“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
– Pablo Picasso
Known for innovation and radical rule-breaking, Picasso’s methodology was utterly conventional: strictly disciplined planning.
As a school leader, now is the time to plan for next year’s success.
Inspired by Picasso’s methodology, this 4 step strategy will ensure your school or district gets it done.
Step 1: Establish Your Goal
That’s right: your goal. Setting “goals” – plural – is easy. Setting ONE goal is hard. Excruciatingly hard. But if you want your school to go from good to great, your team needs to set their sights on a single destination. Be specific and concrete – vague goals are momentum-killers.
Set your goal – singular – and make sure everyone knows what it is.
Step 2: Build Goal Consensus
A friend of mine who works as a corporate strategy consultant once told me about the best company she never worked with. She cold-called the receptionist and asked her “what’s the mission of [Company]?” The receptionist answered immediately. Then she asked “how do you make that happen?” Again, the receptionist answered immediately. My colleague thanked her and hung up.
She crossed the company off her wish list. She told me that if the receptionist was that clear about the company’s mission and strategy, the company did not need her help.
Schools are very different from companies in almost every way. But humans are humans. As Picasso said, we need to “fervently believe” in the vision of the organization. No matter your goal, everyone in the system should know it and how their work contributes to it.
Step 3: Choose Your Vehicle
This is where most of us fall down. We set our goal and get to work. Doing something is so much more satisfying than talking about doing something!
But teams that can’t agree on a single vehicle end up colliding. That’s why your team needs to know exactly how they’re going to achieve the goal.
Say you want to achieve a 10% increase in 8th grade EOC reading scores. Do you need to up your use of an intervention program or change intervention programs? Integrate more independent reading into other courses or shift the schedule to increase the length of the Language Arts class?
This is an excellent time to turn to your data (we can help with that). Because you’ll only reach your goal when your team agrees on the best vehicle to get you there.
Step 4: Act Vigorously… with Metrics
Have you ever started on a journey only to rapidly fall off track and see your goal become a cruel joke? No need to answer: for 99% of us, the answer is “Yes.”
Staying on track requires clear metrics. And those metrics must be set before you start your work. You’re far more likely to see success – and avoid the blame-game – when you start your work with an agreement on when and how to measure your progress.
Then you’re ready to act, before the first day of school even begins.