Ethiopian Runners


Credit : IOPP/AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle

Kudos to my friend Brook Larmer for this terrific article about Ethiopian runners from Bekoji.  From a numbers perspective, what fascinates me is the similarity of the relationship between the running coach and his runners to the relationship I have seen between great principals and their teachers and the teachers’ students.  Having had a chance to witness KIPP, as well as another charter school organization, as well as an incredible organization called Summersearch, I am more convinced than ever that the passion and demonstrated resolve to do the work necessary to succeed is the formula for success.  As KIPP says, “there are no shortcuts.”  In our work at the charter school organization, we witnessed great performing schools where a “strength of mission” had been fostered between the principal, the teachers and the students.  The great schools have built a sense of mission and purpose that they use to drive themselves forward.  Now, again from the data perspective, wouldn’t it be worthwhile if we could measure “strength of mission”?  Another way I have described this strength is the strength of the relationships between the various members of an organization.  When members of an organization care about (and love) each other and are committed to their joint success, incredible things are possible.  I’m told that the great fighting units in the armed forces are great because they care deeply about each other.  Randy Pausch, in his recently released book called “The Last Lecture,” shared a methodology he used with his students, to poll his students and then rank each student based upon the degree to which other students wanted to work on projects with each particular student.  I believe one way of measuring this strength of relationship could be done by NPS (net promoter scores), which is based upon systematic polling about the question “How likely are you to refer or recommend [ john doe company / coach smith / principal harris / random kipp school / summersearch ] to a friend or colleague?”   Data360 has a survey module it is about to launch and we hope to let organizations use this tool to better understand how and whether they are creating excellence.

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