Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mobilize Your Silent Majority

When most of us think about the squeaky wheel, it is not usually a super positive thing.  While not necessarily and explicitly negative, the squeaky wheel is a means to an end for some person or group.  Car maintenance is an appropriate metaphor for how school often goes.  When things are good/great, it is quiet and you roll with it!  When things break you start to get those noises, warning lights and error messages on that nifty screen that front and center.  That's how the machine works, right?

What if our machine worked differently?   What if our notification console gave us green lights and thumbs up instead of those alarming and anxiety creating red and orange lights (those things give the amazing color of red a bad name...).  Below is a great nugget from the Blunt Educator:

As leaders of schools it is our job and role to be sharing the positive stories and learning narratives of our campuses and classrooms, but we cannot do it alone.  We must look for opportunities to engage our community and also grow them in their ability to be the positive squeaky wheel.

I call this process mobilizing your silent majority.  Your silent majority, more often than not, is that group where your campus systems and experience are right on track, meeting or exceeding their expectations!  They are happy and they go with it!  This phrase came up in conversation as we opened Timberview Middle School just a few short years ago.  We were sitting in our leadership team meeting discussing how to best approach a small, but rowdy group that were going after the school in the community.  Our superintendent happened to be in with us and he looked at us and asked us some questions about the situation to help him establish a campus level perspective.  After listening carefully he said (paraphrase): sounds to me like you have an upset vocal minority.  The question now is, what can you do to reach your silent majority?  It has been four (4) years since I first heard those words and they have been very impactful!  Upon further research, it turns out that this is a reference to a Richard Nixon speech given during his efforts to end the Vietnam War and had great success raising support for this specific effort, but also creating movement that led Nixon's ability to get some other things done prior to his departure.

Our community's voice is huge in the identity of our campus and classroom.  We want our students' and families' voice to be heard and we want it to have a positive impact on our campus' and classrooms' identity and brand.  Let me leave you with the following question to tweet about (use the hashtag #EDentity) or to leave a comment about: What are some ways you are facilitating your silent majority to raise their voice and be heard?



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