This time of year many school and learning communities are taking time to reexamine their missions, vision statements, values and goals. Even on an individual level educators are sitting down to set goals for themselves that will take them well into the coming school year. My experience is no different than that.
I’ve been revisiting a lot of PLC resources that I’ve gathered throughout the years. It’s always good to go back to information that you received in the past…you never know when it’s going to be the most relevant for you.
At the end of the school year I sent a survey out to parents, community and staff asking:
1. What are your hopes and dreams for our school?
2. What are the strengths of our school?
3. What changes would we need to make to realize those dreams?
4. How would we know we’re making progress?
With a decent return of the surveys I have set about synthesizing that information into
a meaningful the world’s best and most powerful mission statement. I took the text and dumped it into a word cloud generator to see what themes really popped up as prominent from all stakeholder groups. Themes like “collaborative, student-centered, passion, rigor” came up time and time again. Cracking my knuckles I set about writing a draft mission statement (my ultimate goal is to present a draft to the learning community based on their input)….and…and…wow…this is hard.
Nothing solves a little writer’s block like some reading:
These articles from http://www.allthingsplc.info/ helped get me back on track, but in one of my searches I came across the term B.H.A.G. in reference to writing a proper mission statement. The article, from Fast Company, talks about the tendency of organizations to fluff up mission statements with well-intended words of value, but the statements themselves to not answer the prime question of any mission statement: “Why do we exist?” The articles actually called “How to Write a Mission Statement that isn’t Dumb.” Subtle, right?
So what’s a B.H.A.G.? It’s a Big Hairy Audacious Goal! This phrase, coined by James Collins and Jerry Porras (Built to Last, 1994), helped me understand the point of strong mission statement more than any other reading I came across today. It also helped me feel good about making a mission statement that truly pushes our organization to reach for seemingly unattainable!
Now, if you’ll excuse me…I need to work on my BHAG!