Effective Education Leaders are Great Strategic Planners
To think four steps ahead, you need to develop a long-term outlook, using research to make decisions and take time to reflect on them. When you make plans for the long haul, you can create your strategic plan, then take actionable steps towards your goals.
Let’s get to planning
As we have already alluded to, creating your plan is the first step in thinking tactically. Education leaders should not create strategic plans in isolation, they should include their entire organization in the process. Let’s look at the process through the eyes of a school superintendent. I would start out by thinking about the vision that I have for my district. Decide if you want to create a 5 or 10-year strategic plan. Next, start thinking about the goals and objectives that you need to meet to realize your vision. Next, start thinking about the benchmarks that each goal or objective has to meet to be deemed successful. Benchmarks are the standards by which your goals or objectives will be measured or assessed.
Now that you have a rough outline, you can present it to your leadership team. I like coming up with a rough outline first, because it helps to frame the strategic planning process, and it is more efficient than starting off from scratch. Then you can go through each goal/objective, their benchmarks, and timelines, and make major and minor adjustments as needed. Make it known that you are not married to the skeleton outlined that you provided, and nothing is safe.
After your leadership team completes its version, I would present it to the school board for preliminary approval. I say preliminary because although you want them to see the strategic plan early on, you also have more people to win over. After the school board approves the preliminary version, I would present it to school principals and teachers, and finally, the community at large. Their feedback will be valuable in helping you to spot potential issues and make adjustments. Finally, you can present the final version to the school board for approval. And that is the strategic planning process in a nutshell.