Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We set out to form a team - and along the way changed some attitudes

Any workshop or class that teaches the writing of goals and objectives should stress the difference between knowledge, skills and attitudinal objectives.  It was taught to me as K|S|A objectives.  To break it down using library speak, (i.e. Dewey Decimal), knowledge is teaching someone WHAT Dewey Decimal is.

 So, a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time lined - or however you define it) knowledge objective could be:
  • At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to define the Dewey Decimal System and three benefits achieved by using it.
That's pretty easy to accomplish.  You give a workshop, and spell out the benefits, and hope that everyone catches and retains at least three of them.

A "skills" objective can then be written about the same thing.
  • At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to successfully place ten items in their proper Dewey order on the shelves.
Skills objectives are the easiest to measure.  Either the people can achieve them, or they cannot.

Attitudinal objectives are a whole other matter.  You can teach all the knowledge and skills you want, but unless the participant WANTS to use that knowledge, and those skills there is not much you can do about it.
  • At the end of this workshop, participants will demonstrate and embrace the value of the Dewey Decimal system by consistently and accurately shelving all items on a daily basis
When people have sufficient knowledge and skills to perform a function, the hope is that a positive attitude will come along with it.  Attitude is also about motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic).

This was the place we found ourselves in a little over a year ago with the beginning of the Cluster model.  I had a number of carefully thought out objectives about working together, sharing skills and creative outreach.  Most important of all was the idea that we would become one team melded from six individual units.  But, unless there was "buy-in", or a change in attitude, we would go nowhere.

Having long ago learned about the pitfalls of "attitudinal" objectives, I did not include any in my initial plans.  Mostly I concentrated on team building, and hoped that everything else would grow from that.  And, it has!  Monthly, all-staff cluster meetings have gone from arms-crossed-suspicion-in-the-eyes quietness to raucous, out-spoken and ideas freely flowing.   Familiarity with other staff and the buildings they work in has created a  more cooperative atmosphere and a we-can attitude much more often than one of we-can't.  It's not 100%.  We are not perfect.  However, there is a noticeable difference.

For more information about K|S|A and Blooms Taxonomy:

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