Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ignorance Management


Tomorrow belongs to those that can collaborate and create in concert

I really believe that tomorrow belongs to those that can collaborate and create in concert.

I don’t believe that for an effective collaboration to exist that everyone will have the same high level of commitment to every decision or action.  Yet, I do believe that as people work together there are times when a individual will hold a high commitment to an idea and there will be other times when the same individual will hold a medium or low commitment to an idea.  In all of those situations this individual can be part of an effective collaboration.

For a collaboration to exists, it is my experience, that there needs to be enough people with high commitment and few or none in the group in disagreement at a level where they would want to “block” the idea – then a consensus has formed.

As people work together and build new consensus ideas, it is likely that any individual will play different roles in the support of the new consensus ideas.

For my experience, ideas that are strongly supported by over 65% of the people are ideas that can be considered to be a reasonable consensus.   And again, as long as members of the group are not going to block the implementation of the idea, the idea can move forward and come to life.

Over the last 45 yours I’ve been involved with groups that have used a “fist to five” approach to checking for consensus.  What you see below is a description of what a “fist of five” approach might look like.  In the example below, the zero or the “fist” is not set to be a “block”.  If you want to uses same concept and have the zero be a “block”, that would be more than acceptable as well.

For a strong consensus to be formed at least 65% of the group would need to be a “4” or a “5”.  And there would need to be some, maybe 20% to 30% as “3’s”.

I strongly believe that today’s and tomorrow’s challenges are and will be complex and thus will require people who can and will think interdependently.  And that tomorrow will belong to those that can collaborate and create in concert.


I heard Diane Ravitch today . . .

I heard Diane Ravitch today.  She clearly is a voice we should all listen to.  In her comment she made is clear that poverty, segregation and the absence of resources are the real problems in American public schools. She also debunked the concept that America’s test scores are terrible.  Below are her words from a seven minute NPR interview from a week ago.

The cause of the achievement gap is poverty and segregation, and an absence of resources. Wherever you find that toxic combination of high poverty and racial segregation, you will find low test scores. And so what’s happening today is that we – first, we have No Child Left Behind, which I believe is a failed policy. I mean, Secretary Duncan said it’s broken. It’s broken and it’s failed. We have many, many children left behind. They’re the same children who were left behind when the law was passed over 10 years ago.

But No Child Left Behind set an unreasonable goal. It said 100 percent of the children would be proficient, and then, when the 100 percent are not proficient, it’s unreasonable because no nation in the world has 100 percent of the children proficient.

We label those schools failing schools. We fire the teachers. We close the schools and then they’re set up for privatization. So I think this is a terrible process that has been set into motion that is doing tremendous damage to public education.

Millions of teachers understand it. Many superintendents and principals understand it. They know that testing is not going to close gaps, it’s simply going to reflect gaps.

The other thing you should know – and I think it’s really important in this conversation to say this. The NAEP scores – that is, the federal testing scores today – are the highest they’ve ever been in history.

The scores for white students, black students, Hispanic students and Asian students are the highest they’ve ever been since federal testing began 40 years ago. We also have the highest high school graduation rate in history for the people in the age group 18 to 24. We also have the lowest dropout rate in history for that age group, 18 to 24. Only eight percent of them don’t have a high school diploma.

She gets me thinking.