Here’s a question: You have a project to complete. Given a choice, which would you prefer: would you rather have good people and poor process or the reverse?
Obviously, in a perfect world, we would like to have both. I, at least, do not seem to live in that world. There are always compromises to be made. But I think we should still strive for the very best.
Good people are important, of course. With good people, poor processes can be overcome. Good people are creative, able to adapt, and can make the best out of poor situations. On the other hand, these good people can often be frustrated by working within a poor process, leaving them looking for the door and wanting to move on to situations where they can fully utilize their talents.
Good processes, on the other hand, aren’t sexy. They don’t grab headlines. Few people come home at night and say “That was just the best-run meeting I’ve ever been to!” But process IS important. With a process in place, people who lack experience can fit into an organization and contribute right away. People who produce good work but may not be particularly creative can feel at home. Good processes lift people up.
What do we have in Seguin ISD? That depends very much on whom one asks. My impression is that on our campuses, we have good people: teachers. Our teachers care about our kids and work hard, under sometimes difficult conditions, to provide great education. And they can. Last year, McQueeney Elementary struggled and failed to meet the state standard. This year, there has been significant improvement so far. Same teachers, same students. Different results. Why? Well, there is a new principal. And with the new principal are new processes that support teachers and hold them accountable. Good process is enabling good people to succeed.
At the level of Central Administration and the Board of Trustees, things get more difficult. The Board, as has been well-documented elsewhere, has made a series of decisions that provoke head-scratching, to say the least. Our new superintendent, lacking experience managing a district of this size and complexity, has been unable to achieve the stable footing needed to make the transformative changes our students need. There appear to be no processes in place to promote good decision-making. As a result, the district is foundering. Despite claims to the contrary, test scores are not improving (with a few exceptions). Teachers and administrators are departing or polishing their resumes. They are looking, I would guess, for a place where good processes are in place that will allow them to flourish. The result, our lack of good process is going to leave us without many good people.
Good people or good process? Which would you like?
Together we can do better.