Sometimes, hidden pearls of strategic planning wisdom are found in the remotest of locations. The North Slope Borough School District (NSBSD), headquartered in Barrow, Alaska, serves a population of roughly 10,000 residents. The Borough, larger than the state of Utah, extends across nearly 95,000 square miles of both land and sea.
For the past ten years, OnStrategy has been working tightly with the NSBSD’s Superintendent and administration to use strategic planning as a catalyst for enduring, positive change within the district and the communities it serves. Each year, as strategic objectives are moved forward, the OnStrategy team and the administration are reminded that while big events matter, it’s the smaller, more subtle strides that often have the greatest impact.
It’s a lesson every organization can learn from.
For example, fostering community spirit is one of the district’s strategic goals. And while the big events matter, like open houses or a direct initiative to communicate with parents and the community, at the end of the day it’s the small behavioral changes that produce the biggest results.
It’s the teacher who makes a conscious effort to connect with parents; being open and receptive so questions are freely asked of the district; school administrators showing up at football games; a principal that participates in community events. It’s a collection of little things that add up.
So what are the little things, which are often overlooked in your organization that would have significant, even dramatic impact, on achieving your strategic objectives?
- What are the desired behaviors of staff and management?
- How could these behaviors be uniformly and consistently practiced?
- How would they change the outcome of your strategic objectives?
Chances are your organization is coming into another annual planning cycle. If you haven’t already asked these questions to yourself, your planning team, and key stakeholders within your staff, now is the time to model yourself after the actions of a remote Alaskan school district.