Breathing A.I.R.

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of working with the The Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association (CEI-PEA), which is a New York City-based nonprofit organization that creates successful public schools and educational programs. These individuals are doing tremendous things to improve the quality of education for the 1.6 million children in the New York City public school system. Sy Fliegel, esteemed educator and author of Miracle of East Harlem, is the founder of the organization. He kicked off our strategic planning session by offering insights and wisdom accumulated through his years of experience.

He discussed that as leaders, we own the overall success of the entities and organizations we lead. Often we have individuals – whether these are parents of students, clients and customers of our organizations or our actual employees – come to us with complaints, concerns or just input they wish to share. Sometimes these ‘inputs’ are met with less than an enthusiastic reception!

Sy encouraged the group to welcome these inputs and embrace the philosophy of A.I.R.

A = Acknowledge the input!
Thank the individual for calling the issue to your attention. This immediately will ingratiate the individual to you and your efforts, and they will feel ‘heard’ and validated through this acknowledgment.

I = Investigate.
Do your due diligence on the area of concern. We can learn so much through input from others if we will take the time to follow-through and look into the matter.

R = Respond.
Once we have completed our investigation the real pay-off comes when we respond to the person issuing the complaint or concern. Again, they will feel heard and they will become a part of the team working to resolve whatever issue has been raised.

Simple, yet wise advice! Breathing A.I.R. is relevant for each and every one of us leading teams – regardless of the industry. Thank you, Sy, for giving us a simple acronym to integrated into our daily practice.