True Confessions: Alignment Matters
In my keynote, I have fun with the word "alignment" because as a young leader, I wasn't as interested in changing culture as I was surviving culture. To me, alignment was something you did to your car. It's funny what a little accountability will do to your life. All of a sudden, an entire school's results depended on me and I was scrambling quickly to learn this leadership game. One of the things I discovered first was that things didn't happen by accident. To get results, you had to plan for it. I found even more fascinating the idea that if you wanted to lead people, you had to plan for that too. I read somewhere if staff was to change their behaviors, if they needed a strong leader with a clear belief system. I desperately wanted to be that leader so I started by trying to have an inspiring vision that would attract people. I wrote about this in my last blog.
With a strong vision, we can start the critical talk with our team about the plan we need to create to reach our destination. I really want my staff to do this together because at the end, we can all agree to move forward accordingly. I have become a huge fan of a normative culture; establishing expectations for staff and students to carry out in pursuit if greatness. To begin, I look for staff to build two sets of norms on which our vision depends; values and behaviors. What are the things in which we believe our stakeholders can buy into. Also, what are the types of behaviors our community can expect to see from all of us on a regular basis. Organizations with clear norms function easier as a team and pull in the same direction. As the vision and norms are in concert with each other, we are in alignment.