Thoughout the world, many nations face crippled education systems. Within the United States, the "No Child Left Behind" policy of President George Bush began as an education policy determined to improve schools by ensuring ALL student's achieved minimum requirements to advance. When applied in context, however, we realize now that indeed no child was left behind, but in a failing education system. Sadly, the admonition of Russell Ackoff was missed; we became better
at doing the wrong thing
. [To quote Russ, "The righter you do the wrong thing, the wronger you become. It is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right."]
President Obama recently took steps to reform the current education system
to shift the focus back to learning
and less on testing. In the current system, a great deal of emphasis is placed on achieving exam proficiency in only math and reading that according to the President, we are faced with "countless children who will never realize their full talent and potential." By placing emphasis chiefly on results, and placing all the accountability on teachers to achieve these results, the process of learning has, to no surprise to our network members, deteriorated
. The dangers of result based management, extend far beyond education, however, and can be seen in the management model of many businesses today.
THINKING about equivalent merit-pay or commission based systems in business reveals a likelihood of detrimental effects as well. The focus shifts to sales instead of customer needs, competition drives less comraderie and training between salespeople, and result orientation gives rise to unhealthy pressure for businesses to show the right numbers in their books. In order to avoid this common trap we must think about the alternatives. How can we work on the causes of the results we want, i.e. the system?
If you are interested in exploring the limitless opportunities found in teamwork to create better solutions in local government or national government, or in the private sector of organizations, including service organizations, we invite you to join us at the In2:InThinking Network 2010 Forum in Los Angeles, California on April 15th through 20th.
Come join your colleagues who are working to improve the teamwork in our organizations. Our theme this year is "Juggling Roles, Goals, and Context...In2 Harmony."