TregoED Blog

Common Tools are the Secret Sauce of Agile Leadership

Education leaders have certainly had their hands full developing emergency plans to protect students, employees and the community while ensuring education continuity. Most school districts have cleared the first few hurdles of returning to school, but they still face unchartered territory.    Leading successfully through all the ripples, (which sometimes felt like tsunamis) caused by today’s everchanging realities requires organizational agility.   According to McKinsey and Company, organizations with agility have the following ingredients:

5 Ingredients of agile organizations

In the “good old days of 2018-2019” most districts were already operating with the key ingredients for success:  a clear vision (1), collaborative teams (2), dynamic employees (4), and functional technology (5).  It was not until the turbulence of Covid-19 began, that it became clear that some ingredients or processes were missing or could use some shoring up.

The demands of virtual learning quickly uncovered the missing ingredients in technology availability, equity and preparedness.  However, the shifting needs of a rapidly changing situation in all areas revealed another key ingredient, the secret sauce of quality procedures and a shared thinking process.

As collaborative teams became the norm in tackling the complexity, it became clear that the most effective teams were the ones that used solid processes and systems to organize their thinking.  As Dr. Jim White, PhD stated, “Now there are too many unknowns to rely on lazy thinking,  (Afraid to Step out of your Comfort Zone). Critical thinking in the COVID-19 era will separate effective leaders from the pack.”

The Secret Sauce of Process

of the 5 ingredients of agile organizations process is the secret sauce

Of the 5 ingredients of agility in an organization, having a common process is the secret sauce to clear and consistent thinking during turbulent times.  A process like Situation Appraisal (SCAN) can help you:

  • Standardize your approach to problem solving across all teams and committees
  • Increase confidence in the end result
  • Better handle conflict
  • Get greater commitment from participants
  • Increase greater trust and transparency

Specifically, SCAN can help you take a “divide and conquer” approach to break large complex situations into smaller more manageable pieces.

Provide tools and support

A common approach to capture multiple perspectives, clarify and prioritize issues and establish action items is the key ingredient needed to orchestrate a coherent plan when knowledge is required from across different areas of expertise. Providing leaders with a proven tool like Situation Appraisal to work with their teams and community of stakeholders allows them to implement and sustain effective solutions with agility.

As the saying goes “We can’t control the wind in a storm, but we can adjust the sails.” At a time when change is the only constant, schools need to nurture resilience and agility by empowering their staff with the proper tools and support.  With those tools or processes, leaders can improve their effectiveness in navigating complexity. Embracing a common tool or process like Situation Appraisal is the secret sauce of success in turbulent times.


Interested in learning more about using SCAN to navigate turbulent times? Join our webinar…..Approach Covid-19 Storms with Confidence:  For more information:

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