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IMPROVING SCHOOL BOARD RELATIONS THROUGH THINKING STYLES Scott Childress, Ed.D. New Mexico Association of School Boards LEADERS RETREAT CLOUDCROFT, NEW MEXICO JULY 17, 2009.

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slide1

IMPROVING SCHOOL BOARD RELATIONS THROUGH THINKING STYLES

Scott Childress, Ed.D.

New Mexico Association of School Boards

LEADERS RETREAT

CLOUDCROFT, NEW MEXICO

JULY 17, 2009

slide2

This session will introduce participants to a key explanation on how School Boards can work together. Thinking styles are the way individuals solve problems. Everyone uses creativity in problem solving, but how they use their preferred thinking style can be a source of conflict. The Alamogordo Board of Education will demonstrate how this can be used in conjunction with Five Stages of Board Development.

slide3

Outline

Introductions

Five Stages of School Board Development

Results of Alamogordo Board Teamwork Survey

Adaptor or Innovator

Results of Alamogordo KAI Questionnaire

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Theory

Coping Skills

slide4

SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE ALAMOGORDO BOARD MEMBERS

Board PresidentDr. Allan Rickman

Board Vice President

Sue Medina

Board Member

Mike Jones

Board SecretaryRhonda Cross

Board MemberDavid Ceballes

  • Board MemberColonel Michael Stapleton

Superintendent of Schools

Michael Harris

slide5

Five Stages of School Board Development

FORMING

STORMING

NORMING

PERFORMING

ADJOURNING

slide6

Analysis of Results of Teamwork Survey

This information is essential so we can get to the Performing Stage as quickly as possible.

slide7

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Inventory

PEOPLE DO NOT SOLVE PROBLEMS THE SAME WAY

Adaptor - Innovator

What is your approach to Problem Solving?

WHAT IS YOUR THINKING STYLE?

adaptor or innovator

Concerned with resolving problems rather than finding them

Could be said to discover problems and discover avenues for solution

Seeks solutions to problems in tried and understood ways

Queries problems' basic assumptions; manipulates problems

Reduces problems by improvement & greater efficiency, with maximum of continuity and stability

Is catalyst to settled groups, irreverent of their consensual views; seen as abrasive, creating dissonance

ADAPTOR OR INNOVATOR
adaptor or innovator1

Is catalyst to settled groups, irreverent of their consensual views; seen as abrasive, creating dissonance

  • When collaborating: supplies stability, order and continuity to the partnership.
  • When collaborating: supplies the task orientations, the break with the past and accepted theory.
  • Provides a safe base for riskier operations.
  • Sensitive to people, maintains group cohesion and cooperation.
  • Insensitive to people, often threatens group cohesion and cooperation.
ADAPTOR OR INNOVATOR
slide10

WHAT EXACTLY IS IT WE ARE DOING?

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, cognition (THINKING) and personalitytraits.

slide11
What human trait is genetically determined?

Is readily apparent in young children?

Can be reliably measured in teenagers?

Does not changewith age or experience?

Can be validated with a reliable instrument?

Scores can be normalized on a bell curve?

Problem-Solving /Thinking Style

slide12

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Theory

Team collaboration and the reduction of conflictfigures largely in everyone’s life.

For you to have an efficient Board team you need everyone to spend the greatest effort on the problems at hand (PROBLEM A) ,

rather than spending a great amount of time & effort (ENERGY)on problems raised in collaborating!(PROBLEM B).

KAI will help you to achieve this, by exposing, and not allowing a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect while understanding and working with differences in thinking style in a group setting (‘cognitive gap’). 

slide13

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Theory

Management of Change:  We are problem-solvers and we do not resist change.  We may resist a specific change, but this has more to do with a lack of information or a lack of shared understanding of the problem.  "Resistance to change" can often be explained by the pain of having to let go of an old structure, field, domain or paradigm while still unsure about the validity of the new one.  Where people do openly resist a changeit is usually because they perceive it as someone else's change, not their change and that someone else is usually of a different creative or problem-solving style.  Using the KAI, Superintendents and Board Members can learn how to work successfully with different-thinking colleagues during times of planned or unplanned change.

Management of Diversity:  Board training and individual development in personal awareness is very successful in working with diversity of thinking styles. 

slide14

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Theory

  • Group Cohesion and Effectiveness:  KAI has been used extensively as a tool to increase group cohesion and effectiveness through an increased ability to work appropriately with ranges of individuals who think inside and outside the paradigm (or "inside and outside the box").  You need both on your Board.
  • Leadership:  KAI is effective in building and enhancing individual leadership skills.  Leadership is based on talents and strengths and KAI stresses that one of the primary tasks of good leadership is to create an environment in which everybody can work in a way which builds on their preferred decision-making style.  Stress in an individual usually comes about because this principle is not respected or even understood.
slide15

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Theory

  • Problem Solving and Team Building:  top management teams, R & D groups, Marketing departments and Project Management groups have been made more effective using skills developed through the KAI. Users: Dupont, Nestles, American Crane, Proctor and Gamble. Worldwide and in 4 languages.

Only certified users may administer and interpret the KAI.

slide16

Developed by Dr. Michael J. Kirton (kaicentre.com)

The resistance to change does not depend on abilities, knowledge and intelligence of individuals involved;

however it is related to the creative styles of individuals and differences in thinking styles.

KAI is extremely useful in compressing the time it takes for individuals and teams to shift perspective.

KAI defines and measures your and your fellow board members characteristic and preferred style of decision making and problem solving.

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Theory

slide17

KAI Theory and Application

  • KAI instrument measures preferred thinking style and plots them on a continuum from adaptive to innovative.
  • Distribution of scores in large populations form a normal bell curve.
slide18

Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Questionnaire

How easy or difficult do you find it to present yourself, consistently, over a long period as:

Very Very

Hard Hard Easy Easy

A PERSON WHO IS PATIENT.-------------------------------------------- * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This Continues for 32 Questions and a Total Score is Calculated

slide19

Kirton Adaption-Innovation Continuum

AGENT OF STABILITY

AGENT OF CHANGE

Agents of Chan

2% 14% 34% 34% 14% 2%

146

132

59

77

113

45

95

More Innovative

See the definition as part of the problem

Doing things differently

More Adaptive

Accept and work within the problem definition

Doing things better

slide20

KAI Theory and Application

  • Thinking styles are concerned with form and not content (structure rather than substance).
  • Thinking styles deals with how we perceive, think, solve problems, make decisions, learn, and relate to others.
  • KAI does not measure level of creativity or ability, rather how you operationally pursue thinking during problem solving.
  • Everyone solves problems creatively.
slide21

KAI Scales

  • Observed scores range from 45-146 with mean at 95.
  • High Adaptors are 45-77.
  • Mid-Range - “Bridgers” are 78-113.
  • High Innovators are 114-146.
slide22

KAI Style of Problem Solving

  • A-I reflects different approaches to problem solving:
  • BETTER VS DIFFERENT
  • A-I’s have problems getting along at the extreme ranges.
  • The mean may vary but range is usually stable.
slide23

KAI Theory and Application

  • Adaptors prefer more structured problem-solving methods and are most comfortable when everyone is in agreement about the process and the solution.
  • Adaptors are also more likely to try to solve a problem by working within the current system as opposed to developing a completely new one.
slide24

KAI Theory and Application

  • Innovators are at ease with a less structured approach and don’t view a lack of consensus as an obstacle.
  • Innovators change the question or redefine the problem.
  • Innovators tend to look beyond the status quo for solutions.
slide25

KAI Theory and Application

  • Are “innovators” (new or different idea, method or device) more creative? NO!!
  • Neither style is more creative or better at problem-solving or decision-making.
  • Depending on the situation or problem, one style is better fitted.
  • A team composed of both adaptors and innovators is the most effective as long you understand how to work together and respect each other’s differences.
slide27

KAI Theory and Application

  • Style differences of 20 points or more on the KAI scale lead to communication difficulty and distrust issues.
  • The more adaptive person on the teams will try to solve the problem meticulously, aided by many details. Also the more adaptive person will want to apply tried and tested solutions.
  • The more innovativeperson will prefer to redefine the problem and look at the big picture. The innovative person will also try to solve the problem by looking at it from unsuspected angles.
slide28

KAI Theory and Application

  • It is not uncommon for Board Members to mistake differences in thinking style (continuum spread) for differences in capacity, abilityor personality.
  • Such misunderstandings can lead to interpersonal conflict that seriously damages the Board’s collaborativeability.
  • Board members who can’t, won’t or don’twork together rarely develop effective solutions.
slide29

High Adaptor Problem Orientation

  • Characterized by precision, reliability, conformity, methodical, prudence.
  • Seeks solutions to problems in tried and understood ways.
  • Reduces problems by improvement, efficiency, stability, and group cohesion.
  • Challenges rules rarely and cautiously.
  • Produces a few, manageable sound ideas for prompt implementation.
slide30

High Innovator Problem Orientation

  • Thinks tangentially (indirectly related), approaches tasks from unsuspected angles.
  • Questions problem’s basic assumptions.
  • Catalyst in settled groups, irreverent of consensual views; seen as abrasive.
  • Challenges rules, past practices, group comfort with established procedures.
  • Produces many ideas, some risky or unsound.
slide31

Adaptor Characteristics

  • Does Things Better
  • Seen As Disciplined
  • Accepts Problem Definition
  • Makes “Goals” of “Means of the Process”
  • (Math problem)
  • Precise, Reliable, Dependable
slide32

Innovator Characteristics

  • Does Things Differently
  • Seen As Undisciplined
  • Challenges Problem Definition
  • Questions or Disregards “Means”
  • Unique, Visionary, Ingenious
slide33

Contributions to Problem Solving

  • I’s collaboration gives:
    • Shifting and breaking with accepted theory
    • Dynamics to bring about radical change
    • New viewpoints to settled groups & tasks
    • Questioning assumptions and established practices
  • A’s collaboration gives:
    • Stability, order and continuity
    • Maintain group cohesion & cooperation
    • Add sensitivity to people
    • Provide safe base for riskier operations
slide34

Dealing with Opposites

High I’s see High A’s as:

  • Dogmatic
  • Compliant
  • Stuck in a “rut”
  • Timid
  • Conforming

High A’s see High I’s as:

  • Abrasive
  • Unsound
  • Impractical
  • Self-centered
  • Insensitive
  • Creating confusion
slide35

KAI – MAKING IT WORK

  • COPING BEHAVIOR:
    • Behavior outside one’s preferred style by the MINIMUM amount of effort for the LEAST amount of time
  • COGNITIVE GAP:
      • distance between your own style and the behavior needed in a particular situation;
      • distance between your own style and others’ style
  • A GAP of 10 points and you’ll notice a difference
  • A GAP of 20pointsrequires coping behavior
slide36

Coping Skills

COPING BEHAVIOR

  • This (‘with effort, I can’) is a learned technique available from acceptance and understanding; it occurs when behavior needs to be in a style not matching one’s preferred style.
  • Is available when insight or foresight indicates that it is needed. The driving force behind its execution is motive.
slide37

Coping Coping Skills Skills

Coping Skills

Coping Behavior

  • A behavior that is outside one’s preferred style.
  • It is measured by distance from preferred style and by how long is it has to be maintained.
  • Coping behavior is learned; it is a deliberate response to a particular problem-solving processthat is determined that it will not be solved unless coping is evoked.
  • Both Adaptors and Innovators must cope.
slide38

Coping Skills

  • Is this a fact?
    • Can it be changed? Do I have control over it? What thought results from this fact is in my mind?
  • Is this a thought?
    • If so, is it a helpful or unhelpful one to me? Can I change it?
  • Is this a feeling?
    • If so, what thought did it come from? Is this a pleasant or unpleasant feeling? Do I want to change it?
slide39

Coping Behavior

Good coping is active problem solving that has:

OPTIMISM or an expectation that positive change is possible

PRACTICALITY about the kinds of solutions that are feasible

FLEXIBILITY in approach to any problem

RESOURCEFULNESS in finding support or additional information that helps

With good coping, you do not feel helpless or hopeless.

slide40

Coping Behavior

  • Good leaders ask for minimum coping behavior most of the time.
  • Good leaders get offered maximum coping behavior in a crisis.
  • A good leader should know enough about his or her own people to create an environment in which they can work to their strengths.
slide41

Group A: KAI 74-93

DISADVANTAGES:

None

ADVANTAGES:

More efficient

Better Optimizer

More predictable

More credible

Better managers of resources and time and money

More supportive and accepting

More stable

Better at synthesis

Possible less frustrated in fulfillment of long term life goals

slide42

Group B: KAI 94-99

DISADVANTAGES:

Lack of imagination, innovation

Stagnation

Less long-term viability

Cannot function in unstructured situation

ADVANTAGES:

Structure

Stability

Predictability

Security

Continuity

Consistency

Dependability

Trust

Probability of Success

slide43

Group C: KAI 100-105

DISADVANTAGES:

None

ADVANTAGES:

Dependable

Integrated

Well-rounded

Versatile

Sensitive

Adaptive

Highly employable

Individualistic

slide44

Group D: KAI 106-116

DISADVANTAGES:

None

ADVANTAGES:

Positive thinkers

Versatile – see both points of view

Self satisfied

Laissez-faire

Set goals for adaptors and innovators

Calculated risk taker

slide45

Group E: KAI 117-125

DISADVANTAGES:

Does not fit it

Determine own agenda which may not be relevant to the organization’s agenda

Difficult to communicate with people at both ends

Extra energy required to fit

Only person in office with a messy desk with practical applications

Low tolerance of adaptors

ADVANTAGES:

Can adapt to both ends

Can manipulate an adaptive structure

Can be perceived as a tem member and slip in innovations

Can bridge between people at both ends

High probability of innovative ideas

slide46

Group F: KAI 126-137

DISADVANTAGES:

Hard to get positive recognition in big organizations

Hard to get along with people

Get stuff stolen by bosses

Will work day and night on problem

If “controller” above us, he makes life miserable

Too many of us do nothing

Not interested in small tasks

Stops once end is seen

Hates to translate thoughts into words

ADVANTAGES:

Easy to get noticed in big organizations

Easy to get along with people

Can amuse self

Will work day and night on a problem

Necessary for big changes

Starts many projects

Optimistic

Impatient

Life is not boring

slide47

Group G: KAI 138-146

DISADVANTAGES:

Too flexible

Too much variety

Bored too easily

Taking on too much

Contempt for bureaucracy

Impatient

Over critical

Emotional

Hasty

ADVANTAGES:

Fun and adventurous

Change

Openness

Sense of humor

Sarcasm-punsters

Laugh at themselves

Wrongness OK

High Energy

Love nature

Perseverance

Emotional

Intuitive

slide48

Scott Childress, Ed.D.

Scott@ChildressFarm.com

www.ChildressFarm.com

(254) 725-6866

3 Credit Hours (CEC) – Team Building