Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maximizing the Potential Benefits and Sustainability of Good Ideas

Does this sound familiar?  You have listened to your teachers and have gathered input and suggestions on how to address an issue at your school.  With their help, you put together a great idea and begin to implement the idea with great anticipation that the students will soon reap the rewards of this hard work.

After rolling out the new initiative, things begin to loose steam and what was once a high energy project with great potential is now on life support.  If this has happened to you, don’t worry.  It has probably happened to many of us who operate in the leadership arena.  What you should be concerned about is how to minimize the chances of this happening each time you attempt a new idea or try to implement refinements to existing operations.

So, what can you do to help avoid this situation?  I suggest a type of checklist for you to use as you work with your team to design and implement future plans.

When I was hired on for my current position, I was tasked with “fixing” the advisory program already in place.  Fortunately, the school had already bought into the value of having an advisory program and had also cut out time in the daily schedule to support the program.  My task was to bring cohesion and value added through the programs operation. 

Once I identified and put together the team to address the problem (under my leadership), we began the task to defining and describing the program from the ground up.  As a result, we designed a program which could be consistently articulated to various groups.  Below is the list of essential parts to our team’s work that has helped to maintain the impact of our program over the past few years.  If you cannot describe your idea in terms of these areas, you may be opening a door for confusion and lack of buy in – a sure sign that the initiative will not be as beneficial or sustainable as it could be.

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Statement of Commitment
  • Goals of the Program
  • Guiding Principles of the Program
  • Program Structure
  • Desired Student Outcomes
  • Roles of the Faculty, Administration, Students, etc.
  • Methods for Evaluating the Program

By using the aspects of program design listed above, I have found great success in sustaining good ideas while linking the ides directly to the promotion of my school’s mission.

Do you have a similar story or experience?  Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

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