1. Attention Through Vision
•A vision is a shared goal/missionstatement.•A mission statement articulates:•a view of a realistic, credible,attractive future•a condition that is better thanwhat now exists•a clear sense of theorganization’s purpose anddirection
When leaders beginowning these problemsand taking responsibility for student achievement,they model a different andmore productive way of approaching problems.”
2. Assessing Position ThroughOwnership
•Trust is the mechanism that makes itpossible learning schools to work.•Trust implies accountability,predictability and reliability.•Relentless dedication engages trust.•All innovators face the challenge of overcoming resistance to change.•True leaders must assess the needs of their audience.•The assessing function requiressensitivity to the many needs of thestakeholders and a clear sense of theaudience’s position.•The assessing function requiressensitivity to the many needs of thestakeholders and a clear sense of theaudience’s position.•The leader is responsible for the setof ethics or norms that govern thebehavior of the people in the schoolsetting.
Source: Data from Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders: Strategies for TakingCharge, p. 82, Copyright 1997, Harper Collins Publishers.
Shared vision is vital for the learning school because it provides the focus and energyfor learning.Strategy I of the leadership model therefore means that a learning school cannotexist without a shared vision. Without a focus and commitment to some vision or goalthat the stakeholders truly want to achieve, the forces supporting the status quo canoverwhelm the forces supporting meaningful change. With shared vision, thestakeholders are more likely to expose their accustomed ways of thinking and redefinethem in more cooperative and constructive terms, thereby recognizing personal andorganizational shortcomings. Thus, developing a collective vision for the future of thelearning school is the first strategy to a systematic design for successfulimplementation.
Leadership Strategy II: Assessing Positioning throughOwnership
Successful school empowerment cannot occur in a learning school without firstassessing whether the position of the vision is acceptable. This process systematicallyevaluates the quality of the vision statement in order to determine how the goals of theprogram will be developed to support issues of school reform. Assessment of one’sposition on the new vision is a process that requires collaboration and thedevelopment of trust. Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for schools to work.Trust implies accountability, predictability, and reliability. Trust is what keeps schoolshumming—the glue that maintains educational integrity. In traditional settings of schoolreform, educational leaders do not take time to assess their position on reform issueseven when these issues are mandated through state or federal laws. The typicalresponse from educational leaders when asked why they must make these changes is,“It is out of our control” or “This is what the law requires of us.” A second type of response to the question of why we have to change is to use new mandates as anexcuse for developing policies that fit self-centered ideas on school reform. In eachcase, the educational leaders did not assess their position about why the school shouldchange. This traditional approach to positioning limits the ability of others toparticipate and sets up boundaries that restrict the development of a learning school.The restrictive leadership approach leaves the stakeholders with the feeling thatthey should stay away from making decisions on their own, and it probably alsoinhibits them from acting on their own. Using the traditional approach, assessing a
A shared vision isnot an idea; rather,it is a force of impressive power.