High-performing school leaders set goals, focus on high leverage work, engage the team, monitor progress, and assess performance. This is the story of a school moving forward.
However, it’s much easier said than done.
“Ideas are easy, execution is everything.”John Doerr, Measure What Matters
Recently, leaders asked me about goal-setting in my school community.
Over the years, we developed a system of how the vision became reality in our organization. It is a large toolbox. Also, it’s important to note that they were not implemented all at once or in this order.
By my final two years as a school leader, I used this entire system to both deliver on culture and hit my targets:
School Manifesto – School’s Soul Story (10-year)
Everyone wants to be part of something special! Students want to be part of something special. And our schools are that place, an exceptional space filled with learning, life, and laughter. Helping your students, parents, and team understand our community’s brilliance and let your Manifesto transform your school’s culture.
Vivid Vision – My Leadership Vision (3-year)
Cameron Herald writes a book on this topic and he says, “By focusing on mapping out how you see your company looking and feeling in every category of business, without getting bogged down by data and numbers, Vivid Vision creates a holistic road map to success that will get all of your teammates passionate about the big picture.”
Annual School Theme – Community-Wide Inspiration
Immediately give shape to your year, light up your teaching faculty, and offer a touchpoint to your stories with an annual theme. A theme inspires, focuses, unites, and invites. It is often a picture, a metaphor, a vibrant embodiment of the work you’ll do.
Annual Objectives and Key Results or OKRs (Measure What Matters, by John Doerr)
This is a dynamic yearly strategic planning process for your team. I encourage you to document your process well and make those documents transparent to everyone. Here is our 2019 version of Brainstorming with the Team. As you can see, it is unfinished in places and we embraced the messy process. We used this document to then flesh out our OKRs for the year. The process always led us somewhere new.
“We must realize that if we focus on everything, we focus on nothing.”John Doerr
Individual Goal-Setting and Tracking
In many ways, this is the most difficult part. How do we transform our organizational objectives into individual goals for which each person is responsible? Ultimately, I must deliver on my own objectives to support the organization’s aims? How does each member of my team also do that work?
- One Page Personal Plans – Leaders’ Professional Goal-Setting Template
This is where everyone’s individual goals get documented and tracked within the organization. Each quarter, you develop these goals. Additionally, it works great if you have daily visibility to them (i.e. your Full Focus Planner). Then, your report on them using a One Page Personal Plan at 6 weeks and 12 weeks.
Throughout our goal-setting journey, as a school, we tried different tools before we landed on this one. At the mid-term check-in, we used the stoplight colors (red-yellow-green) to share our progress with our leadership colleagues. For example, here is a report from one of our Leadership Collaboration Meetings (every 6 weeks).
Also, essential to the process is the tone of mutual accountability and support, rather than hierarchical evaluation. It is a tool, not a weapon.
Choose the tool you need in your community today.
Does this all sound complicated or overwhelming? Assuredly, as a leader, I did not do this alone. Throughout, I had tons of support both from my BLBS Mastermind and my individual coach.
So, reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’m happy to help.
Leadership is about doing great things! Undoubtedly, our students deserve it!
PS This blog post is all about unfolding the soul of your school. You can find more Learn Forward™ posts on this topic that start from the beginning, a manifesto: