By John Gardner
Since one purpose of education is to prepare world learners for success in the business/corporate world, we should implement Corporate Common Core (CCC) Standards for Business.
Businesses cannot continue to compete in such a way as to assign and support inappropriate labels like “winners” and “losers” or “profit” and “loss”. We don’t condone competition in our Common Core classrooms, so why should it be acceptable in business?
Corporations should mainstream employees into adequately average work groups, de-emphasizing, promoting or rewarding achievers or gifted performers. Stop encouraging the win. Stakeholders should applaud improvement, not excellence (because not everyone will make it to that level) or bottom line.
All businesses should start no-employee-left-behind corporate common core standards.
Most businesses are guilty of talent discrimination, especially in hiring. Just as the system encourages teachers to modify tests to increase success and ensure evenly distributed test scores across economic and ethnic boundaries, businesses should hire from the mainstream (average) pool of applicants, or just hire all who want a job.
The corporate world should follow the lead of public education as it moves away from GT (Gifted & Talented) programs and recognizing Valedictorians — and focus on showing improvement for the poorest performers. Yes, all should improve, but the process includes no longer rewarding high achievement. Educators should not label students, i.e. advanced/gifted or remedial/slow.
Every employee, regardless of ability, must participate in every task, like they did in t-ball where the emphasis was on playing rather than winning.
Increase the number of steps for any task and force all to take every step. Follow the example of this Common Core 4th grade math problem that takes 108 steps to complete.
The first year using Corporate Common Core Standards, there will be no improvement expectations, but rather for all to focus on a particular skill, like getting to work on time. Each year they will add one skill – such as all working the full number of minutes paid for without taking extra breaks. In year two, employees will stay on task 80% of the time, representing the accepted standard for employees in the high and medium competency groups. Workers in the “low” performing group can strive for 60% instead of 80. For each sub-standard worker, the manager will write an individual plan. No one can move on until they ALL do.
Remember, Common Core is about helping EVERYBODY get better. The focus cannot be on those with above average proficiencies.
You cannot single people out for higher level work. If there is a specialty task, all employees will strive to achieve it.
It is about process, not product.
One of the problems facing businesses as they adjust to the CCC is that they tend to reward achievers, increasing their pay and giving them ‘special’ titles. Similarly to the way academics is removing labels like “special, gifted or valedictorian”, businesses must stop assigning titles like, supervisor, team leader, as those imply higher rank. To meet the CCC, every employee will perform each of those duties every day.
Focus on helping every person reach the core (minimum) competency. Make them each feel good and accomplished every day, because they did the best they could and their best is good enough if it is better than the last effort. Get over those out-dated ideas that some people or groups are better than others. In business, as in public schools, we need competency, not excellence. Compare individual performance to the common average. Compare the company average to that of their competitors. Just imagine what will happen when every business meets the same level success.
No more superior brands. All business will move toward the
mediocre core competency. Share ingredients and packaging with all competitors, so everybody can meet the common standard. Regulate production so no business can individually excel. Remove phrases like “the best” or “superior quality” from all marketing.
Some businesses have taken advantage of exceptional innovators, engineers, marketers and salespeople. That practice cannot continue. The state will decide the designs, ingredients, pricing and sales practice. Think of the money that will save. Surely each business will pay less for the state-mandated practices than it would for customized work by competing specialists. Only when all businesses are the same size, with the same expectations and performing at the same level — will we really be able to achieve that universal core competency.
No more unequal funding. Efficient operations that have worked harder to conduct profitable business will spread the wealth so that all competitors become equal.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Industry averages become the standards. Each worker will display working fundamentals at a moderate level, demonstrating an average understanding of business practices (production, marketing, sales). Average is the new normal, the new standard. No more focus on “winning” or “competing to beat” the competition. Those who begin to show higher levels of performance will have extra break time mandated to allow slower, less efficient operations to catch up.
After the first year expectations of 80% accuracy in rubric items like attendance and basic practices, raise the goal for the second year to 85%, unless there are still those unable to meet the 80% benchmark . Managers will write individual performance plans, outlining steps to help the sub-standard worker and will be held accountable for those failing to meet
minimums core competencies, but since it would not be fair to expect managers to do that on his/her own time, that planning will happen only while working “on the clock”.
Assessing core competencies. Instead of using bottom line growth or profit to determine success, the government will provide a 4-6 page form that the CEO or business owner will use to evaluate the company, and another form for the manager to assess each employee.
Managers must take part in professional development training to learn the necessary and unnecessary forms and formulas. While in PD training, workers must stop working because the Corporate Common Core assumes that unsupervised employees cannot function.
Managers will design a pre-season test to determine what employees know, but must get both the pre-test and the final assessment pre-approved. The approval process can involve multiple adjustments as determined by the professional development person within the building. Note: If that person doesn’t yet exist, Corporate Common Core mandates hiring from outside to train, administer and monitor the process.
Using a complex formula requiring training to understand, test data will classify (label) each employee as “highly effective”, “effective”, “needs improvement” or “not effective”. Use test data, not work product to rate managers, whose job is on the line if the test data fails to show individual improvement. Monitors will focus on the overall team averages. Reassign highly productive employees to tutor/mentor/train those operating at a lower level. One aspect of the Corporate Common Core is that “No Employee Left Behind” is given priority over the overall bottom line. Instead of dismissing poor performers, give them tasks that show they are improving. Improvement, not results, is key.
The good news is that with enough enthusiastic manager and CEO/Owner commitment to spending major work hours evaluating data and devising, discussing and implementing individual employee plans (IEP’s), there is reason for optimism that the end result will be average.
If your Corporate Common Core goal is to achieve and celebrate mediocrity (Corporate Standards) — don’t call me. Otherwise, if I can assist individuals (on site or remotely via Skype) your focused performers who want to improve their individual proficiencies past the minimum average, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.