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World Class Program

We look ahead this month to the upcoming Link Crew and WEB Refreshers with a sneak peak at what we will be focusing this season.

A brief story to introduce the concept: I was speaking with an assistant principal recently whose school has Link Crew, but he is not trained. I asked him if he thought Link Crew made a difference. “What do you mean?” he replied, wondering aloud how Link Crew could possibly make a difference in his school. I explained that in many schools Link Crew and WEB are encouraging greater attendance, increasing student’s academic success and reducing discipline problems. In disbelief, he said that he couldn’t even imagine how Link Crew could accomplish those things given how it was working in his school.

What would your principal or assistant principal say about the effectiveness or your Link or WEB program? What difference would they say it has made?

Often in our lives we begin a new course of action because we implicitly know the benefits are worth it. We eat less sugar or maybe start walking with friends. We buy a planner or start going to Yoga. If asked about the benefits we would probably speak in generalities about our health, or better time management or weight loss. We would describe something that was generally thought to be good.

Many WEB and Link programs get started with the same sort of ambiguous goals. We want to “improve our culture” or “make kids feel welcome”. Because of who we are and how close we are to the program, we take for granted that these are worthy ends in and of themselves.

For decisions in our personal life, there is no authority that we have to answer to . . . except maybe those we trust who are closest to us. In general we can decide for ourselves if we are not getting the results we want from our new diet, exercise or time management plan. Think for a moment though if you were one of those amazing athletes vying for a spot on your countries Olympic team. Now the results that we achieve from our personal decision have a quantifiable result. Either we are getting better and closer to achieving our goals or we are not! It is at this level of world class excellence that we would have to learn to be accountable for each of the choices that we make. 

The same is true for your Link Crew and WEB programs. If we are content with mediocrity, then we never have to focus or measure anything. We don’t have to specifically take aim at a goal and hold ourselves accountable to reaching it.

However, if we are looking to become world class, then we strive for a higher standard.

Some of you may not even get to choose! You may have administrators for grant funders who are asking you to deliver world class results with your program.

In either case, you must begin to take careful aim at the targets you are trying to hit if you are to not only going hit them, but also prove that you have hit them.

This season, we are going to be asking people to take aim. Link Crew and WEB programs can be focused broadly in three areas: Academics, Culture and Prevention. Although you can ultimately build a program that succeeds in all three ways, we highly recommend taking aim at one of those three focus areas and really making a difference.

Just deciding to have the conversation is your first step toward building a world class program.

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