In this third episode of our podcast series The Triple A’s to Nurture Educators: AdvocacyAuthenticity and Alignment, the discussion centers on alignment.

Host Carole Dorn-Bell talks with Diane Egbers, founder and CEO of Leadership Excelleration (LEI) and co-author of The Ascending Leader. Carole kicks off the conversation by asking about the culture transformation Diane is seeing in education in relation to alignment.

“What we’re seeing is very similar to what we’re seeing in many other industries—that focus on culture,” Diane says. “In a high-performing culture, one of the first aspects of creating alignment is aligning people to the mission, to the vision, to goals, to outcomes—and that kind of alignment is really fundamentally a culture transformation.”

Leadership team members should think about how they’re not just working for the people in their building but for the greater good that occurs in all of the district. Diane says that’s the kind of alignment they’re seeing in many districts they serve, which creates clarity and simplicity.

There are two ways to help districts achieve that: one is the strategic plan organized operationally to three-year growth indicators. The second is at the operational level, getting consistent 90-day priorities. Clarity is not only key around a long-term goal but also the ongoing priorities of the school district. Diane notes that when we have too many priorities we actually have none, and if everything is urgent then nothing is.

Once you have an agreement on learning strategy and a way in which you’re going to go about working to achieve things together, then you have higher board engagement and higher leadership engagement. Diane says all things are possible with engaged leaders, students and staff.

“The ultimate outcome is that it just creates higher engagement for higher performance,” Diane says.

Carole asks what happens when there is a lack of alignment among team members.

It depends on what’s causing the lack of alignment, Diane says. A lack of vision and strategy leads to confusion. The lack of goal clarity creates conflict.

“Those are risks for not really spending the vital strategic time and leadership time gaining alignment,” Diane says. “There tends to be a lot more confusion and conflict that occurs in districts.”

Diane says that because of a focus on implementation, LEI has a more than 90% achievement rate on reaching goals with groups they work with.

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