This week I returned to SMS after a weeklong holiday in Hawaii. I spent much of my time relaxing on the beach with a book and managed to read six of them in total; four non-fiction and two fiction (because I ran out of reading material for school and my sister felt I was trying to sneak work into my holiday!). It was an ideal opportunity to clear the head, reflect, and sort and connect ideas as the School begins implementing our Strategic Plan.
I am a strong believer that schools can learn a lot from the many successful organizations that exist in the business world. One book that resonated with me was called Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go – Career Conversations Employees Want by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni. Although the book focuses on helping employees achieve their career goals while also achieving the organization’s business plan (aka “bottom line”), there was a lot of parallel in how St. Margaret’s hopes to engage all of its stakeholders in achieving its Strategic Plan.
The authors talk about the “zen of experiential learning” and identify three simple, but compelling ideas:
The authors also speak to the importance of framing conversations in which individuals explore hindsight, foresight and insight. Hindsight requires us to look backwards to understand where we are today and how we got here; foresight involves a bigger-picture look at where we want to go and how we might get there; and insight is the convergence of what we are doing with the organizational needs and opportunities that will help us to move forward. All effective organizations leverage these insights to foster a future focus and action-oriented environment of thoughtful doers. This is what the next steps of implementing our Strategic Plan will require of all of us as we help the School move from good to great.
The authors state that:
“Opportunity-minded managers envision and enable possibility-advancing
circumstances with employees – through conversation”
With only a slight change to the wording, this could read:
“Opportunity-minded organizations envision and enable possibility-advancing
circumstances with stakeholders – through conversation.”
St. Margaret’s is ready to engage, leverage and challenge itself to be the best it can be.