“Most people have far too many initiatives. Stay focused on your main purpose. There will always be more good ideas than the capacity to execute them.” Sean Covey
Luckily there is no shortage of worthwhile ideas or initiatives out there! So many worthy initiatives begin with the hope that this one will be the magic bullet – the one that increases academic success, improves climate, or streamlines administrative tasks. Restorative justice, new academic programs, classroom strategies, behavioral plans, professional learning programs -each of these initiatives and most others are worthwhile. But why are we doing them? Without a cohesive vision, overarching goals or compelling “why” that ties them together – and some well thought out implementation strategies – we run the risk of disjointed initiative overload -looking more like a tangled ball of string than a comprehensive plan for change.
Often, we accomplish more meaningful results by doing a better job with fewer things. As French author, Andre Maurois put it, “He who wants to do everything will never do anything.” Sometimes there is so much to do we know we cannot do justice to all that needs our attention. The same is true for initiatives- there are only so many we can do well at one time– and expect others to do well, also.
Can you really do it all?
When we have the discretion of choosing what to pursue or put forward, how do we determine what initiatives are worth the time and resources? Before adopting a new initiative, we can ask ourselves:
- Is this a critical component of achieving an important goal for my school or district and how does it allow us to do what we are not otherwise doing?
- What am I willing to not do because I am choosing to focus on this initiative?
- How will I communicate the purpose of this and make sure to keep that purpose front and center?
- Whose support do I need and what specific steps need to be taken in order to implement this?
- What specifically will be different as a result of this and how will we measure success?
- Would we be better served by investing time and resources in initiatives already in progress?
Before starting a new initiative, evaluate whether it’s a worthy priority that will produce results and have support. Read our next blog to determine how to successfully implement new initiatives to ensure their success alongside existing initiatives.