Empower with a Purpose

Posted on April 14, 2016

Strategic visioning is exciting. It allows you to operate at the 10,000 foot level, thinking ‘big picture’ of who you are and why you do what you do. You get excited about new initiatives, new plans you are putting in place, and the reaffirmation of your mission. But we all know the most difficult part of any self-reflection process is implementation. And we need help getting things done! 

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By the time your school reaches the ‘acting’ phase of the strategic planning process, faculty and staff should have a pretty clear understanding of your mission. How, then, do you move from an understanding of mission to implementation of strategic initiatives? This process is critical as you work to reinforce your school’s mission internally and externally and begin to create a more consistent brand experience for your constituents.

We all know the importance of empowering faculty, staff and students to be a part of decision-making processes, but empowering without guidance can be counter-productive. Top-down leadership is rarely effective when seeking community buy-in to new initiatives. However, providing structure and understanding to your faculty and staff creates empowerment with purpose, and ultimately, a culture ready to act!


Everyone likes to feel as though they are accomplishing something. They want to feel a part of the process, they just don’t always know what to do or how to do it. Sometimes strategic initiatives have a long-term scope, but the work that needs to be done to implement the initiative requires buy-in from everyone. Developing achievable, meaningful short-term checkpoints with clear objectives provides your faculty and staff with clear ways they can act on overarching strategic initiatives for the school.


This may seem like obvious advice, but too often faculty, staff, and students do not fully understand the ‘why’ behind the things they are being asked to do. In order to effectively empower your team, take time to explore the rationale behind strategic initiatives. Discuss the power of a cohesive brand, and how they play a role in developing that brand. Identify leaders within the internal community who can take ownership of the short-term checkpoints you develop and spark on-going conversations around the ‘why’ of your initiatives will prove crucial to developing the momentum to act that you crave!


Finally, since ‘acting’ on strategic initiatives is by far the most challenging aspect of the process, celebrate what your group has done along the way! Here’s one example of how Proctor Academy celebrated the first stages of their implementation process. It is nothing fancy, nothing over-the-top, but intentionally celebrates the hard work done during the reflecting and planning processes, while establishing the ‘why’ behind this phase of the implementation process. You don’t have to wait until the entire implementation process is complete to celebrate, identify opportunities to recognize the hard work done by your school along the way as a way to continue to build momentum, buy-in, and further empower your school to live its mission.

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