Five Critical Questions in Work

In effective schools, learners and staff members take responsibility for their performance and what they achieve in their roles. It is important to be as clear as possible about exactly what the outcomes to be achieved in every role and level of work are and how the results they are expected to achieve in their roles will be assessed.

A simple review consisting of five basic questions is outlined to assist in this process. These questions are essential for a person to have meaning in their work, to understand why the job is necessary and how what they do adds value. The questions examine what the work means in the contexts in which it is done, and what the value is that a person is expected to add to their school. 

The questions ask a person to examine whether they have the skills, knowledge, will and opportunity to do the work they have been tasked with, and whether they can do their job consistently well. They must be able to create a pathway from the reason the job needs to be done at all to what must be done to deliver the outcome that they wish to achieve, and what the criteria for self-management responsibilities look like.

1. WHY – Is my purpose and direction clear? Is the purpose of my work and the direction I must take to get it done well clear?

2. WHAT – Do I know what I must do to make progress towards the achievement of my objectives and the key results I am committed to delivering? 

3. HOW – Do I know how to create a pathway from where I am to where I want (or need) to be and follow it? 

4. HOW – How is my progress tracked and how will my achievements be measured?

5. WHAT – What are the consequences of meeting, exceeding or failing to meet the standard that is applied to measuring my progress and achievements, and who must I account to for my performance?  

Further information about how the Five Critical Questions are applied within the Indigo Schools Framework can be found in the Primer on our Resources Page, or please email if you’d like to learn how the Questions can be successfully deployed within your school.

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