The Production Capability principle: is to always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

As you read this Blog keep the above quote in mind and know that in schools: Administrators have staff, teachers and parents as customers and teachers have children and parents as customers.

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Have you ever gone into a restaurant and were greeted by the hostess with a smile and friendly greeting as you were quickly seated.  Then, before you knew it the waiter was there to explain the menu and make you feel welcome.  Next, orders were taken and the hot delicious meals were served with a smile and the evening was one of great food, service and a feeling of relaxation with everyone you are with. When you leave you know that you will come back again because of the way you were treated and the quality of the food.  

If you were able to examine the workings of a fine restaurant you would see that the owner, manager, cooks, wait staff and other employees of the restaurant knew their roles and worked as part of a team to make sure each customer had a wonderful and memorable dining experience.  In addition, the owner of the restaurant would treat his employees as he would his best customers because that will model how all staff should treat customers. Therefore, the best restaurants that are highly effective in their production (prepared, presented and delivered food) and they are aware of the need to take care of their production capabilities (uncooked food, service, cleanliness, and environment) to have the right balance.  If a restaurant does not have a balance between production and production capability the restaurant will fail or at best be mediocre with a poor profit margin.

If we compare a restaurant to a school there are many parallels that can help us improve our schools.  First, schools serve children and whole families.  Second, there are many types of employees that directly or indirectly serve our families and children. Third, schools must maintain a balance between production (students who are learning and enjoying the curriculum we serve) and production capability (students who are ready to learn, teachers prepared and licensed, appropriately paced curriculum).  Fourth, the best administrators treat their faculty and support staff exactly as they would treat their best customers.  When those who are working in the school feel respected and valued as team members by their bosses, the children who come to the school should receive the same treatment by their teachers and support staff.

As a school or restaurant builds an environment that has a culture that models and nurtures, kind respectful behavior for customers it becomes the norm for the establishments.  The following steps are recommended to all stakeholders to build the environment where everyone feels a part of the team:

  1. Provide PD for adults on team building .
  2. Administrators do a climate survey and self reflect to ensure they are the positive role model that treats everyone with respect and kindness.
  3. Build a master schedule that allows teachers to meet frequently to plan and discuss the needs of children and families.
  4. Have professional book studies that define and build capacity that results in a school that operates as a team using best practices together and in the classroom together.
  5. Empower staff and assign them leadership roles that will empower their grade level and improve the school.
  6. Teach stewardship through delegation by providing administrative support for staff that desire greater leadership responsibilities.

Running a successful restaurant is no small feat and most restaurants fail.  Running a successful school is no small feat and many schools fail.  Unlike restaurants however, there are many poorly performing schools that limp along leaving some of their customers behind.  If you want a successful school that will steadily improve, I encourage you to follow these steps. Balancing your production and production capability by building a strong team that trusts and respects their colleagues and their administrators will get you there!

Written By Budd Dingwall

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