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Align Personal Goals with Your School’s Goals

Leaders have goals for growth and visions for better futures.  In addition, they have plans for reaching the goals and actualizing the visions.  Like most long-term plans, they are specific in the near-term and become less specific as they extend into the future.  Leaders know that increased sustainability is a collateral benefit of growth and sustainability is critical to their organizations’ survival.

Managers also have goals and a vision for the future as well as plans.  Their plans are usually more specific and based upon a limited time-horizon.  Their plans focus on maintaining what is rather than growing or changing.  In a rapidly changing world, organizations must grow and change just to retain their relevance.  Acting like a caretaker makes it difficult to maintain the sustainability and relevance.

Highly effective leaders ensure everyone’s personal and professional goals and visions are synergistically aligned with their organization’s goals, vision, and mission.  It is hard to have an engaged staff without the alignment.  When there is tension between a staff member’s goals and your school’s goals, it doubtful that the staff member will be fully engaged.

Christian schools operate with tight budgets.  Most also operate in very dynamic environments with many competing demands.  Fully engaged staff members are more productive, easier to retain, and more flexible than others.  Fully engaged staff members are worth the extra effort it takes to find them and cultivate their continued engagement.  Having their goals and visions aligned with your school’s also makes cultivating their engagement easier.

Synergistic alignment is different than having the same goal or same vision.  Though it is necessary for all staff members to understand and accept the goals and vision of your school, fully engaged staff will enthusiastically work toward them.  The staff members will be enthusiastic about the goals when they see how achieving their own goals will help your school achieve its goals and how achieving your school’s goals will help them achieve their goals.  The same needs to be true for the visions.

It is important to ensure that as your school’s goals and vision change, you work with each staff member to sustain the synergistic alignment with their goals and vision.  Sometimes it is impossible to retain the alignment.  When that occurs, there will be a loss of enthusiasm on the part of your staff member and a decline in the sustainability of your school.  This is the time when it is advantageous for both parties to part ways.  The long-term benefit to both parties makes it a necessity.  At the same time, the separation process can be gentle and occur at a pace that is comfortable for both parties.

Next Step:

Be a leader who is able to clearly articulate your goals and vision as well as your school’s goals and vision

Hire staff members whose personal and professional goals and visions are synergistically aligned with your school’s goals and vision

Cultivate the engagement of your staff members

Monitor the alignment of each of your staff member’s goals and vision with your school’s goals and vision

Be prepared to help your staff members find new opportunities when there is a loss of alignment

Christian schools have a reputation for providing long hours, low pay, and hard work with few benefits.  When there is good alignment between goals and visions, staff members are highly satisfied and less likely to complain about hours, pay, or benefits.  The staff members are willing to put in the extra effort because they see how it will be personally beneficial.

Monitoring the alignment of your staff’s goals and visions will make your school stand out.  When you help a staff member move on to an opportunity that better fits his or her goals and vision, you demonstrate that your school cares deeply about each of its staff members.  That will build the loyalty of the rest of the staff.  It will also make it easier to attract the talent you want in the future.

Knowing that your boss actually cares about your success and your career is a benefit that is hard to find in school, for-profit, and public sectors.  It is a benefit you can provide your staff without additional cost while creating valuable benefits for your school such as increased sustainability and lower hiring and staff retention costs.

Take It Further:

Increase the retention, engagement, and enthusiasm of your donors, volunteers, referral sources, and advocates by ensuring that each of them is synergistically aligned with your school’s goals and vision

Ask your board chair and board development committee to apply the same process to board member recruiting

Increase your students’ success, ability to achieve the desired outcomes, and engagement by ensuring your students’ and parents’ goals and visions are aligned with your school’s goals, vision, and mission

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