The Power of Communicating Short Term Goals and Early Wins

How does a school leader stay motivated in a school that faces multiple challenges?  How does a leadership team keep a staff inspired to do this incredibly hard work day after day?  We often talk about celebration, and we know what the research says about celebrating short term wins. But I have to say that in my visits to many schools across the country, I don’t often see short term goals and the accomplishment of them communicated publicly.  So, I was struck by this very authentic display that I recently saw at Chesterfield Academy in Norfolk, Virginia.

The fact that it is a living document that changes frequently is powerful.  And it was inspiring to listen as the principal enthusiastically communicated this work, teaching us how the ILT led each grade level to “own” their part of the overall work toward increasing student achievement.  The other leaders who were on the learning visit were equally inspired. The phones came out, the pictures were snapped. I fully expect to see more displays like this around Norfolk.

So, is this effort at communicating short term wins making a difference at Chesterfield?  Well it is certainly a big part of the journey toward success.  Below is a sample of the kind of data celebrations that are posted all over the school.  In year two of Focused Schools work, Chesterfield is enjoying increases in achievement across the school.

The data tells the story. The communication of the data keeps the story alive and keeps the students and staff pushing forward. I consider a school as being on the path to success when I can walk through it with no one around and know exactly what the work is as well as how much growth is being achieved. 

Question: Does your school publicly communicate short term goals and celebrations? If not, you are missing a powerful piece of the achievement and motivation puzzle.

Bryan RobertsComment