I was asked last week to put together some ideas for working with a school’s leadership team based on the findings of my visits with more than 60 schools this fall. At a high level, the goal would be to help that team develop the skills to become institutionally comfortable with change.
Those of you who know me also know that I think questions are vastly more important than answers; get the questions right and the path to success is much easier. So I spent the weekend reflecting on my school visits, working backward to what I think are three foundational questions that all schools need to ask and answer before they can develop an innovation roadmap.
- What are the essential learning outcomes or qualities of your students when they graduate?
- What is the desired relationship at your school between students, teachers, and knowledge?
- What is the differentiated value that your school offers to your clients?
If your organization validates answers to these three questions, if there is shared understanding and organizational clarity on these points, your school is ready to work strategically on changing how and what you teach to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. If not, it is likely that change will be slow, lacking direction, and unsustainable.