Continuing with my examination of the Productive Thinking Model laid out in Tim Hurson’s book Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide To Productive Thinking. Looking at student discipline with T.P.M.
Step 2 of the Productive Thinking Model is called “What’s Success?” As I lead my staff through an examination of issues related to developing a new discipline plan, we examined what was going on in step 1 and discovered our Target Future, we then moved right into step 2, which focuses on knowing when we have arrived at our Target Future.
Tim describes how organizations tend to view proposed change in one of 5 viewpoints.
1. Things were fine before. I don’t see what good any of this is going to do.
2. Anything would be better than the way things are now.
3. Not as good as I’d hoped but not as bad as I’d feared. In fact, some of these ideas are okay.
4. This is the (you fill in the ordinal number) (you fill in the expletive) change program we’ve had in the last (you fill in the cardinal number) years!
5. There goes my workload again.
But, Tim adds, “regardless of which camp they are in, most people will also think the following: It’ll never stick.”
The Productive Thinking Model is designed to help pull people from the past and prevent them from getting trapped in former patterns. Tim describes the use of “Future Pull.”
“The purpose of What’s Success? is to create Future Pull: to make you care. Deeply. I like to think of this phase of the Productive Thinking Model as throwing a grappling hook into the future. You wind up and hurl the hook into the most compelling future you can imagine. It latches on firmly, and then you start to pull yourself into that future.”
One of the tools that can be used to establish Future Pull is the Imagined Future (IF). You imagine what it would look like if your Imagined Future was a reality. Basically, you imagine a day in the life of your future. What do you see, hear, feel, think, etc? What is happening? This requires some divergent creative thinking ability. Surprisingly, this was an area that we struggled a bit with. We try to teach creativity to our students, but we struggle ourselves. Not wanting to get too bogged down, we came up with a few points to put on our list and continued moving forward.
The next tool we used is called DRIVE. The DRIVE tool is used to define the characteristics of a successful outcome. The DRIVE tool enables us to develop a set of observable Success Criteria.
Do: What do you want your eventual solution to do? What must is achieve?
Restrictions: What changes or impacts must you avoid?
Investment: What resources are you willing to allocate? What are your “not-to-exceeds”?
Values: What values must you live by in achieving your solution?
Essential Outcomes: What are the nonnegotiable elements of success? What measurable targets must be met?
Our Do’s: affect change, everyone on the same page, seamless, clear, fair, encompassing, motivation, and raise expectations.
Our Restrictions: time, attitudes, varying expectations, and perfectionism.
Our Investments (Resources): time, equipment, Multi-purpose room, staff, and people.
Our Values: equity, respect, accountability, moral development, and discipline with dignity.
Essential Outcomes: attitude, buy-in, training, and excellent plan.
So we have now developed a clear picture of where we are and where we want to go with Step 1:What’s Going On and have a sense of what it will look like if we arrive at our imagined future in Step 2: What’s Success.
One of the difficulties I found as we have gone through the process is that many people are tentative to get very creative and divergent in their thinking. We are so used to having ideas judged that we aren’t used to just letting ideas fly free. This is where the ability to ask insightful and thought provoking questions is really useful.
In addition, as a facilitator, it is very difficult to manage the session and also contribute ideas of your own. My brain was on overload as I tried to pull ideas from the staff and also ensure that I was participating my adding my own ideas. I guess that is why organizations often bring consultants like Tim Hurson, Greg Fraley, Dan Roam, or Andrew Razeghi into help with the process. When we were done I needed a nap, but I was so energized. I loved it. I absolutely loved it!