Chairman of the Board, Summa College
How the collaboration with How Company started
Summa College introduced the “Roadmap to Excellence” in 2011. This required every one of the many professional courses they offered to start from the same level of competence-focused education. The core process was key, and this consisted of three parts: learning, supporting and teaching. The idea was that this process should be driven by the teaching teams. Teamwork was suddenly a hot topic in an organization where teachers had previously worked like islands, each with their own classrooms and material. These days there are now teaching teams of 10-20 teachers, with each team responsible for 200 students. The culture had to change at Summa to make this happen. Teamwork, a strong individual sense of responsibility and open communication were going to be needed. “We wanted to create a safe environment in which teachers would give each other feedback when necessary. We also wanted people to talk more about what was going well, and what we as an organization could learn from that, to be able to improve the teaching we were offering our students.” Says Antoine.
- Personal leadership
- Custom made programs
- Organizational change
- Team development
The key to success is investing in people. Fifty percent of a student’s success is determined by the quality of the teacher. Good teamwork and communication are essential for a teacher to get the support he needs.
The board of Summa College was clear that the training approach should be consistent across all their schools to ensure a common language in the organization. The three-day Personal Leadership program was offered on a voluntary basis to every single member of staff across the 22 schools. When the first batch came back enthusiastic about the training, the others started getting curious. This created a snowball effect, which lead to a steep increase in the numbers registering for the program. After the Personal Leadership, all the managers took the Practical Leadership program in which they got practical tools to support people in the team to excel and get the best out of themselves. Meanwhile, How Company’s business partner Perficio Adviseurs advised the organization on how to set clear tasks and goals using specific management tools and processes. The organization refreshed its mission, vision and core values together with How Company and Perficio. The whole organization was involved in this process and every member of staff was able to contribute to the end product.
Antoine: “We do an annual survey into employee and student satisfaction. In 2015 our employee satisfaction score was higher than the national average, and our student satisfaction rate has risen significantly.” The fact that the culture shift took longer than expected has a lot to do with the education sector, he explains. “In Summa College we were used to being nice and polite to each other. Even when people were functioning badly, colleagues would rarely challenge them or give them feedback. It is important to make agreements in order to set your course. This clarity has made people feel safer because they now know what’s expected of them.” Teachers are showing more initiative he adds. “Various partnerships have been set up with companies and organizations in the area. We are more connected with our community, and the students benefit.”
About Summa College
Summa College consists of 22 schools of professional education in the Eindhoven area. These sector-specific schools provide over 250 professional courses in different areas and at different levels.