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Campus Culture Hacking: Part 3

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Let’s recap, Peter Drucker’s "culture eats strategy for breakfast" emphasizes the need for a compelling campus culture.  Education faces a critical crossroads, with almost three-fourths of teachers considering leaving the profession, highlighting the urgency for secure and robust school cultures. Culture happens, whether you work on it or not, and more schools recognize their responsibility to improve and reshape their culture actively. Culture hacking is a powerful approach with a BIG impact through small and intentional moves. 

In Part 1, we highlighted the significance of aligning tasks with a school's vision to Hone in on Purpose. Part 2 delved into collaborative culture design and shared leadership with Assemble a Team and Can't Do It All. Concluding this 3 part series, we introduce two more hacks: Know Your People and Set It in Motion, providing further insights for empowered leadership.

Hack #4: Know Your People

Have you ever had a boss or coworker not remember your name? It makes one feel overlooked and disregarded, creating an atmosphere where recognizing and acknowledging an individual's identity is overlooked. The fundamental concept of "Know Your People" is noticeably absent. This forgetfulness makes others feel unmemorable and undermines establishing a positive and supportive workplace culture where personal connections and awareness should thrive.

You should know that ‘Know Your People’ is not as simple as knowing everyone’s name; it

relies on leaders understanding the personal aspects of those they lead. This hack emphasizes the need for a deeper understanding of individuals and relationships within the school community and not relying on superficial fixes like the unexciting/mundane snack cart.

Use the following questions to guide your reflection:

  • What do you know about every person you lead/support?

  • Who is connected to the school community?

  • Where are the relationships among and between staff and other stakeholders?

Drawing inspiration from Salesforce's Relationship Intelligence technology, leaders are encouraged to gather actionable insights based on relationship data. This hack cements relationships at the core of leadership by identifying the personal aspects of those you lead and understanding the web of connections.

How: do you ‘Know Your People’?

  1. Identify Personal Insights: Understand the individuals you lead/support on a personal level.

  2. Map Relationships: Develop a nuanced understanding of connections and relationships within the school community.

  3. Lead with Relationships: Make relationships the focal point of your leadership approach.

Prioritizing relationships is not about surface-level gestures but the immeasurable acts of understanding and nurturing genuine connections.

Hack #5: Set It in Motion

Continuing the theme of small and intentional moves for significant impact, this hack draws on Confucius's wisdom, "The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." It reinforces the idea that culture continually evolves, urging leaders to shape it actively. Empower yourself with the strength of the team and set in motion intentional changes.

How: do you ‘Set it in Motion’? 

  • Recognize the Current Culture: Acknowledge that your culture is in motion now.

  • Take Small Steps: Make small but intentional moves to impact your school's culture positively.

  • Empower Staff: Foster an environment where every staff member feels empowered to contribute to a stronger culture

  • Utilize our Culture Self-Reflection Tool to dive further into culture work and create your individualized action plan.

What I hope you walk away with…

Acknowledge and address campus culture as critical to the teacher vacancy challenge as a root cause of our profession's crises. Recognize that culture is happening right now. You, as an educator, are the culture. You can make it better. Discover the power of small leadership moves that can significantly impact your school’s culture.

Accept that you're not just a leader but a culture hacker by prioritizing relationships and taking small, purposeful steps. A culture hacker building a better educational environment and creating a legacy that will benefit future generations of students and educators who will shape your community for years to come. If not you, who? If not now, when? If not HACKS, what? Which is your first HACK?


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