September 6, 2019 Message to Members
Expect the Unexpected
We’ve all been there. You have had an amazing lead-up through August, and you’re now a few days into the school year. You’re not exactly relaxed, but you’re feeling confident. It’s the best start-up yet. And then … something happens. It could be an equipment failure in your mechanical room or a missed class in the schedule. It could be a teacher’s unexpected absence or a family emergency for a student. While it’s impossible to plan for the unexpected, there are strategies for being nimble and responsive when the unexpected arrives on your doorstep.
As the lead learners in our schools, our expertise in strategic planning is a powerful factor in our school’s operational success. While planning is key, leaders also need to be skilled critical thinkers who can recognize and swiftly navigate change. I know that as you are reading this, you are thinking of a recent circumstance in your own school – or maybe in planning with families or friends – where an obstacle or a new fork in the road derailed your plans. You can see the cascade of options that came to you, and how you assessed and categorized them before taking action. Whether there was an opportunity for consultation, or whether you had to act decisively and start to build out from your action. Whether there were secondary measures or fixes that spun out from that change of direction.
For most of us, critical thinking is now second nature – it’s a requirement in the work we do. We can learn from the decisions that we make in those pivotal moments and sometimes, in reflection, find another path that may have opened different options. Each time we are challenged, we can improve our reactions and creative thinking. Because we always know that there’s another test around the bend, and we’ll be ready for it.