5 Steps to Improve Your School District with Strategy
It’s that time of the year again. The school bells begin to ring, students depart for summer break, and administration continues on to their favorite time of the year: PLANNING SEASON. With impending break and warmer weather, the last thing superintendents, principals, and other administration want to do is sit through seemingly endless meetings and incomprehensible spreadsheets in an attempt to create a new strategic plan. Nothing impacts a school district quite as much as its ability to both create AND implement a successful strategic plan. While its importance is known, it, unfortunately, becomes an afterthought and a chore undertaken with resistance far too often.
So it is my hope that I can provide a few basic tips to ensure your school district both creates and implements strategy effectively.
1. Ensure everyone is on the same page
Far too often school district strategies involve individuals with different ideas for not only what the plan should include, but also HOW it should be developed. While the open discussion is healthy to create a successful plan, disagreements around basic elements can often wreck a plan before it ever takes off. It is critical to standardize the process of HOW the plan will be created and communicate this process if you want to make your time as productive as possible and focus on the content of your strategy.
2. Think of strategic planning as a review process, not a development process
Strategic plans should be living documents. Unfortunately for most organizations, they are often treated as untouchable items that remain static over the course of one, three, or even five years. While AchieveIt allows school districts to remain agile during their plan execution, it is important to keep this same frame of mind when creating a new plan. Take a look at the recent past, document the way things work today, and previous successes. From there, make revisions on how to take these elements to the next level instead of attempting to boil the entire ocean every planning season. We’ve seen tremendous success when organizations and districts focus on incremental changes that are more achievable instead of starting anew with each plan.
3. Engage the community early
Ultimately, the success of a school district directly impacts the surrounding community. For this reason, doesn’t it seem important to gauge insights and recommendations from the surrounding community? While it is impossible to include the hopes and wishes of every parent, student, and staff member, engaging the community will make planning a more collaborative process and give more individuals a stake in successfully executing the strategy. Conduct surveys, take feedback from PTA and/or staff meetings, and understand what gaps are currently present. You’d be surprised with the ideas that arise that previously would have never been considered.
4. Be a collaborative leader
While you (or your team) may be the one(s) responsible for creating the plan, it can’t be fully devised and implemented alone. We already mentioned the importance of engaging the community early in the process, but it shouldn’t stop there. Use the resources around you to cascade responsibilities and hold individuals accountable for their responsibilities. Having proper alignment and accountability across your plan allows you to be a more collaborative leader instead of a dictator. This also gives individuals a personal stake in the plan, driving a higher success rate.
5. Turn your focus to execution
Why spend so much time creating a plan if you don’t plan to implement it? While this sounds obvious, I have seen district after district creates great plans and then simply let them collect dust on the shelf. Your plan should be a living document with regular updates, discussions, and revisions. Ask yourself if you have the tools in place to ensure you properly track, monitor, and report on the progress of your district’s strategy.
Many districts, whether they have an execution process in place or not, turn to AchieveIt to ensure the execution phase of the strategy is painless.
How AchieveIt Can Help
AchieveIt’s Execution Insight Platform solves common implementation challenges by fostering accountability, driving alignment, providing visibility, and facilitating collaboration. If your school district is planning major strategic change initiatives for the 2017-2018 academic year, sign up for a demo today.
AchieveIt is the platform that large organizations use to get their biggest, most important initiatives out of the boardroom and into reality. Too many great ideas never quite make it across the finish line, because there’s no real way to keep everyone on course and keep everything on track. What does it take to actually guide these initiatives all the way through to completion? You’ve got to:
- Get everything in view – so you can see what’s happening with every initiative, at every level, from the enterprise to the individual, in real time.
- Get everyone engaged – with an easy-to-use platform that connects your organization from the executive leadership to the project teams, keeping everyone accountable and on the same page.
- Get every possible advantage – not only because you have the premier platform in this space, but because you can draw on the experience and best practices of our execution experts.