This past week has been a very special week for my youngest son, Ethan. Each week his 3rd grade teacher designates a "student of the week". Each of her students get one week especially devoted to the whole class learning more about that particular student.
It is a really great experience for the children who get to shine in the spotlight of their peers for one week and truly be honored for who they are as a person. I have been truly impressed with how this special week has been executed for my son and really thrilled at the impact it has had on him as a person.
During this week the "student of the week" prepares and presents a poster depicting a brief biography of their lives. This poster displays their family members, pets, and some of their favorite things in life. Another great part of the week is when the teacher reads a letter written about the student by their parents. Ethan absolutely loved this aspect of the week and declared he was keeping the letter we wrote forever.
There is also a day for parents to come eat lunch with their child as part of the celebration and to get to partake in this week-long celebration of their child. The child is giving a wristband designating his special week.
These are just a few of the events his teacher plans and executes each week for one special child. By the end of the year all the children have been celebrated as the "student of the week" and the entire class gets a greater appreciation of that child's uniqueness as a person.
Reflecting on this very special activity in Ethan's school prompted me to think how it might apply to our organizations as adults. The intentional nature of this teacher's celebration of each student is a great example for us to follow in our own businesses. She facilitates the process for the entire class to get to know one another in a very positive manner. This is often a neglected and overlooked activity in the corporate world. Many executives even look down on such attempts to build more cohesive teams.
Here are a few ideas I gleaned from this week:
- Celebrate each team member's strengths, passions and interest.
- Get to know and understand each other better.
- Affirm one another's great points
- Be intentional about creating a healthy culture.
- Understanding one another will help build stronger and more effective teams.
- Affirm and build up your people. This is powerful!
- This process builds stronger individuals and stronger individuals result in stronger teams.
- This process breaks down barriers and stereotypes that are often found in most organizations.
- This process helps eliminate silos in your organization.
- This process will improve communication throughout your organization.
Patrick Lencioni wrote a great book that details the process for executing a similar process for organizations that could benefit from a dose of this 3rd classroom's positive culture of getting to know one another on a deeper level. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable Lencioni does a great job of laying out some practical ways you could lead your organization down a similar path.
What ideas come to mind for you as your reflect on this 3rd grade class?