Thursday, August 18, 2011

Avoiding "The Set-Up"

Late at night, I held the truth in my hand just like a little shiny jewel
Early in the morning, I look in the mirror and see the same old fool
from the song, Late at Night by The Subdudes

Every summer, as teachers and administrators prepare for the upcoming school year, goals are set, agendas are created, and plans are developed.  For many, this advance work focuses the year and provides a clear and sustainable path for school and/or program improvement.  For others, well they end up looking in the mirror (see lyrics above).

I am not immune to "over-goaling" and having to face the fact that in reality there are ONLY 24 hours in a day.  Over time, I have even given a name to the situation caused by "over-goaling" - I call it "The Set-Up."

"The Set-Up"
  • underestimates how difficult a new idea is to implement
  • blinds you to the reality of leading change by shining it's "light of brilliance" in your face
  • carries an operational burden that is exponentially more difficult than you can see from the surface
  • appears to be universally accepted, but is actually only tolerated
  • is potentially damaging to your credibility
So, how can we avoid "The Set-Up" while continuing to share a vision and work towards making the necessary changes in our schools?

Try imagining your new ideas in terms of filling a 3 cup plastic container.  You can use a deeper container or a shallow container.  Both hold 3 cups, but both will not necessarily hold the item you are trying to store.  You need to choose the right container for the item.

You only have so much time you can devote to your new initiatives.  Does it require more depth or breath at this point?  Choose the right container.

Unless your school is in need of drastic change, I have found fewer and "deeper" initiatives avoid "The Set-Up" better.  If you must take a broader approach, plan accordingly and be watchful for a "thinner" response in year one of your changes.

A grand and inspiring vision is important.  Avoiding the "Set-Up" will help you maintain the momentum and motivation needed to realize that vision.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...