization should conduct research and analysis to understand the changing external environments and to make a detailed assessment of the internal organizational environments. Then, it must identify the organization’s transformation needs, both in specific areas and in the priority for each necessary change. Questions such as the ones listed below can guide the change/transformation process:

  • Why are we beginning the transformation?
  • What are the needs for change?
  • Why is it the right time to make the change?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages/risks to change?

Plotting the Landscape

2.0 Map all current change activities – both the ongoing initiatives and those that are planned to be carried out at all levels of the organization.  Usually there are change processes going on that are not fully understood, may require contradictory behavior and management must have a clear road map if what is going on before it embarks on yet another “change process.”

Will It Work

3.0 Assess the implementation feasibility of the change program within the organization. As part of the development of any change program, leaders in the organization must analyze the state of the organization, its ability to absorb the change and identify the financial and human resources necessary and available to implement the change/transformation program.  Such an analysis should focus on:

  • A clear budget that allocates financial resources clearly
  • Technologies required and the competence to successfully implement them
  • Internal and external political and emotional support
  • Human/personnel resources and their capabilities
  • Set timetable/milestones
  • Define key roles (including champion’s role)
  • Define measurable devised results
  • Establish key change monitoring roles/ functions

Tracking Change Efforts

4.0 Develop a Change Matrix to keep records and to monitor the changes in the process.

In this case, your organization will identify the particular stage that each activity is in to ensure the change program is following the correct course.

  • Name of project
  • Major goals
  • Sponsors
  • Budget
  • Start/end date
  • Implement
  • Assessors

Describe The Results

5.0 Develop a Results Matrix

A Results Matrix should be developed to capture detailed information on the status of the activities being implemented. By comparing obtained results with the desired results, both in the areas of finance and performance, management and employees can assess whether the change programs have achieved their expected results and measure their contribution to improvement in performance.

  • Name of project
  • Results sought
  • Results obtained
  • Version explained
  • Projected budget
  • Actual budget

Learning/Growth/Capacity Building Are the Key Results

6.0 Develop A Learning/Growth/Capacity Building Matrix

Through developing a Learning or Capacity Building Matrix, management can not only receive implementation feedback and identify improvements in each area; it can also summarize and analyze invaluable lessons derived from the change process: assessment, design, launch, implementation and review. All of this information should be stored in the organization’s database as reference documents for later change programs and organizational learning.

  • Name of project
  • Process Implement
  • Skills improvement
  • Knowledge improvement
  • Organizational cultural change
  • Leadership Improvement

7.0 Develop A Best Practice Matrix

Both the successful and unsuccessful change efforts should be analyzed step by step to assist management and employees improve their strategies and determine the leadership style, implementation and change approaches that optimize performance. These best practices should be written up so that their teachings can be adapted to shifting circumstances as the environment changes.

  • Name of project
  • Specific example of best practice
  • Genealogical lesson from best practice
  • Contact person for more information


8.0 Develop a Communication Plan for each change program.

To ensure the success of the program, full involvement of all segments of the organization at all levels is critical. Because divisions and functional departments are closely connected and influenced by each other, use of an efficient and effective communication plan is necessary to guarantee that all information related to the change program is posted to all of the organization’s members and that cooperation is achieved within the organization on the change program itself.

The Communication Plan will also serve as a feedback channel in the transformation process. A communication plan which promotes information flow both up the ladder and down the latter will make an organization an open-opinion system and contribute to the effective implementation of the change program.

Before implementing the change programs, management must solicit input from employees, vendors, customers, board members and other stakeholders of the organization.  After evaluating this input, management must explain the transformation mission and goals clearly to all members of the organization and again seek opinions at all levels and from each division. Then in the launch and implementation phases, different, specific roles should be assigned clearly and communicated to all of the members. This step is meant to stimulate the employees’ active participation in the transformation process and promote support from all sectors of the organization, which will disburse the implementation of the change throughout the organization, rather than allowing it to remain an operation of only the top-levels of the organization.

Anticipate reactions. Any change program will produce intended and unintended results effects. Management should forecast both the likely positive and negative reactions and impacts that might arise in response to the changes in each division and prepare a contingency/mitigation plan to avoid going too far down a change program that is producing the wrong results.


9.0 Communicate initial results and call for feedback

After the change program has begun, management should communicate findings in the following areas:

  • Finance
  • Productivity improvements
  • Collective learning
  • Organizational cultural changes
  • Leadership changes


10.0 Revise and re-implement

Having assessed the implementation results of the change program, management must make corresponding modifications to the original change program to correct errors will re-implement the revised change program, following the above steps.

Take A Rest

11.0 Declare end/completion of change program.


12.0 Build in rewards and recognition for all       participants.


These twelve steps may seem cumbersome.  They are essential.  Most change efforts fail.  Many are dead on arrival.  We find the maxim “If you want to change nothing, change everything,” to be useful.  Leaders have a duty to lead successful change efforts.  In today’s business environment, failure is just too expensive.


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