An opportunity to relax, and evaluate
The summer break has arrived, and with it some breathing space. This is the ideal time to sit back and evaluate the past few extraordinary months before we plunge back into it, headfirst.
Now everyone is finished for the summer, a number of colleagues have expressed a desire to take some time during the break to reflect upon recent events and gain a sense of perspective. This is something they have found difficult while responding to the constant demands of the dynamic situation they found themselves operating in. To assist you in this task, here we outline a framework to work to.
For many of you working in outstanding organisations, this volume of system leadership will be unusual, perhaps even unprecedented. You will have been dealing with health and safety, contract management and resource allocation; telling and directing. In your organisation before the pandemic, these areas were soundly embedded in your systems and this allowed you to spend most of your time leading systemically – facilitating, shaping and inspiring. You know the system leadership needs to be done but it is not what drives you towards excellence – it’s the systemic leadership that does that. You also know that putting the system right when you have got it wrong can be extremely time consuming. So while it might seem tedious, check your systems over for the umpteenth time, and once you have and you are satisfied, only then should you begin the creative work.
Move the bottom up
As we know, system leadership roles are designed to ensure that organisations do not fail. They focus upon the bottom of performance. The chances are that you will have already established a high level of agreed professional standards beyond this. Could you do the same for some of these new standards or guidelines?
Grow the top
In this period of continual focus upon basic standards and guidelines, it is easy to forget that upwards convergence is our mantra. So what have you been doing about growing the top? As well as the basic standards and guidelines, you have just experienced considerable change to your three areas of activity – teaching and learning, leadership and management, and collaborative learning. What have you learnt about these from this unique experience? Could you use your learning to lever-up existing standards? Also, can you learn more from links with others or undertake research to develop your knowledge further?
Review your capitals
Your moral capital has taken a bashing. How would you rate it now? The elements you may consider are trust, empathy, track record, working collaboratively, respecting diversity and communicating. You can rate them against students, staff, pupils, carers and the wider community.
The other key capital has been organisational capital. Have you learnt to use your resources more effectively and discovered the areas in which you need to invest in the future? How effectively have you managed these imposed changes to your practice? Have you been able to identify and capture the new knowledge you have acquired? If not, what are you going to do about it? Has the work you have been involved in demonstrated that you need to develop your social skills further?
Audit your collaborative learning community
Finally with such a sea change likely in relationships within your collaborative learning community, is it time to undertake an audit?
We know these questions might seem rather daunting. They are only suggestions and you might have already decided that the best course of action for you would be to forget the lot until you return from your summer break. If that is the case we hope you are allowed to do it.
Whatever you decide, we wish you and those you care for a good summer break.
Take care and stay safe.