Dr. Stuart Payne is Principal of Northwood Elementary School, a National Blue-Ribbon School and California Distinguished School in Irvine, California. I am also quite proud to call Stuart Payne my brother-in-law.
I was already impressed with the work of Stu – I mean Dr. Stuart Payne – and his staff, and yet was even more so after reading his Principal’s Message in the latest issue of Northwood Elementary’s impressive parents newsletter, which summarized the goals he and his teaching staff set for 2011:
At the beginning of this year, our dedicated staff set…three goals for ourselves: (1) Rigor, (2) Differentiation, and (3) Progress Monitoring.
These succinct goals no doubt rang true for Northwood Elementary parents. In fact, they rang quite true for me in my world of product marketing. Let’s look at each one more closely:
Rigor. Stuart Payne writes: “Through rigor, we endeavor to make sure that every child is challenged in a developmentally appropriate manner.” This vital educational goal can be easily adapted to product marketing/product management terms: We must challenge ourselves to really understand our products and our markets, and convey our value in a compelling manner that our target markets will understand and be motivated to learn more. I am reminded of a blog post by Dave Kellogg (MarkLogic CEO for six years) on applying (rigorous) critical thinking for effective product positioning (I elaborate on Dave Kellogg’s fine post here, BTW).
One sidenote: Stuart Payne also wrote: “(R)esearch indicates…that when the work is too difficult, (students) become frustrated.” This reminded me of a classic blog post by Kathy Sierra: Do your customers feel a similar sense of frustration trying to understand and/or use our products? Why? How can this be corrected (and fast)?