In a world of high stakes, sometimes leaders need to hear the words, “just start.” This is a mantra former superintendent of schools, Dr. Pat Greco, has said to her team and to leaders around the nation for years. When she says it, the tension in the room subsides. These are two simple words, with the power to release leaders and spark cycles of action.

Start short cycles of action

There is a time and place to be methodical and precise. A thoughtfully crafted strategic plan is a cornerstone for achieving big aims. We are rarely able to predict exactly how our strategic plan will play out. Instead, we use the information available to start short cycles of action to make meaningful change for our systems and our students. Each short cycle of action to accomplish the strategic plan makes us more informed and more targeted.

When we just start, we decide that the need to improve our system outweighs the fear of failure. Even if we haven’t figured out every step, getting started tempers our tendency to get trapped in planning paralysis. There is a fierce urgency for our students to reach the highest levels of success. We do not have time to wait until the action plan is perfect. Short cycles of action leave room for adjustment along the way.

If you find yourself paralyzed by the vision of a “perfect action plan,” but you know you need to take a step toward improvement. Permission granted. Just start.

Dr. Pat Greco now serves as a senior leader for Studer Education.

Adapted from an original post by Dr. Melissa Matarazzo.

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