Monday, May 23, 2011


                                        (Part One)

At TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY we take what we do seriously, but we don't take ourselves very seriously. Never confuse the two. We operate on the simple principle of earned respect. Each and every person at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is accorded the deference and respect which they have earned through their own efforts and the demonstrable results of those efforts. A job is measured in hours, while a career is measured in results. Respect at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is far more important than popularity.

The sense of purpose at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is tangible and contagious. We are an intense, focused group of committed people. We want it all, and we want it bad. Because we are deadly serious and concerned about doing our best, almost everyone we come into contact with gets that message loud and clear. Not surprisingly, our attitude actually improves theirs, and we get more help, better service, and more support than money can buy. Mutual respect is a far more valuable currency than promises or dollars. We deal people in and make them a part of our energy and effort.

When we talk about our school and our responsibilities, we are interested in facts and results, not in quick fixes or excuses. If we make a mistake, we step up and take our medicine -- we don't waste anyone's time with excuses or in attempts to minimize the error. We take mistakes more personally than you could ever imagine -- they hurt each and every one here, and we hate to see anyone make any mistake at any time. Every error hurts and some of us never forget any mistakes. Mistakes are perpetual embarrassments to the kind of college we are building.

Sometimes it's easy to believe that people get ahead because they're good talkers, quick on their feet, attractive and articulate. Many of our people and students will have all of these important skills and qualities, but that's not why they will succeed. They will succeed because they work as hard as they can, and because they make it their business to know all the facts, figures and details of whatever they’re working on. They pay precise attention to the details and, not surprisingly, the big things tend to fall into place.

The casual give-and-take which is a part of our day-to-day work can make it seem that we put a premium on glibness or sometimes take things lightly. This is a very dangerous impression because it sometimes misleads newcomers. Quick comebacks, snappy retorts, and fast (but not necessarily correct) answers play a part in our internal corporate culture, but no part whatsoever in how we serve our various audiences – students, parents, investors, partners, directors, regulators, etc. The plain fact is -- we care more about providing a good education and about our school and the people we serve than any of our competitors do. We make commitments; we do what we said we'd do, and we do it when it's due -- no excuses offered or accepted.

At TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY we do try to make things look easy. Mostly we accomplish this by working twice as long and hard as anyone else. There are no shortcuts. We put out the maximum possible effort and attention to any job we undertake -- no matter how small, tedious or insignificant it may seem at the time. We don't expect to out-smart people -- we plan to out-work and out-fundamental them. We don't ever confuse our standards for doing a job with what someone else might accept. We never try to wing it. We start with the long, slow, hard way to do each task because that's the only way to be sure that it gets done right. We want to do the job right the first time. As we progress, we hope to get better, faster and more efficient, but never at the cost of the quality or the accuracy of our work.

TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is based on a simple proposition -- we know what we are talking about because we live it every day. We get the facts; we organize and analyze them until they squeak; and then we present them as clearly and concisely as we can in a complete and professional fashion. Looking for a solution without listening to the problem is like working in the dark. Anything we lack in technical training or experience, we make up for by expending the energy and effort to learn on the run. We are great listeners and quick studies -- we learn from every source and grow a little every day.

We are constantly improving the technology of keeping in touch. We learn to get better by listening carefully, constantly and thoroughly -- to our “student customers”, vendors and other partners, industry sources, employers and to those responsible for regulating our activities. Our technology is useful to us only as a mechanism to assist us in supporting our students and faculty; anticipating their needs; and responding to their requirements. It will never replace the need for consistent, caring and responsive interpersonal communications. If we lose touch with our users - we'll soon lose their confidence and support as well. The way we'll succeed is by being the best and most careful listeners around.

We have a strong sense of quality -- quality in our students and in our services; in the people we work beside; and in the tools and systems we develop in order to do our work. Economy at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY comes from high value, not from low cost. Quality is never an accident -- it's always the result of intelligent effort. Aesthetics are an integral part of the quality we instill in everything we undertake. Appearances and first impressions do count. We expect and intend to be a first class college in every way. We never settle -- if something is almost right, it's wrong.

The TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY approach is informal and non-bureaucratic. Verbal communication is key, not memos. "Come or call, don't write" is the internal watchword. However, in our dealings with third parties or on personnel or student matters where careful documentation is critical, everything we do must be written and as fully documented as possible. We do it the TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY way whether they want it or not, and we do it without being asked because, as often as not, we are creating information which they need whether they know it or not. The education of everyone we work with is as much and as important a part of our jobs as anything else we do. They need to know how we do business because it’s the way we expect them to perform as well. We are leaders in thought and actions.

People at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY are accessible at all levels. However, in respect to their own obligations and responsibilities, "drop-in" visits with our senior people for chats or heart-to-hearts are scheduled at the crack of dawn, after hours or on the weekends. If a conversation is worth having, the party seeking the time needs to demonstrate that it's important enough to extend him or herself in order to make it happen. Communication at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is so critical that no one is ever too busy to make the time. Both parties owe it to each other to be sure that they're prepared for the meeting and that they've done everything necessary in advance to make sure that the meeting can accomplish something. We are all interested in new ideas and new approaches or solutions to making our school better- but they need to show enough advance thought, analysis and effort to make it worth investing the time in the discussion.

We think that it's exciting and challenging to be a part of TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY. It's certainly intense, but there is as much laughter from time to time as there is serious discussion. We believe that in the long run people rarely succeed at anything unless they enjoy it. TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is a special place to be -- not just another job. More than anything else, the TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY organization is personable and approachable, but still dedicated to getting the job done. In many respects, because no one outside the school can really appreciate all of the joys and frustrations we face every day, we become our own best friends. We have no time for politics, finger pointing or buck passing -- we all have much too much to do. Remember that nothing is easier than fault-finding. No talent, no self-denial, no character and no brains are required to grumble. One last point -- friends at work are great to have, and we're all in this together, but our responsibilities to the school and our students always come first. At TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY, discipline trumps morale.

With the informality at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY comes a certain lack of structure. We share a commitment to letting people who have demonstrated their maturity and talent attack problems on their own within certain unstated, but quickly understood guidelines. To make matters even worse, even the clearest of the "rules" can change from time to time with or without notice. This can be a very confusing environment, but in a fast moving and rapidly changing organization, it's almost inevitable. If you're not confused and concerned, you're not growing. The most important idea here is to ask questions and to try to develop a sense of knowing what you don't know. At TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY, there are no penalties for asking questions. Everyone at TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY is a valuable source of information as long as someone takes the time to ask for their help.

Bigger isn’t ever the same as better. Sheer growth by any measure is not our principal goal and, most likely for the foreseeable future, it won’t be. Our goal is to remain a quality organization doing a careful and thorough job of which we can all be proud. If we can achieve the consistent quality in our work which is necessary to do the job right, our school and the demand for our services will automatically grow. Competition is avoided -- not by barriers to entry or contracts -- but by continuing to deliver on the promises we've made to all of our “customers”.

At TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY we have a highly developed sense of confidence -- we are succeeding in the face of considerable challenges and difficult circumstances, and we will continue through our work and efforts to be successful. But we always keep an eye out for the banana peel. We are responsive because, as an organization, we are constantly insecure -- there are no sure things in today’s competitive world and each and every time that we take anyone for granted, we can count on getting kicked in the face in the near future. But if we all try as hard as we can, we know that, in the end, we can make it work, because the strength of our resolve and our commitment simply will not be denied.

TRIBECA FLASHPOINT ACADEMY’s progress depends on the belief that things can always be better. We believe that "if it ain't been fixed, it's gonna break" and we prefer anticipation and action to waiting to see. There is simply nothing we do which can't be done better. If we don't do it, someone else will come along and do it. We never assume that, because we do things a certain way, they can't be changed for the better or that only big changes matter. Progressive improvement beats postponed perfection and every little bit helps. At the same time, you should never assume that anything we do is arbitrary. More than likely, there are one or more good reasons which it is important to understand before attempting to make changes. That is one of the reasons why we attempt to get so many people involved in the decision-making process. It makes a great deal of sense to observe things for a while and make sure you know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.

We are proud professionals. We try to treat our people as professionals, and we expect that they will act as professionals at all times. Pros are people who do a job well even when they don't feel like it. We trust each other to do our own jobs well and to pitch in unselfishly to help others as well. We try to take a straightforward, even simple, approach to our problems and to our college with a single goal in mind. Day-in and day-out, we want to do the best and most professional job that we can possibly do. No less. We are proud of this standard and not the least bit self-conscious or ashamed to be "old-fashioned" about the basics.

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