• Performing well in a consistent manner over a long period of time

  • Yielding dependable and predictable outcomes again and again

  • Contributing to the team on a consistent and trusted basis

This week’s Funds For Learning GuideMark is reliability. To illustrate the significance of reliability in our work, Candy Miller led a group of us in a team exercise. People paired up and were asked to bounce a wadded up piece of paper back and forth between them, while walking across the room to deposit it in a trashcan. To make things more interesting, the teams had a time constraint and were competing against one another.

The exercise was a lot of fun and it illustrated many important aspects of reliability.

Reliability counts, now. Whether or not I was reliable yesterday does not matter today. In Candy’s exercise, the paper bounced back and forth many times. A team might get three-fourths of the way to their goal but then drop the ball and have to start over. It did not matter if they had successfully bounced the paper back and forth a dozen times before they dropped it. They still dropped it. It is good if we were reliable yesterday. That is part of what got us to today; however, we can never lose sight of the fact that reliability is a function of today, now, in the moment.

Hand-offs are tricky. Sharing work as a team can help us deliver higher quality work -- and more of it. But it takes practice to share work and bounce responsibilities off of one another. We have to take into account our teammates’ skills, style and speed.

Teams practice as teams. Candy’s paper tossing exercise was a team event. We could not practice it alone. We had to come together to practice. The same is true for all of the team work that we do. We may have individual skills that we can hone and develop on our own; but our work as a team can only be practiced as a team. It is vital that we get together and practice being a team. That is the only way a team can perform more like a team

Reliable outcomes are almost always the result of successful teamwork. To provide consistently good service we should strive for dependable team performance. We each have to perform to the best of our abilities each day; we have to be aware of the hand-offs to our team mates; and we have to practice teamwork as a team.

Key Words and Phrases

Dependability; Consistently able to be trusted; Constant; Yielding the same results repeatedly; Responsible; Solid and sure; Predictable; Stable and steadfast.

Opposite Terms

Undependable; Faltering; Irresponsible; Can’t be counted on.


GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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