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Purpose, Value, Effectiveness

Focusing on purpose, value, and effectiveness will help your Christian school increase its agility.

Goals are important.  However, focusing too much on the goal will impede effectiveness and sometimes prevent you from achieving a goal.  Most schools have 12-month growth and financial goals (static).  However, a Christian school operates in an evolving society.  Its purpose is to solve a problem articulated by the mission statement with a solution defined by the needs of the students and the expectations of the community.  The perception of the problem, needs of the students, and expectations of the community are dynamic.

When static goals are the focus, the Christian school will reach its goals but miss the opportunity to effectively serve its students.  As a result, relevance and sustainability will decline.

If the needs of the students change for some reason (declining economy for instance), either the cost of serving the students will increase or the value of the solution will decrease.  If the costs increase, it will be difficult to achieve the financial goals and may impede reaching the grow goals.  If the value of the solution declines (lower effectiveness), donors will be less generous next year, which means next year’s financial goals will be hard to reach or the goal must be reduced (lower sustainability).  The students will be less satisfied and word of mouth will decline along with community support and sustainability.

The best choice, of the two alternatives, is to focus on effectively fulfilling promises found in the mission statement (providing value for the students and the community).  The financial goals are likely to suffer; however, donor satisfaction will be higher, which means donor generosity will be sustained or increased.  If so, it will be possible to make up the lost revenue next year. Of course, this assumes that the board is willing to make effectively meeting the promises of the mission statement the highest priority.

The freedom to focus on constantly increasing your value to your students and community will raise the effectiveness of your services and mission.  The freedom also makes it possible for you to make the changes your students need and your community expects.  It also eliminates the delay between noticing the need and building it into next year’s budget.  In addition, constantly responding to the ever-changing needs will help your school become more flexible and agile.  An increase in effectiveness, flexibility, and agility will significantly increase your school’s sustainability.

The purpose of every Christian school is to fulfill the promises of its mission statement.  It is easier for a school to fulfill its promises, increase its value to students and the community, and improve its effectiveness when it has the freedom to respond to the changes around it as they occur.

Next Step:

Convince your board that this year’s static goals are guidelines and the increased focus on purpose, value, and effectiveness should be the success measures

Find quantitative measures (evidence) for the change in your purpose, value, and effectiveness

Report evidence of your changes in purpose, value, and effectiveness to your stakeholders

Focusing on the purpose, value, and effectiveness is also more fulfilling for the staff.  The usual static goals are dry and lifeless.  They are can be important to the health of your school but they can also be a distraction from the mission.  The static goals also limit the principal and staff’s opportunities to make a personal or distinctive impact on the students’ lives or the community’s success.  You will find that purpose, value, and effectiveness changes can be inspirational for your staff.

Focusing on purpose, value, and effectiveness is one of the more sincere and obvious ways to put the stakeholders first.

Take It Further:

What else can you do to ensure the best interests of your stakeholders are always the prime concern?

What changes in your organizational and board culture are necessary to give the staff the freedom to put purpose, value, and effective first?

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