I attended a summit in Sydney last week where representatives of some of the biggest companies and brands spoke: Disney, Atlassian, Uber and Qualtrics. What unites each of these organisations is an unrelenting focus on the ‘people experience’. Customer and employee satisfaction drives everything and it is what propels them to reach new heights. The formula is simple – it’s the ability to listen and learn.
It was John Hattie who said a few years ago that teachers need to speak less and listen more. I’m not sure the call has been heard given many schools and systems are still operating from a model of transaction rather than interaction. Interaction is propelled by feedback and data as part of a relentless commitment to continuous improvement. Qualtrics has built its business on real-time listening. What was confirmed for me last week is that schools must become real-time communities of learning and listening.
Systems that have not recognised the value of listening to learners/parents and teachers and using data wisely to plot where to next, are at risk of becoming irrelevant in today’s world. As one presenter said, the UBER experience of having transportation show up on demand has raised the bar for every other industry/sector. It is not the exception for customers anymore, it’s becoming the norm.
Next week, parents in our Diocese will have the opportunity to ask questions about our approach to schooling as part of our system’s Chatterbox Live initiative. This will be the third Chatterbox Live we have hosted – the first two included a number of our primary and secondary schools. Students asked some challenging and tough questions. The point is that feedback (positive/negative) must be embraced as part of our collective learning journey. I know many are fearful that these opportunities give a free kick to the critics, detractors and poorly behaved. In the end though, it is the listening community who end up censoring out those who simply want to shout others down.
The most innovative organisations are the ones who are listening and responding in real-time. They use the feedback and data to ask intelligent and empathetic questions that are guided by the people they serve.