Northwest AEA’s Advantage: Literacy and Culture

During the 2015-16 school year, the administrative team at Northwest AEA studied the work of Patrick Lencioni with his book, The Advantage. Lencioni describes organizational health as the most important and competitive advantage for any team. 

He recommends that organizations develop a playbook, which identifies a thematic goal for a school or organization. Northwest AEA identified two thematic goals for the 2016-17 school year. The first focuses on serving our schools and the second addresses the internal environment at Northwest AEA: 

1. To strengthen literacy practices in all Northwest AEA schools. 
2. To create a strong culture internally at Northwest AEA.

These goals will help us to build a healthy organization by aligning our resources. It helps us provide clarity, both internally and to our schools. Each thematic goal has defining objectives, standard operating objectives and is based upon three major anchors. These anchors describe how we behave as an agency, serving both internal and external audiences. Our three anchors include:

  1. building positive individuals,
  2. fostering independent learners, and
  3. commitment to serving others.

If you notice, all three of these are based upon creating relationships that will help us serve students and staff. Developing and nurturing relationships is one of the underlying themes of Lencioni’s work. 

As school organizations continue to implement reform efforts, The Advantage by Lencioni is a great way to focus your efforts. He asks you to answer six questions, which include:

1. Why do we exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How will we succeed?
5. What is important right now?
6. Who must do what?

You might want to consider making your own playbook, which will help you focus on what is most important in your organization. This will help determine key decisions and communication. It will also help keep our “human systems” as healthy organizations. 

We have attached a photo of what our playbook looks like to the right.

As always, be sure to check out our blogs, which we hope will inform, inspire and guide your daily work:

For a complete listing of all blogs, please go to the Northwest AEA website. You can also sign up for an RSS feed to automatically receive blog updates (instructions provided on the Northwest AEA website).

Educationally yours,

Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator