Culture Trumps Strategy

 Part 4: Culture Trumps Strategy

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break filled with fun, family and fabulous food! I also hope you found time to rest and reflect on the many blessings that surround us. I hope you are thankful to be part of something bigger than yourself…a public school system that is committed to a culture of student achievement, stewardship and accountability, and safe, secure and healthy schools. According to Bill Daggett, culture is absolutely key. Thus my fourth and final point from my Convocation address: culture trumps strategy.

Mr. Daggett says that in any organization, culture is the most important factor for success. In high performing schools:

EVERYONE is united in a commitment to students first;
EVERY adult understands that they work there because of kids and EVERY adult understands that it is a student-centered place…that’s it’s not about what is best for the adults…but what is best for the kids;
EVERY adult understands that negativity and rigidity sucks the life out of the culture by squashing enthusiasm and flexibility; and
EVERY employee thrives on student success just like our #1 belief statement says.

This kind of student-centered culture reminds us that relationships matter most. In my address I predicted a great amount of our time this year would be spent strategizing around the 4 B’s: buildings, budgets, books and buses…as well as a plethora of other things that demand our attention. And that has turned out to be true, but at the end of the day, those aren’t the things that really matter.

In looking at the big picture, it doesn’t really matter how nice our buildings are, how flush the budget is, how great our books and curricula are, or how efficient our systems like bussing work. In reality, if the relationships we have with our kids, with each other and with our community aren’t strong, positive and nurturing, we will not reach our goals. A culture of encouraging and caring relationships trumps strategy on any given day.

Relationships are what keep our compasses pointed at true north. Relationships will be what gets us to mission accomplished. I believe this with all my hearth: The quality of our relationships will determine the quality of our outcomes. As we embark upon the busy, hectic and sometimes stressful holiday season, I plan to focus on interactions and connections as they provide the real magic of the season.

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.