I recently heard of a school district with five hundred initiatives underway right now. They’re proud of it–they’re reaching out to students at risk for dropping out, targeting STEM enrichment, working on literacy, increasing coaching capacity, and so on.
The problem? No change effort can be focused in 500 different directions. Right now, things are falling by the wayside–and the district leadership probably doesn’t know what is and isn’t being done. Somewhere down in the ranks, people are deciding, whether consciously or unconsciously, what they will actually accomplish.
It may be what seems most urgent to them. Or what best fits their current skills. Or what is easiest. Or what the person above them is screaming for.
Chances are, though, it isn’t what the leaders at the top consider most important. Why? Because important things usually take long-term, conscious effort. Meanwhile, the urgent things take up all the time.
That’s why focus from leadership is so important. When leaders take time to consider–
* What is most important right now?
* How do my talents and dispositions support that?
* Where might my blind spots hinder our progress?
* Who am I leading and what do they need?
–then, they’re being intentional.