We did it! We completed an Innovation Plan for a school in less than 48 hours! And you thought Jack Bauer was good...
This school design project began Monday morning and concluded Tuesday afternoon. Though exhausted from such an intense experience, the feedback we received from our three school leaders included:
"We've always talked about, 'We want to be a great school' but never really discussed, "how." Now we have a plan!”
“Before we waste resources, with this cycle of innovation we can try, learn, find what works and doesn’t, and move on. This has given me a way to wrap my head around these ideas and find a way to move on it."
“Cant wait to get back to the office, print this out, and figure out how to use all of this for our entire organization!”
Have you ever heard this kind of enthusiasm after a strategic planning session at your school? This unique opportunity for leaders to design the school of their dreams will be offered on a limited basis in 2014. Strategic planning is often not clearly understood, and can feel overwhelming to the administration and board. Transitioning school strategy to a simple, repeatable habit of innovation planning that builds culture and momentum is powerful design!
In Good to Great for the Social Sector, Jim Collins notes that money is a resource for building toward greatness as well as an output for measuring success. With non-profit organizations, however, achievement of the mission is the key output rather than money.
The second day of the 48-hour Innovation Plan focused on this question: What is THE factor that most accurately measures whether you are increasing your capacity to achieve the mission of the school? Understanding "why" the existence of this school is so valuable and knowing "what" should be accomplished to advance toward that purpose, the next step in the Innovation Plan process is identifying and clarifying the Mission Factor.
After brainstorming and considering several different options, this school team concluded that Talent Quotient (TQ) was the most critical measure for advancing the mission. For their purposes, TQ was defined as the ratio of employees who are highly rated, according to their performance rubric, compared to those who are not. Their ultimate goal is to get to an 80:20 ratio, meaning 80% of the faculty and staff are top performers.
1st Quarter Projects
Having established TQ as the school's key performance indicator, we then guided them through an evaluation of the potential projects they might pursue to improve their score. The following categories were used to identify potential options:
Bylaws and other corporate documents, Board Policies and Practices, Trustee Selection, Support, Review, Accountability, and Renewal, Head of School Support, Review, Accountability, and Renewal, Clear understanding of the ideal future and the path to get there, Viability (Sustainable, scalable, long-term success), Visibility (Platform, Presence, Branding, and Promotion), Communications
Enrollment, Development, Finance, Facilities, Security, Marketing, Information Technology, Human Resources, Communications
Organization Structure, Communication, Management, Professional Development, Discipline, and Faculty Culture
Curriculum, Technology, Schedule, Student Culture, Parent, Culture, Communications, Instructional Strategies, Assessment, and Faculty Quality
From the options identified, they chose three incremental projects that have potential to create a solid return on investment in the first 90 days of 2014, along with one major project that has great possibility to advance the school's TQ. I'm confident that if they follow through on accomplishing these four initiatives, they will significantly improve the quality of their program. We will continue coaching them over the next three months to provide support and accountability. They will use the strategy canvas and slide deck that we created together to communicate these plans to their school community.