Tony Hsieh (Zappos), School Management and Collaboration: Does Participation Reduce Resistance and Produce Effective, Data-Driven Schools and Union Contracts?


to Klein, (verb), to denigrate, to treat with disrespect, to achieve policy goals through fear of disciplinary action, such as discharge.
The Department of Education is a 19 billion dollar corporation with 1450 franchises, quasi self-governing sites, as well as a central bureaucracy. In the private sector success is measured by profits and publicly traded share prices, in schools, the range of test scores and graduation rates.
How do you motivate employees to be as effective as possible, “effective” meaning raising the metrics that transparently measure student progress?
A UCLA management expert, William Ouchi  and Jack Welch, the former General Electric CEO have driven the current management system philosophy.
Researchers discovered that the schools that consistently performed best also had the most decentralized management systems — individual principals, not administrators in a central office, controlled school budgets and personnel. They were fully responsible and fully accountable for the performance of their schools. With greater freedom and flexibility to shape their educational programs, hire specialists as needed, and generally determine the direction of their school, the best principals will act as entrepreneurs, says Ouchi
However, the entrepreneur principals mirror behaviors from central, little or no discussion with staffs, a “my way or the highway” management style, and the support of policies that weaken tenure and other core teacher, teacher-union rights. They abhor collaboration.
The UFT elections were a referendum on the Department management system – the 91% of UFTers who voted for Michael Mulgrew were also casting a vote against Joel Klein.

On Wednesday morning, June 16th, the Center for NYC Affairs (Milano) at the New School University will be releasing a much awaited report, “Putting Principals to the Test: Transforming NYC Schools in the Age of Data-Driven Accountability “, with a panel lead by Meryl Tisch, the Chancellor of the Board of Regents. (see Report here).
Can we look to other management models in the private sector?
One of the most successful entrepreneurs is Tony Hsieh, the president and CEO of Zappos, an online shoe and apparel site.  In a new book,  Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Hsieh argues that workplace culture is the key to highly effective employees that create a highly effective business enterprise. Spend a few minutes listening to Hsieh here.
A principle of personal and organization change is,
Participation Reduces Resistance.
In Pittsburgh a collaborative relationship between the union and management produced a contract that would be impossible to negotiate in toxic climates. It includes pay for student performance, a resulted-based evaluation system, all with the total involvement of the union.
Teacher evaluation plans can be tricky, in two cities that experimented with plans, Cincinnati and Chicago, union leadership did not survive.
Teachers in New York City will shun any Klein floated plans, there is no trust.
Perhaps Joel should chat with Tony Hsieh, of course he’s have to ditch that suit and tie.

One response to “Tony Hsieh (Zappos), School Management and Collaboration: Does Participation Reduce Resistance and Produce Effective, Data-Driven Schools and Union Contracts?

  1. Pingback: Tony Hsieh (Zappos), School Management and Collaboration: Does … « Management Fair

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