CASB Great Governing

A service of the Colorado Association of School Boards, Great Governing is dedicated to citizen leaders learning, growing and achieving for "the sake of the kids." For a conversation, contact Randy Black at CASB headquarters, 1200 Grant Street, Denver, Colorado 80203.

800-530-8430, 303-832-1000

Teams owning great governing are continually working to improve. Here are a few prompters and questions from some wise folks...

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Five dysfunctions

Peter Lencioni’s simple but powerful insights about the “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” help provide a great place to ponder, discuss and sharpen your effort. Great for individual and team learning. Use this list as a work center. Jot thoughts around such questions as “How might we build strength in each of these areas of potential dysfunction?” or “How might we avoid this dysfunction?” or “How might we be known for the opposite of this dysfunction?”

- Absence of trust

- Fear of conflict

- Lack of commitment

- Avoidance of accountability

- Inattention to results

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Heart-of-the-matter, continuous improvement questions

Good for developing, sustaining, measuring, and stepping up any team effort:

- Why are we in this role, this business? Who are we?

- How are we doing our role, this business?

- Where are we now, how is it going?

- Where do we want to be/go?

- How will we get there?

- How will we know when we’ve arrived?

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Good to great 

Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” work is rich with learning possibilities. A special edition (simpler, focused) for non-profit leadership is available. His concept of focused, “hedgehog” work is developed using three essential questions represented by three intersecting circles. At the intersection is the heart of the matter, that hedgehog focus on what the team is really good at doing. As you work at honing your team’s/system’s purpose and focus, take some time with….

- What are we (this team) most passionate about?

- What fuels our (team’s) engine? (people, finances, information…)

- What are we (this team) best at providing?

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“The future ain’t what it used to be.” – Yogi Berra

- What was school like when you were in elementary school?

- What has changed in our leadership environment over the past 10 years?

- How must we change to align to the new mandates and challenges?

- What habits of excellence are essential for the new era of educational leadership?

- How do we prove our worth in this era of accountability?

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No other principle of effectiveness is violated as constantly today as the basic principle of concentration…Our motto seems to be: “Let’s do a little bit of everything.” – Peter Drucker

- What if we did a lot with a little? What would we be about?

- What are our wildly important, absolutely crucial, achievement concentrations?

- What “lesser things” keep consuming precious team time?

- What do we want our legacy to be?

- What do we want to be remembering with healthy pride 40 years from now?


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A few appreciative inquiry questions

-   What ____ achievements/accomplishments are you most proud?

-   What do you value most about ____ ?

-   What do you love about ____ ?

-   What are the sustaining strengths of ____ ? 

-   Describe a personal HIGHlight of your ____  experience.  What happened?  Who was involved? What difference/impact was made? What core values were being expressed?

-   How does ____  inspire you?

-   What is ____  wildly important reason for existing?

-   It’s 2023.  ____  has changed/evolved but still holds the position of the premier organization for board of education advocacy and development.  What has contributed to this great position?  What leading-the-way decisions were made along the way?  How does the organization look, feel and get things done?

-   It’s 2018.  Members of the ____  are toasting cutting-edge/breakout/breakthrough accomplishments/success?  What’s being celebrated?

-   What are your greatest hopes for ____ ?

-   Five year’s from now, ____  is featured on the cover and inside the ________ for its excellence as a leading-the-way system/culture/network/organization. What does the headline say?  What powerful characteristics/insights about ____  fill the article?  What does ____  look like?  How do members assess the system?

-   If there was one crucial new aspect of ____  over the next five years, what would it be?

-   What do you hope ____  achieves/accomplishes during the next five years?  What will success look like? Why would that be important to you?

-   If ____  is to provide it’s very best during the next five years, what and how would we be leading?

-   What trends/issues are driving ____ ’s need to change/improve/transform?

-   What are the significant trends, shifts, pressures, competition…impacting ____ ’s future?

-   What questions will launch us into deeper or next level thinking about a new-era ____ ?

-   What are the motivators or crucial reasons for improving/enhancing/transforming ____ ?  Who needs this change the most?

-   What are the most promising practices for advancing ____  and why would we want to engage?

-   What/who are the most promising partners for advancing ____  and why would we/they be interested?

-   What would be our indicators of success/achievement/progress?

-   How will ____  sustain the change?  Who will execute?  How will the change be monitored and celebrated?  What system/financial/structural supports need to be in place?

-   What’s the first step?  Second?

-   What resources and supports will be needed?

-   What steps does the ____  need to take to effectively govern this next ____  era?

-   How will the ____  constantly contribute to this new advancing?

-   How will the ____  lead the way in the new era