Sunday, February 26, 2012

Do you know where you are going?

I am sitting in Midway Airport thinking about vision.  We describe vision as declaring where you want  to be in a specified period of time.  Three years. Five years.  AND, I am thinking of one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes, "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." It occurs to me that creating and communicating your vision is a lot like air travel.  I have spent a lot of time in airports over the last year, many of them for the first time.

Airports are incredibly easy to navigate, even if you've never been in a particular one before. That's because the signage is crystal clear. Short-term parking Long-term parking Economy parking Arrivals  Departures Concourse Gates Baggage claim I think you get the idea.

Now I know that creating a vision for a school district is much more complex.  And I still think we can learn from the airport metaphor. Are you clear about where you want to go? What is your district's vision? Do you have clear signs for getting there? Do you have goals? Do you check data to see if you are on the right track? Do you practice continuous improvement, celebrating what works and asking what could be better?

We know what it feels like to get diverted, to run into rough weather. And yet the plane still arrives, even if it is late.  

 Do you have a clear picture of your district's journey? Do you send consistent messages about your vision? Do you continuously ask, "what does this have to do with our vision?" If not, how can you know where you are going? How can you know when you get there?

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