Monday, April 30, 2018

Richardson ISD Accepts Strategic Plan

"Board Unanimously Accepts Strategic Plan." That's what the headline says. "Trustees voted unanimously to accept the 27 recommended strategic action items from RISD’s Strategic Plan 2017—a culmination of the work from more than 300 community members shaping the future of RISD."

What's not to celebrate?

First, let's talk about what there is to celebrate. Creating a process that draws in 300 community members to discuss, deliberate, and vote on recommendations for Richardson ISD to adopt is good. No, it's more than good. It's great. I've always argued that "government" should never be talked about in the third person: as "them" or, worse, "it." Instead, I've always believed that government is "us". You know, how the Constitution says, "We the People..." Or how Lincoln praised government "of the people, by the people, for the people." Government that devolves into an "us" versus "them" struggle is failed government. In that respect, the RISD's Strategic Plan 2017 process should be praised.

But. You knew there would be a but, didn't you? The trustees themselves inserted the caveat into the announcement. Whereas the RISD School Times announcement says, "Trustees voted unanimously to accept the 27 recommended strategic action items," in fact the trustees explicitly did not accept "action items." The Powerpoint presentation shown at the board meeting says, "The Specific Results are approved by the Board of Trustees. The Action Steps identified in the plans are NOT approved by the  Board of Trustees to allow for flexibility and pliability as necessary."

In other words, the board considers the "Specific Results" to be something more like "Flexible and Pliable Results" and not specific and binding like the words "Action Steps" might imply. According to classic management training advice, goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. You know, S.M.A.R.T. Not F&P (Flexible and Pliable), which is all that the board committed to.

So, let's praise the process, but let's not consider the "Results" to be anything more than a very early milepost along the journey. We've still got a long way to go. But it's a start. As has been said many times, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (Laozi, circa 604—531 BCE).

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

Video from the board meeting explaining how "Flexible and Pliable" results work: "Welcome aboard the Black Pearl."