Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No Milkshakes

My typical day is to take Zack to school then drive to the office.  After dropping Zack off I typically listen to three moving songs to settle a busy mind then listen to podcasts.  What I listen to varies, but I have a variety of interests.

Recently I listened to an interview with Jerry Murrell, CEO and founder of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the fastest growing restaurant chain in the US.  Their simplicity and focus on only a few things is a large part of their success.  As school leaders we can learn alot from such simplicity and focus. 

Often times we take on too much.  We have this initiative and that initiative, not to mention another one over there.  And sometimes they don't always align.  We do the grant or program of the day because we need funds to expand this or that.  Or maybe a principal got a sales pitch at a conference and wants to bring in X product.  But how does it align with what we're already doing?

Over the past few years we've made a concerted effort to focus.  The result has been stopping some things we were doing and aligning around what we call our three rocks:  student engagement; rigor in curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and taking data to action.  So far the results are much more positive than when we had lots of disparate, unaligned initiatives.

Jerry Murrell doesn't want to do milkshakes because it would take the focus off what they know they do well.  We call the things that aren't in our focus the wiggles or squiggles.  By keeping those things in check we can continue to focus on the things that matter and get results.

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