Systems to Support Teaching: Using 360° Reviews

“Building the plane while we’re flying it.” That’s the expression often used to describe what it looks and feels like at an organization that is scaling, and Creating the Future is no exception. This year in our education sphere, we’ve been building a whole new curriculum while simultaneously nurturing the very faculty who will teach those classes!

We are now halfway into this scale-up year. With several BETA classes under our belts, we have a good sense of what it takes to develop more classes. Now it’s time to focus on what it will take to equally develop those Catalytic Thinking practitioners who have shown interest in teaching this material on behalf of Creating the Future.

When our team met back in March, we used Catalytic Thinking to consider, “What would ‘ready to teach our immersion course’ look like? And what would it take to support people along that journey?”

From that discussion, several things became clear:

1) Applying the Continuum of Potential to practitioner development is a far more inclusive approach to teaching than the exclusionary “You’re either qualified or not” approach. The question is no longer binary (“Are you ready to teach, yes or no?”). The question instead becomes, What are you ready to teach?”

2) To help Catalytic Thinking practitioners step more firmly into their potential, they will need systems to support their ongoing growth, first as people, and then as potential teachers.

3) Before any of that, though, there need to be systems for individuals to self-assess their own movement along that continuum, and to allow them to benefit from the wisdom of those around them.

360° Reflections
One of the big questions asked during our March 30 meeting was, “Who gets to decide?” Who gets to determine what programs someone is ready to teach?

Creating the Future’s decision-making has always been consensus based. And this year’s organizational restructuring will be embedding that consensus culture into our official leadership structure. Therefore the only logical answer to “Who gets to decide?” is EVERYONE.

Enter the 360-degree reflection process.

Typically, a 360-degree review process provides a variety of points of view about an individual’s work performance, not just from the top down (e.g. from a supervisor), but from everyone who interacts with that person, including the individual him/herself. 

In our case, this would not be so much of a “review,” but more of a time for reflection, to mindfully consider the pre-conditions for that individual’s own success. Hence the term 360° Reflection

The critical issue then becomes what questions to ask during that reflection. The good news is that we’ve already noted what we’re looking for – in the meeting summarized here. Now we just need to turn those bulleted items into questions, and create a process for asking them (who to ask, who does the asking, in what format do we receive the answers, etc.).

At the meeting of our faculty team this week, this is the question we will be addressing. We’ll be combining the issues noted in that summary with our knowledge of the Continuum of Potential, to determine at least some initial questions that can guide us as we develop systems.

Because the nature of these discussions may be quite personal and/or sensitive,* this meeting will not happen publicly, but we will summarize the results right here on this blog.

In the meantime, please share with us your own experience in developing similar programs. What has worked in your experience? What has created conditions for bringing out the very best in your team? We look forward to learning from what you have learned!

* Read the policy on our Open Meetings is here.

The Continuum of Potential

The following expands upon an excerpt from the article Catalytic Thinking: A Framework for Creating and Scaling Powerful Results. Practices that Bring Out the Best in People in Specific (Often Difficult) Situations Sometimes people are just being people – whether that is at a staff meeting or the dinner table. Then there are times when people…

Are You Prepared to Teach our Immersion Course? (Summary: Faculty Development Meeting)

There are many opportunities to teach at Creating the Future, all of which center around what it looks like when we put Catalytic Thinking into action. The Continuum of Potential is one aspect of Catalytic Thinking that especially informs our education programs. The Continuum is a framework that helps us know where people are in reaching for…