What I Learned From an Airline CEO
On a flight to New Orleans for the 2011 CCBD Conference this morning, I open the Southwest Airlines inflight magazine to pass some time. The first article, by the CEO, was about the importance of Creating Culture in the company. I immediately thought about how this applies to Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and schools too.
The CEO stated that creating the culture of Southwest Airlines began when the company was founded and continues to this day in very intentional ways, including the appointment of a culture committee. The company understands that customers choose them because of the way they conduct themselves in business, in services, and in client relationships. Everyone in the company, from the board of directors to flight attendants and baggage handlers are taught what to do and what SW airlines stands for. This is exactly what we are looking for in schools that implement school-wide PBIS systems. It’s not just the classroom teachers that are responsible for promoting safe, respectful, or responsible behavior in students – it’s everyone’s job. The expectations that the school chooses becomes the culture of the school. It must be intentional and it must be taught.
3 Steps for Creating Culture in School
1. Begin with a Vision
– Create an image, with words, of the place you want the school to become. What is the culture you want to promote? What is the end goal for your community? Think, this is who we are. And keep it simple.
2. Disseminate the Vision 3 Ways
– Think like a business and decide how to market your vision to your community. A) Face to face: using meetings, assemblies, and announcements. B) Print media: including flyers, newsletter, posters, email and the school website. C) Social media: get your school on Facebook, Twitter, Fickr, YouTube and other social media sites to share your vision with your community of followers.
3. Seek and Share Feedback
– Solicit feedback on the vision, get input, consider modifications until you get it right. And when you receive that feedback via surveys, polls, or public opinion forums make sure you share the results with your community so that people know that you heard them and that their voice matters. That too is part of the culture.
Those are my thoughts and tips for today. Inspiration is everywhere. Now go forth and create the culture that you want for your school.
What is the culture at your school? Share with me in the comments below.