TLS Continuum Part 86: 5 ways to bring business skills to the classroom?

We constantly read in the media and hear our elected officials espousing that our schools are in turmoil. However, if we bring the TLS Continuum and its associated business skills to the school environment we can counter these messages of gloom and doom. So how do we make that happen?

Map your processes

Both from a macro view and a micro view, take your school processes including lesson plans and map out the flow of learning through the school. Begin with the macro view and then bring it down to ground level and include the time spans between each step. Dr, Mikel Harry has told us that we don’t know what we don’t know. Understand the entire process and all that contribute to its success.

Deliver our services in a cross-functional environment

We do not operate in a silo. Not in the classroom. Not in the world. Not in the businesses in our communities. Education has to include the input from all the resources that affect the end result of our educational system. Our curriculum needs to reflect this truism. We need to begin to instruct based on the input of the entire world. How does our subject matter reflect these influences? When we are teaching social studies what are the influences of math, science and literature what is our message to the whole system of learning?

Create creditable, verifiable metrics

Dr. Harry also tells us that we don’t measure what we don’t question. Society asks us produce metrics that confirm what we are doing is what is needed. This is only done through the use of metrics that meet the three criteria of the TLs Continuum. In order for metrics to be both useful and meaningful, they must first be creditable. The metrics produced must be believable. It does us no good to produce solutions based on fake data. We commit that the data we use is creditable because it is verifiable. It becomes verifiable because if I conduct the same data collection effort I should be able to come up with the same data points. Finally, in that regard we should be able to get the same data points every time we conduct the same collection effort. In other words, the data is repeatable.

Encourage stakeholder pride of ownership in education

We need to generate a new population of stakeholders in the school environment. It is a population of stakeholders who proudly tell the world that this education is mine. It is a population of stakeholders who have an investment in the ultimate output from the system we have created. We need a cadre of stakeholders who come to the table with a thirst for knowledge and discovery trying to find the solutions to world’s problems. That are encouraged to find the answers on their own not based on an educational professional telling them that this is the answer. Unlike the Adrienne Rich poem, they don’t look in a mirror and believe that they are not there.

Create a new school mantra

The TLS Continuum requires and expects that your school will create a new work environment in which the striving to constantly improve has become paramount. Everyone from the Chairman of the Board of Education to the Maintenance staff looks for ways to improve the system. Each and every suggestion is respected for the involvement it is and carries equal creditability within the system. It also involves total buy-in from the entire stakeholder community.

Want to learn more about the introduction of business skills in your schools? Get a copy of our recently published book, The Excellent Education System: Using Six Sigma to Transform Schools, available from CRC Press at

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