Moving Beyond the Tagline
In his famous book 'Start with Why,' Simon Sinek states, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe." As Christian School Leaders, I would suggest we are in a season of the world where having a crystal clear understanding of our school 'why' is not only recommended – but critical to survival.
Before enrolment at our school, we interview every family, and a massive chunk of that time is dedicated to unpacking our school's mission and vision statement. We talk about entering a partnership between home and school and the importance of getting to know a bit about them – but equally allowing them to fully understand who we are and the direction we are heading in.
I have repeatedly found that our mission and vision statement can be leaned on in the good and bad times. It's a lens through which decisions can be made and accountability held. In those moments where I'm struggling to know what decision to make or the path to follow, I fully believe a strong sense of mission and vision of the school can be a significant lifeline. In the same way, we submit ourselves to God; we submit ourselves to the organization we represent and not the egos that might be pulling us a different way.
The more we engage with our mission and vision statements in this way, the more you will hear lines such as "this just isn't who we are" or actually "yes, this program/software aligns with our hopes here" – those types of comments demonstrate organizational health and a deeper understanding of purpose. Without that – we can be quick to pursue the quick wins or the latest trends, which can lead to confusion across the school community.
Leading a school culture requires a mission and vision statement to be the compass from which you can continuously reorient yourself. Students, colleagues, and parents can all pull us in different directions from time to time. It's impossible to please everyone. But using your school's core mission in those moments provides consistency and a genuine ability in the present moment to pull together the legacy of the past and the hope for the future – for whoever led before you and whoever is to come.
I look forward to diving deeper into this topic at CDL6 when you come visit us here in Vancouver.