Monday, July 30, 2007

Today's TDA Tip: Speak with one voice in MA school management

As you may know, we're in the process of moving, having sold our house in the Washington, DC suburbs of Virginia. In the process, we started working with an agent in the area to which we're moving. It was a pretty good experience from the start, with the agent enthusiastically showing the houses we'd requested (my wife knows the market very well), then assisting us with noting items that we could use that would justify a lower offer.

The problem(s) have occurred since the offer was made, and we realized that there were things which weren't covered, or were glossed over in making our offer. That meant that amendments and addenda had to be made. The real issue has been that since our initial showings with the agent, she's been having her husband handle all communication with us, and with the selling agent. When we've discussed any omitted items or have questioned the process, we've been discussing it with the husband, not the agent. Not good. He can't reliably comment on anything that he didn't see or hear with his own eyes or ears, as he wasn't there!

This leads us into the point of this post. I remember, when I had a staff of 20 instuctors and volunteers under me, that there would occasionally be disputes with a student (or his parents) over expectations, which were very detrimental to morale of the students and the staff. The problem was that we didn't speak with one voice:

  • make sure you have specific and clear policies and programs

  • communicate those to students and instructors verbally and in written form (posters, handouts) on a regular basis

  • have clear lines of authority to answer questions outside of set policy that don't get crossed without permission

  • make sure you have a consistent training program that includes school policies, not just how to better teach a side kick or motivate students

The consequences of misunderstandings can be financial, but they can also be emotional. Remember, when you're a school owner, your reputation and standing in the community are everything!

Have a great day.

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