Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Making Missions Matter

What is your campus mission statement? In conversations that I've had with people, they generally have three different responses:  I don't know, or it's something like..., or they rattle it out verbatim. Even if you have one and can spit it out on command, that doesn't necessarily mean that your mission matters. It means that you know what it is.

On our campus, our mission statement was developed by all. It was written in a way that anyone can easily remember it. It is displayed throughout the building and on our website, but that doesn't mean that our mission matters.

The heart of the matter boils down to one thing. A mission isn't worth the paper it's written on unless you're living it. You can plaster your mission all over town.  You can talk the walk until you're blue in the face, but if you're not walking the talk, your mission is meaningless. 

So how do we make our campus mission matter?

1. Understand what a mission actually is. 
A mission defines why our campus exists. It is the core of why the staff has been brought together. A mission is bigger than we're all here to educate all kids.  Our campus was created to GUARANTEE that every kid becomes successful. No guarantee, no mission!

2. Visions Matter Too
Knowing why we exist is critical, but defining what we hope to become is just as important. Pose this question. If we all actually committed to these mission words and walked our talk, how awesome could this school really be for all students, all staff and all parents?

3. Values and Goals Matter
Campuses must define the specific behaviors (values) that everyone must exemplify to live the mission so that they can reach the vision. In addition, short term and long term goals help campuses and teams keep their focus on what really matters, all kids and their learning

4. AIM - Align Individual Missions 
Every person has their own personal mission statement. It's not found on a poster.  It is within each and every person on the campus and is manifested in their daily actions and choices. If their personal mission does not align with the campus mission, they have a choice to make. Do they choose the campus mission or their personal mission? In absence of a living mission and the peer pressure of personal accountability, aligning personal missions to the campus mission will never take place.


Steps to Make the Mission Matter

Here is how principals can make missions matter in a meaningful way. 

Collectively ask every member to quietly do the following: 
1. Read and synthesize the campus mission statement. 
2.  Write down the exceptional actions and ideals that the individual must exhibit in his role to help fulfill the campus mission.
3.  Individually write a personal mission statement that encompasses 2 things: embodies the individual's ideal qualities and supports the campus mission. 
4. Have each member post their personal mission statesment beneath the campus mission statement in a prominent place in their room. 

Make your Mission Viable

Finally, missions do not become viable until we breathe life into them. In other words, collective commitment serves as the mission's life support system, and when individuals refuse to commit, they essentially pull the plug on the campus mission. 

So how do WE make the Mission Viable?

Principals must praise members for living their personal mission, support staff who struggle to live their mission and redirect staff who choose not to live their mission. In actuality, you're not addressing their mission statement. You are addressing their personalized translation of the campus mission statement.

Staff members must keep the mission in front when difficulties arise and decisions must be made. Choices can't be made based on feelings or a hunch. They must make based on this question. Does this choice move us closer to further away from our mission?  They must also hold the principal accountable for keeping the mission in the forefront at all times.  #ReciprocalAccountability

Celebrate you Mission
What gets celebrated gets accelerated. 

Final Tweet

Missions matter to people when people see that they matter to the mission.

Does your campus mission matter to you, and more importantly, do you see how you matter to the mission?

No comments:

Post a Comment