I am indebted to Dr. Pat Greco, Superintendent of the School District of Menomonee Falls (WI), for this week’s leadership tip. Last week, Dr. Greco shared the “Just start” mantra with the participants at our What’s Right in Education event in Chicago, IL. This message resonated with the leaders in the room, with lots of Tweets about the topic.
Why does “Just start” appeal to leaders? What does it mean? To me, it calms our fears that an action plan must be perfect before we begin implementation. It gives us permission to act now, even if we haven’t figured out every step along the path to something better for our organization. It means that a small-scale pilot can be a productive beginning and a way to learn more about how new practices will scale.
I don’t think that the phrase diminishes the value of strategically planning and carefully approaching big changes. Instead, it tempers our tendency to plan and plan until we are paralyzed by the vision of a “perfect plan” that’s always somewhere beyond our reach. It reminds me of the fierce urgency of students’ needs for continuous improvement in our schools and classrooms, which is why planning paralysis can be so harmful.
To better serve our students, parents, employees and communities, sometimes we can and must “Just start.”
Thanks to Dr. Greco for her leadership, @dkunsman of Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District for the linked Tweet, and to http://beautyuprising.com for the last image in this post. Learn more about the What’s Right in Education conference by visiting the link above to view our presentations and resources.