Yogesh Dalvi is Post Graduate Diploma holder in Business Administration from a leading university in India, with over 16 years of experience in handling Nationwide Business Operations while employed in the capacity of Operations Head in leading educational institutes in India and the Middle le East. He has been successful in achieving the operational goals, in K12 the sector, for 12 consecutive years and helped the schools grow in leaps and bounds across the nation.
Parents entrust you as school administrators to care for their most priceless and cherished asset since you oversee the second home of their children. You are in charge of making sure that children are protected, intellectually challenged, and given a top-notch education. In today’s cutthroat business environment, it is crucial for school leaders to understand that their institution is a part of a larger enterprise. To make sure they are on the right trajectory and that every member of their team is working toward the same objective, all successful organizations have vision statements.
What is a vision statement?
As per Principles of Management produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative, A vision statement is a future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. In many ways, you can say that the mission statement lays out the organization’s “purpose for being,” and the vision statement then says, “based on that purpose, this is what we want to become.”
As per Graham Kenny, CEO of Strategic Factors, “A vision statement says what the organization wishes to be like in some years’ time. It’s usually drawn up by senior management, to take the thinking beyond day-to-day activity in a clear, memorable way.”
Leaders in education should keep in mind that talking about your vision and actually implementing it are two different things.
The school leadership team must evaluate their existing performance by identifying the gaps once they are clear on the goal and objectives. Planning how to close the gaps in the following stage after the gaps have been found. It’s crucial that educational leaders look into fresh possibilities for closing these gaps without losing sight of the main tasks at hand. In order to close these gaps, leaders need to be flexible and open to new ideas. The school’s leadership should be knowledgeable enough to decide how much funding should go toward the institution’s core functions and how much should be used to research new options.
It is vital for the principal to make sure that his or her staff is in line with the school’s vision and that they are all working together to attain that vision within the set time period. This can be done by:
- Continuous communication – the process of forming a school’s vision is ongoing, so talk about it and how crucial it is to accomplish it whenever possible i.e. in staff meetings, parent meetings, assemblies, newsletters, etc.
- Means of communication – use a variety of media to share the school’s vision, such as posters placed throughout the building (waiting areas, classrooms, activity rooms, etc).
- Teamwork – use team inputs while developing a plan to realize your school’s vision.
- Conflicts- Determine, address, and modify attitudes and actions that conflict with your school’s vision.
- Buy in – Obtain support from your team for the school’s vision and the plan of action to realize it.
- Expect resistance – Be prepared to encounter resistance from some team members. Attempt to get their support by speaking with them through others who can influence their thoughts.
- Let go – It’s possible that some team members won’t buy in under any conditions. As a leader, you should be able to fire and let go of such team members and welcome new, more-suited team members.
- Self-motivation – Remember during the process that you need the inspiration to continue moving forward when there is so much negativity all around you. Keep your motivation high, rely on, and replenish yourself with:
- confidants (a person with whom you can reveal a private or confidential matter in the confidence that they will not disclose it to anybody else.)
- sanctuaries (anywhere or any place or any act you feel especially safe, serene, and rejuvenated)
- regular practices (anything you regularly do to unwind, such as playing with children in the park or riding with friends)
- set yourself apart from your role (do not take things, attacks, or comments, personally).
- control your want or need for authority, control, approval, and significance.
- give yourself the freedom to exercise your own competence to the limit…
The other factor school leaders should focus on is building a school’s culture. Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng in How to manage the eight critical elements of organizational life by in January – February 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review states that “Culture expresses goals through values and beliefs and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms.” Based on the same idea, any school can gain from more closely aligning its culture to better support teaching and learning, regardless of how well it is performing right now. The culture of the school should be a priority for school leaders from day one. Educational leaders should be aware that tackling culture head-on doesn’t exclude tackling other issues concurrently. In reality, you should be working on both constantly as a leader.
According to a Harvard Business School CPD, one should describe a school’s culture as “enabling” (for a quality that supports realizing the school’s vision) and “inhibiting” (for traits that are an impediment to reaching your goals), rather than “good” or “bad” or “positive” or “negative”. It is indeed difficult for a school leader to determine whether a certain trait is enabling or inhibiting, for example, do you think that teachers exchanging practices or ideas is an enabling or inhibiting trait? Running a successful school requires a supportive culture. It can be referred to as an enabling trait when teachers and students act in a way that is consistent with the primary mission of the school. When these attitudes and actions conflict with the school’s mission, it can be termed an inhibiting trait.
As a school leader, you should make sure that your school’s vision is reflected in the culture of the school. Ideally, you should be able to create a concise version of the vision statement that is simple to explain and easy for everyone to remember, which is called an “elevator pitch”, which is a shorter version of the school’s vision statement that may be delivered in the course of one elevator trip. Elevator pitches should include no more than three to five key points and should clarify the “what” and “why” of your vision statement, repeat your vision so many times you can recite it in your sleep!
It goes without saying that leaders must be aware of how important the vision statement is in guiding their educational institution to success.
- It will serve as both a compass to keep the school going in the direction of your vision and a yardstick to track progress over time for the work being done at your institution.
- The institution’s vision should be apparent to every employee and should be used to inspire your community, convey your priorities, and encourage employees’ daily work.