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We know that organizations are filled with hard-working, focused, well-intentioned people doing work—that just isn’t always the right work. Our research shows that 50% of all work is Fake Work.


The following is a small sample of additional findings:

  • 73% of workers say their organizations’ strategies and goals are not translated into specific work tasks they can execute.

  • 70% of workers do not know what to do to support their organization's strategies and goals.

  • 81% of workers do not feel a strong level of commitment to their organizations’ strategies and goals.

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The goals for the Book are simple

Provide a comprehensive process for educational leaders to drive success down to students. 

Provide guidelines, exercises, and tools to help you apply the concepts immediately and put them to work. 

Provide support, rationale and validation for doing the work. 


Although educators are working harder than ever before, it’s often doing paperwork, or projects that take time away from student learning and school and district goals. This “Fake Work” can mire the most dedicated educator in exhaustion, burnout, and a lack of confidence that improvement is possible.

Nielson and Burks show leaders and their teams how to stop doing Fake Work, by providing tools for gaining focus, building high- performance teams, and identifying and driving the right work with the right behaviors. When you offer your team a better way of working, planning, and collaborating, you turn Fake Work into Real Work—and stagnancy into dynamic change. This data-driven, research-based guide shows you:


  • A simple, four-part model—culture, strategy, alignment, execution—for shedding Fake Work

  • Road maps for aligning organizational strategies and actions

  • Tools for gaining focus, building teams, and cultivating

       productive behaviors

  • Real educators’ stories

  • Exercises, reflection questions, charts, checklists, and more


School change remains elusive when the path to success is murky. Clear the way for teachers and students by turning Fake Work into Real Work—and uncertainty into true success.

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