Sunday, February 11, 2007

A model for Strategy Planning

Directing and producing a movie is an ideal model strategy planning metaphor.
It is a depressing task to read school strategy plans. Complex and long winded with endless strategic goals - many of them difficult to demonstrate their achievement.
The best strategy is to have a clear strategic intent ensuring all involved know what it is they are creating.This , along with creating the conditions and training to allow staff to get on with the job, is the role of school leadership.
All to often strategic planning degenerates into managing the status quo and not focusing on where the school wants to go - the whole point of strategic planning.
Another problem is strategic planning being left to leadership to develop. Strategic planning is so important to leave to one person , or even a small select team.
Film making is, by contrast, a collaborative affair and, as such, is a good model for strategic planning. When a director looks at a script he, or she, develops a vision of the story they want to tell. They may have the initial vision but, as every director knows, the plan is worth nothing if they are not able to engage talented writers, set designers, actors, and producers to further shape and mold this vision so to bring it to life.
This is exactly the essence of strategic planning.
Effective school leaders cannot be lone visionaries or top down managers but must sell the intent or excitement of what the school wants to become. To make things a little more complicated they must enter into dialogue about the 'story' with everyone involved so everyone the school feels 'ownership' for what evolves. As well as defining the vision with all stakeholders they must also set about identifying tasks that need to be done and who ( usually in action teams) is to take responsibility for them.
If everybody does not buy into the agreed direction then little will be achieved . And, equally importantly, little will be achieved if everybody does not hold themselves accountable to completing the agreed tasks.
A great strategy plan is like a great screen play - a great story to in which everyone know their role. And like a great film it can only be appreciated when the ideas are achieved.
School leaders ought to keep these thoughts in mind when becoming involved in strategic planning.
No one want to be known for taking part in a dud movie.


Anonymous said...

We should gather people, such as Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, to design a school to develop all students' creativity. Such a group should include people who , although they may have 'failed' at school, have done well in life in their chosen fields.

At the very least a range of experimental schools could be established - who knows, such schools might be the beginning of a real revolution in education.

Anonymous said...

I like anon's idea to gather creative people together to let them 'design' a school suitable a 'creative era'. Our current schools are dominated by systens and structures that lock them into past thinking.

Bruce Hammonds said...

The idea of having a 'national conversation' is one I have put to Steve Maharey - somehow such democracy doesn't seem to suit politicians and their advisers.The Ministry prefers to control its 'consultation'.