What is our destination?
Why do we do what we do? Why is it important?
Sometimes we do things because it’s the way it’s always been done or that is how we were taught. People may do things because their friends are doing it or maybe the really cool person has it down the street. Oftentimes we can find ourselves doing things for reasons we are unaware of.
Our intentions are the best, of course. For example, perhaps you are traveling in a car to a favorite restaurant you and your friend used to visit together. Say, you want to take your own family to show them and you go the same direction your friend always did. Then you come to realize, when you put the destination into the GPS, there was a shortcut that would have gotten you there in half the time! You ask your friend and they say, “Yeah that was the scenic route! I didn’t want to cut our time short in the conversation.”
The scenic route had an intentional purpose.
To take in beautiful scenery for a peaceful drive and to allow friends to chat. If our purpose was to get there in the quickest amount possible, then the original route is not the best way to go. Depending on the purpose, we choose our strategy to accomplish something.
Who’s your audience?
We have to know our audience as well. If you are in a car with three children who are hungry, getting to your favorite restaurant in a timely manner becomes priority, so the route may be different than if you are showing some relatives your new hometown and they want to see all they can.
I once heard Joel Osteen talk about this on his radio program. He told a story of a woman who chopped the ends off of a prime meat during a family meal. She had watched her own mother do this and grew up to place the meat in the pan the exact same thing. When the woman’s husband questioned her about why she was doing it, she said “That’s the way you always did it.” The mother then explained to the husband that her pan wasn’t big enough to fit the whole thing and that was the reason she chopped the ends off! Not because it helped it cook or enhanced the taste.
This happens in schools. We find ourselves doing things the way they’ve always been done without always knowing the reason why.
We need to ask ourselves: What is our purpose and who is our audience?
Another scenario could be that we find ourselves involved in something for the right reason, but the reason and the result aren’t lining up. So what should we do? We need to ask ourselves, what is our purpose? What is our mission and vision and how are we getting there? What defines success?
The Hexagon Tool
One tool you can use to help you decipher which strategies to utilize and which ones to stop using is the Hexagon tool. The Hexagon tool can take you through a process to select (or de-select) an initiative, practice, or idea.
This happens after your goals and intentions are set. Once our goals and initiatives are set we can consolidate our efforts under team driven leadership. Teams can carry the burdens of a large intricate system in an efficient and easier way than when individuals try it.
The team needs to understand:
- What is it we are trying to accomplish and what do we need to get there?
- How will we know we are successful?
- Is our decision successful for ALL stakeholders?
- Is it serving some better than others?
These are all questions we should consider when designing or redesigning our systems. One way we can gather information to bring back to teams is by talking to kids. What do they say? Can they serve on your leadership team as leaders? How do we hear from students we don’t traditionally hear from? Particularly, those whom the data says we aren’t serving well. What can we do to get better in order to serve better?
So remember, know your destination, choose a strategy with purpose on purpose (aka “the Why”), know your audience, and choose a process or vehicle that will help engage others in making decisions; team driven leadership. Utilize these keys, and students win!