This blog is a serious challenge to my fellow professionals in and beyond education. Spend 5 minutes reading it and watching the video that led to it and I promise – if you have the will – you will be ready to trial a unique approach to success which will help you face your demons, those deep-down aspects of your work, you know are holding you back.

First let me describe the work experience many are currently experiencing. Which of these are true for you?

  1. I am a professional who cares about my work, but I feel overworked, even stressed about what I have to do.
  2. I regularly bury myself in the “List of things to do” but, far too rarely, spend time reflecting on my overall impact.
  3. It feels as though I am constantly being checked and questioned for the benefit of the system, rather than for my own professional learning and development.
  4. I also find myself chasing targets, or performance indicators, that have been set for me (rather than by myself, or my close colleagues).
  5. I find myself becoming debilitated, de-professionalised, even disillusioned, by this kind of quality control process.
    If any of these apply to you there is a risk that you are losing the critical element of being a professional. The more that apply the greater that risk.

Now imagine a work situation where the whole approach is different. Which of these are true for you?

  1. I am recognised as professional who cares about my work and even though I work hard, long hours, I feel positive about what I am doing.

  2. I have time to reflect and see the big picture into which my work fits. This allows me to prioritise the key actions that my colleagues and I know will make a positive difference.
  3. When I do evaluate it’s usually because my colleagues and I want to analyse, in depth, critical barriers to our success. Sometimes these key issues have been identified by others through inspection, audit, appraisal, or review but rarely are we unaware or surprised by their observations because we are on top of our own issues.

  4. Of course, I accept there are standards I have to meet. I am familiar with these and find them useful indicators. Often, I add my own criteria to focus the more generalised descriptors on our specific, local circumstances.
  5. I know when I am doing well and what I must do to improve. I relish the opportunity to demonstrate this to senior colleagues and outsiders.
If any of these apply to you there is a likelihood that you are on the way to becoming, or are already a high performing professional. The more that apply the greater that likelihood.

Head teachers, senior leaders, principals and CEOs reading the above will know what is coming next. Is your workforce made up of operatives (1-5) or professionals (a-e)? In what ways do you create the circumstances to empower and enable your colleagues?

Finally, look at the video below and see how we, at iAbacus, recognised the dichotomy above and created a unique approach to making a professional difference. Then look at the iAbacus and consider embedding its unique approach in your school, or workplace. If you do so, even in a small way, I promise the following benefits:

  • A simple and sophisticated system, for all colleagues, that will release the wisdom they already possess.
  • A universal approach that produces immediate visual images of performance and, quickly produces detailed plans, written by your colleagues, addressing the priority key issues they face.
  • An approach that blends the emotional intelligence of coaching with the rigours of inspection and review.
  • An on-line tool that your staff will immediately warm to and want to use.
  • The iAbacus can be used as a stand alone tool for whole school improvement and individual performance management, or alongside existing data systems (Blue Sky, SIMS, School-IP etc). In fact many schools use iAbacus to help staff access these “electronic filing cabinets” in order to strengthen their portfolios, plans and professionalism.