One of the schools in this week's Lab is only three years young. Located in a rural southern town, the school began with the vision of a few that became a shared goal involving many others. By contrast, another school participating started over thirty years ago and has endured periods of rapid growth as well as decline. All of these schools want a better future--one that is sustainable and enables their noble mission.
Value Proposition was where we had some deeply engaged conversation. In light of the target market for each school that was identified in detail, the participants evaluated the components of their program that are most highly appreciated by the parents and students. They noted the conflict that sometimes arises between what the schools wants to "sell" and what the ideal families eagerly want to "buy." Administrators may want to promote the excellent academics, features of the curriculum, and overall experience, but parents are most often interested in the qualities of the faculty (including teachers, staff, coaches, etc.) and the peer influences.
The Ecosystem of the school was another area that produced some meaningful dialogue. We considered the wide array of people and organizations who do or could add value to the school, and how to tap into the energy and influence of the key leaders. A variety of tools can be used to cultivate genuine engagement and create mutually beneficial relationships. We discussed some powerful yet inexpensive ways to gain mindshare that would have a significant impact on enrollment and fundraising goals.
Having now completed the Strategy Canvas, the Lab continues today with a focus on creating a 90-day plan to build momentum through success along with creating a compelling narrative that can be used to engage families, donors, community leaders, and other key partners. It truly is a joy to see the enthusiasm among these leaders as they become energized through the process of school design.