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Readiness AND Effort Make for Success

I’ve been writing about how effort and perseverance without capacity and readiness simply aren’t Enterprise bridge.003enough. (Check out my past posts on grit and effort.) They’re all interdependent. Ignore either side and you simply won’t get where you want to go. In fact, they make up a polarity, an energy system where both “poles” hold part of the truth, yet are incomplete without the other.

I once watched with horror as teachers were pressured into ignoring readiness and only focus on effort. Someone in a position of power dictated, “I don’t care how far behind your students are in understanding fractions. You will not remediate. You will accelerate, diving in just where the curriculum for their grade level says they should begin. They’ll be empowered by your confidence in their ability to catch up with their peers. They’ll learn the fundamental concepts as they master the more complex tasks. Any teacher who remediates will face consequences.”

So…in an environment where at least a third of the students labeled “?” in this diagram as 1/3, their first Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 8.43.39 AMlesson involved adding fractions with unlike denominators. At the completion of the unit, in spite of help sessions and extra practice and online tutorials and peer tutoring and you name it, a third of the students convincingly failed the unit test on fractions. They weren’t ready to learn what they were being taught.

Whether you’re leading adults or students, figure out the questions you need to ask that will answer, “Are they ready? And, are they showing good-faith effort?” Companies and schools alike might consider,

  • Is everyone’s understanding of the goals the same as yours?
  • Is the environment you’re creating supportive enough of everyone’s social, psychological, and physical (diet, exercise, rest) as it might be?
  • Do they have the resources, including knowledge, to succeed?
  • Have you been strategic in what they are being asked to do or are you asking them to do more than is wise in the time available with the resources you have?

The answers to these questions may trigger some big changes. But ensuring that goals align with reality is one of the best ways to serve those who are counting on you.

Jane Kise

Jane Kise is a consultant and executive coach. The founder of Differentiated Coaching Associates and author of over 20 books, she works with schools and businesses worldwide to help create environments where everyone can flourish.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. If those in positions of power proceed as if “readiness” is not an essential component for success, students and their teachers or employees commonly experience shame and may wrongly believe that their failure to learn is the result of being fundamentally inadequate, that they are somehow defective as people. What a tragic result! Assessment of readiness, coupled with building the foundation for future learning, is the right path forward.

    1. Thanks, Richard. One of my friends commented that she could hear teachers helping students think through, “Is your head ready? Your heart? Your hands?” What does it take for each of us to truly be ready? For adults, it might be realizing what they’re already thinking won’t be useful!

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