Strategic Planning - Eyes on the Horizon

Sep 11, 2022

Picture the swell, you can see it from where you are standing, the beach is quiet, waves building and challenge speaks to your soul.  Calling to you, enticing you to take your chances… willing you to take the wero laid down… this is the start point of a surfer’s journey… aligning also with that same journey of a school leader.  Why?  Not because of the thrill of the ride - a call from that which lays out beyond the breakers… the horizon.  That which lies beyond what we can see - the future, our future… our students.

The first step is getting your feet wet.  It’s time to jump in.  

The paddle… head up, eyes on the horizon… can be hazy but still they know where they are headed.  There are challenges… it takes time to paddle past the ‘chop’ of day to day.  Still getting out past the break is the goal, and so begins the paddle.  

Upon arrival there is the quiet… the space/the pause… stimulus/response… A quiet minute (whether authentic or created).  Take a breath.  The swell rises, the surfer maps their course.  They are aware of those around them, with them, also an awareness of obstacles that might get in the way.  The swell rises and it’s time to stand… take action and take the drop… Drop into challenge.  Navigate whatever accompanies the ride.  As a leader it is essential to stay above the breakers, take the time to pause, carefully consider the ride.  

What does this look like for school leaders?  As leaders we must keep our eyes on the horizon - our students… our future.  With clear focus on their needs, their growth, the potential of those in front of us, and those we lead, we set our vision. 

“Successful Wayfinding Leadership requires that we develop  ‘response ability’ and avoid reactivity.” 
- Elizabeth Kapu'uwailani Lindsey, Wayfinding leadership.

So then time for ‘Momentum’ - vision needs action/movement to bring it into being.  The surfer makes the drop, rides the wave.  Riding the wave…an authentic need to be agile, staying true to the vision, turning, steering, facing challenges to stay on board, to reach our goals.  Controlling the swell, bracing for a spill, light, flexible, navigating the inevitable challenges of staying on… rising above challenge, standing strong.  

Once again we steer you back to the concept of disciplined freedom - being agile enough to cope with that which comes at you… unforeseen challenges, navigating change while still staying true to core focus areas and ultimately the destination - the vision for your students/kura.  Covid and illnesses are challenges, teaching shortages are a challenge, engaging authentically with all stakeholders can be a challenge.  As a leader it can be hard to navigate.  Especially considering the need to navigate on our feet, agile, light, ready to respond to change, essentially still focused on the horizon.  Good planning supports this whole process, and is a challenge that we are happy to lean into with school leaders.

All around Aotearoa school leaders and their teams are carefully considering what the best path is for their people. The time is now…we can not stay in a state of challenge  ‘just getting by’ - paddling through the foam.   We have to lean into the challenge and keep the course… growth and change… those we lead and our own.  Our tamariki and young people need us to step into our space.  We need to nurture them to grow too - so they can fulfill their destiny, ultimately they are our future.  

“The true gift of the wayfinder’s journey is not arrival at the destination;it is who we become along the way as we fulfill our potential.” 
- Elizabeth Kapu'uwailani Lindsey, Wayfinding leadership.

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