The One About Sharing Skills

“When all team members are located in one large room, someone’s information becomes yours, without even trying. You start thinking in terms of what’s best…. for the group at large and not only where you stand.” (Takeuchi, Hirotaka, & Ikujiro Nonaka. “The New New Product Development Game ” Harvard Business Review (Jan/Feb 1986): 285-305

That quote is from a paper written by team members working on a new product for Canon, but it doesn’t just apply to product development. It’s true of school life too. Let me explain how.

How many courses have you come back from (Remember those? Courses in real life, with packets of biscuits and catering flasks of tea and coffee that out can’t figure out how to open?!?!) Sorry, got distracted… how many courses have you come back from and reflected on the most useful part being the fact that you were with other people, talking about, comparing and sharking your experiences? How many times have you visited another school and sketched out a display idea, or asked if you can snap a quick photo of a piece of work for inspiration later? I’d hazard a guess that it’s more often that you realise, too. I think one of the greatest skills you develop in a busy classroom is multi-channel awareness – you see and hear multiple things as you work with a group or an individual pupil. You pick up on what’s going on around the school as you walk past open classroom doors, or a snippet of a conversation and develop a bit better understanding of the school

That brings me back to that quote about Product. A school team given time to meet, talk and develop together is a powerful team. They are focused as one on what is best for everyone. Short term, personal wins give way to a greater sense of collegiality and a mindset where everyone is pulling in the same direction. What follows is a culture of team improvement – a space in which individuals feel comfortable to ask for ideas or support, without fear that they’ll be identified as weak or lacking in some way. As one of my new colleagues has told me (repeatedly!) “there are no stupid questions here” That should be true in any team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *