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ESL Management Tools

October 25, 2005

Many English language schools are relatively small businesses, often started by academics rather than entrepreneurs.

Hello again,

As new ESL schools grow, they can run into the problems that beset all organizations but lack of management training by owners and directors can leave them floundering. Many techniques and tools exist for helping organizations to develop as efficient teams with clear goals and strategies for successful growth.

The Balanced Scorecard, developed by Kaplan and Norton in the nineties, is one such tool and offers a simple way of answering questions such as "what does my organization need to do to succeed?" and "how can we get every employee working in the same direction?" It is often difficult to improve overall organizational performance because the collective goals are unclear. Employees are often only aware of the aims of their own "team island", and regard other teams as having a different job. Thus your admin department may have little understanding of, or concern for, the teaching team’s issues and the teachers may regard admin as less important than classroom activity.

Marketers may be tempted to sell what they think students want rather what is really on offer. Individuals are often motivated to do their own job well, but don’t understand where the organization is heading or how the various teams should work together for the overall good of the company. Customers may, therefore, be satisfied with some aspects of your service but feel conscious of the gaps in quality that arise through lack of coordinated effort.

The Balanced Scorecard approach is to view the organization from four different perspectives: learning and growth; the business process; the customer; and finance. It builds on earlier management ideas such as Total Quality Management (TQM), including customer-defined quality, continuous improvement, employee empowerment, and measurement-based management and feedback. By analyzing the data from each of the four perspectives, organizations have clearer overview of how its separate parts are working and how they need to interrelate.
Schools can access inexpensive software with free trial periods by searching the Internet or going direct to providers such as: http://www.axsellit.com/balancescorecard.html/.

'Til next time,


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