Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA) are conditions prevalent – increasingly so – in an education leader’s world. We cannot necessarily foresee the needs, emergencies, or issues of tomorrow. Education leaders must be prepared to handle anything. The most effective way to ensure this is to build the capacity for ever-ready leadership. This capacity enables leaders to not only effectively navigate changing, challenging environments but to successfully and collaboratively address complex issues – even ones they have never before encountered.
Developing this agility and individual and organizational capacity takes intentional and sustained effort in 5 key areas – the 5 P’s of ever-ready leadership:
People –ensuring that the right people are in the right place – and that they have the necessary skills
Process – using a shared problem-solving and decision-making process to facilitate teamwork and better outcomes
Purpose – confirming that initiatives, jobs, and activities are driven by clear purpose, direction, and objectives
Practices – examining school and district practices to be sure that they make sense, produce desired results, and align with district values
Performance system – making certain that the performance system and its elements (expectations, resources, consequences, and feedback) support people in achieving desired outcomes.
Being a school or district leader is a highly demanding and complicated job made more so by ever-changing conditions, expectations, and needs. The need to successfully navigate difficult, high-stakes situations will never be outdated or unnecessary. Nor will the need to effectively involve and communicate with varied stakeholders. But we mustn’t delay – being ready for tomorrow, requires action today. Investing in developing the 5 P’s of ever-ready leadership, will prepare our leaders to effectively handle whatever comes their way.