Few board members have bad intentions at heart, but all of the dysfunction in education can be traced back to good intentions gone awry.
They really meant well, but they underestimated the complex ecosystem of relationships that comprise a school and the unintended consequences that resulted from their decisions.
The words "Strategic Plan" often strike fear in the heart of a head of school, principal, or superintendent because they've suffered through the nightmare of a planning approach that miserably fails to recognize and strengthen the complex relationships that comprise a school.
Some management consultants think that a long weekend visit is all that's required to learn about your school and print a plan, but your work is more valuable than that. Your people deserve better!
Random selection is effective for statistical research and it's very INeffective for school board leadership. Great boards are produced from a disciplined process of selection, onboarding, training, accountability, and evaluation. Your faculty and students are far too valuable to gamble on the board.
Tags: School Board
We grow schools and the people who have the courage to lead them. That mission requires a travel schedule that is sometimes rough on the body but it’s worth it because of the privilege we have to guide administrators, board leaders, and faculty to a joyful path forward.
What if your strategic plan has actually caused more harm than good?
Perhaps the board and administration got together for a few days or even spent some months hammering out a long-term plan.
But is it really making a difference? Did the process used to create the plan strengthen relationships, build leadership capacity, and improve the culture?
At a recent Leader Retreat for a school board, one of the longest-serving board members raised a major issue. He was grey-headed and, based on the body language and deference of the others in the room, he was highly respected for his experience and wisdom.
One of the worst experiences I had as a school administrator was enduring the agony of a strategic planning process led by business consultants who didn't understand the complexities of schools--especially the relationships involved.
In the end they did more damage than good, leaving me with the challenge of restoring trust and trying to maximize the benefits that could be gained anyway.
One Saturday we facilitated a Leadership Retreat for their school board. We assessed organizational health and included a brief introduction on how to properly Sequence messages in order to build trust and engagement.
All went as planned--and then it didn't.