A reader asks,
How do you create a sense of urgency in your faculty? If I bring up a serious problem during a meeting I get corrected for being negative, even when I offer a workable solution. It is like “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” at every meeting.”
I deal with this question on more campuses than you can imagine. Principals struggle with the perceived need to balance reality with staff morale. You know what side I’m on in that discussion. If I have to hide “reality” from my staff, then I have the wrong staff. On the other hand, the need for a “silver” lining is important. There is a difference between being an “underdog” and being the “dead man walking.” One has hope and the other is just playing out the string.
I have a two part strategy for dealing with the situation you describe:
1. Confront the brutal facts. If things are bad, let’s not kid ourselves.
2. Determine what is working. Figure out if you can do more of it, or replicate it.
3. Determine what is not working. Figure out how to do less of it, or quit doing it all together.
4. Determine what you are going to do differently, NOW!
1. Determine your big annual goal(s).
2. Make the goal(s) concrete and measurable.
3. Work backwards and break the annual goal(s) into short-term (2 to 4 week) measurable performance objectives.
4. Make the goal(s) and objectives both public and prominent.
5. At the benchmark dates (2 to 4 weeks), publicly review progress, celebrate successes, and then refer back to Part 1.
The strategy works. If you want more detail and some ideas on where and how to start (ATTENTION: SHAMELESS PLUG) you can always refer to my book, “Jump Start Your School,” available on Amazon.com.
Think. Work. Achieve.