Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business (2012) by Gino Wickman is a business book perfectly designed for school leaders.  Wickman believes that vision without traction is merely hallucination.  Therefore, he sets up a system to identify your vision and then presents a guide to establishing traction for it.

The EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) is designed to give specific tools and a specific outlook to businesses.  It is founded on the examination of central processes of businesses: HR, marketing, sales, operations, accounting, and customer retention.  These are the processes of schools!  School leaders should pay attention to Wickman’s insights on how to measure and manage these processes.

Measuring your success is a consistent theme.  Wickman advocates for scorecards—daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.  I can’t help but think that the focus on data scorecards which are prevalent in many school systems are part of this same insight.  A weekly school scorecard might focus on retention, student attendance, disciplinary referrals, teacher attendance, and new family inquiries.  How valuable might this information be?  Monthly, a school could show Profit & Loss, student retention, parish/offertory donations, other donations & fund-raising, discipline & attendance, tuition collected, and new student inquiries/tours.  Annually, a school could utilize employee & student retention, standardized test scores, cost per student, accreditation goals, among other measures of growth.

Wickman argues that goals should be measured by 90 day intervals and progress should be communicated.  On the surface, his method looks a bit complicated and intricate.  However, I know of two schools which have implemented the system and have found great success.  Pick up the book and appreciate the process it presents for enacting change.  This is a step-by-step process for bringing about change.

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