The Results Are In - How Healthy is Your School?

November 2, 2018

Yesterday was Organizational Health Day with Scott Barron from School Growth, Inc. and today, for those of you who participated in the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey, the results of the General Survey are in! Why are these two seemingly unrelated items noteworthy?

Something Scott Barron said yesterday stuck with me, “Data driven strategic planning is critical to uncovering and leveraging the powerful genius of your school and leadership. Because your school has a distinct context, copy and pasting from other schools is a weak and ineffective way to plan.” With the data from the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey, you are now able to use your distinct data to support your journey to better organizational health.

What is Organizational Health? According to Peter Lencioni, Founder of the Table Group, Organizational Health is about making a company function effectively by building a cohesive leadership team, establishing real clarity among those leaders, communicating that clarity to everyone within the organization and putting in place just enough structure to reinforce that clarity going forward.

What does a Healthy School look like? Scott took yesterday’s group through several diagnostics to determine the relative health of their schools. Here is the group’s list of the attributes of a healthy school. How does your school measure up?

  • Warm and welcoming atmosphere
  • Engaged teachers who know their students and their parents
  • Leadership communicates effectively with all constituents
  • Happy, satisfied students
  • Clear and Visible School Mission
  • Well-maintained facilities
  • Team approach to everything
  • Realistic long range financial plan
  • Engaged board that understands their fiduciary responsibilities and stays in their lane
  • Clarity around expectations
  • Joy—well rounded teams that leverage everyone’s strengths and communicate together
  • Families that feel included in the school community

How Do We Get To a Healthier OrganizationScott Keller and Colin Price of McKinsey agree with Scott Barron: the roadmap to better organizational health is complex. Once you determine your school’s level of health using an assessment, and you collect and analyze your data, how do you develop and deliver a strategy? Here are some “imperative” questions you need to answer to develop your plan:

  • Aspire (where do we want to go?) is about setting overall performance goals and the health aspirations that will enable them to be achieved.
  • Assess (how ready are we to make the journey?) is about determining what capabilities and shifts in underlying mindsets are needed to reach the aspirations.
  • Architect (what do we need to do to get there?) is about developing a portfolio of initiatives to improve performance and planning how to implement them to shape the desired mindsets and behaviors.

  • Act (how do we manage the journey?) is about adopting the right scaling-up model, using governance to ensure broad ownership, and measuring performance and health rigorously throughout.
  • Advance (how do we keep moving forward?) is about establishing the mechanisms and building the leadership capacity to drive continuous improvement.

Here is where many schools get stuck. The whole community participates in the planning process, and the shiny, new strategic plan is published and posted to the website with an amazing photo spread. And then there it sits until the next time the Board decides to restart the process, there is a change in leadership, or you need to roll out a document as part of the school’s accreditation process. Tactical planning is the next step in the strategic planning process and is most often forgotten.

Without implementing a strategic-performance management system, chances are that you will fail to execute your strategic plan. Using existing control systems like budgets and operating reviews are inadequate. Assigning accountability for initiatives and transparency in the regular progress reporting on initiatives are two ways to improve the likelihood of implementation of strategies from the plan. The best part is, you don’t have to wait to complete your strategic planning process to get started on your tactical plan—the two processes can happen simultaneously.

What are you waiting for? You have the data from the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey and a basic roadmap for Organizational Health from School Growth, Inc. PAISBOA can help you get started as we continue the conversation with Scott Barron about using a Data-Driven strategic planning approach that recognizes and respects your distinct Context along with your incredible Strengths, and combines the them into a Vision and Story that gives you a path to sustainable greatness.

Take advantage of the power of the flock…

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