Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Value of Shared Planning, Vision/Mission, and Good Communication

When my husband used to work for now Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker, he was always inspired by Baker's weekly memo--a memo that inspired and moved the work community forward in ways that matter. I even read Baker's memo from time to time to gain inspiration for my own work. This was a critical component of good leadership.

As I think about teaching/learning organizations and my professional responsibilities, I find that I am similarly inspired by leadership that takes vision/mission, shared planning, and good communication seriously.

When leaders are willing to regularly share what we've done, what we are doing, and where we are going, I find that this communication helps me to do the good work that lines up with their words, vision, and direction. Leaders like this help to keep the organization moving forward in ways that matter, ways that inspire, and ways that invite a give-and-take ongoing conversation about what's working and what still needs to be done to best teach, lead, and care for the young children we teach as well as the many families we team with.

When leaders who impact the work I do and students I serve do not communicate regularly, there's lost potential. For example if a leader does not relay his/her goals for their department, the questions they are tackling, expectations, and vision, it's hard to anticipate the next steps, know what to do, or grow. These type of leaders inspire questioning, concern, and less teamwork than leaders who are good inclusive and open minded leaders.

When people understand the vision/mission of their colleagues and organization, the main priorities of their work, it helps people to work together more effectively. Without that kind of clear communication, it's more likely that some goals, students, and potential will be lost.

We can inspire better communication, vision/mission, and shared planning, but asking good questions so that we understand well our shared goals. In some cases, this questioning inspires better communication and teamwork. Unfortunately some leaders ignore such questioning and not knowing persists. This is the most challenging since the kind of leading-up required in these situations can be risky and possibly lead to negativity as well as lost potential.

In general the overarching vision/mission of my work is well defined by state and system standards--standards that are published for easy review. Also a number of weekly planning meetings help us to come together to discuss our specific plans, questions, and challenges related to shared goals, vision, and mission. These meetings help to strengthen teamwork, and get better all the time as we embrace better, streamlined, and effective processes of shared decision making, share, and creativity.

Effective organizations depend on shared planning, vision/mission, and good communication. These organizations also depend on people clearly understanding the expectations of their role and growth because if everyone is doing the job expected and working to better that job over time, generally organizations will meet the goals, vision, and mission set. Onward.