This was the last in the series of action planning meetings.
The purpose was for the team to do a deep dive on each of the final BHAG categories and create a list of existing assets in the district as well as map the action steps within each over time. We created a facilitation guide for this meeting.
Discussion of Existing Assets
- Purpose: Within each BHAG, we knew that there were existing initiatives and assets within the district that could be built upon. We knew that the school district would not be starting from scratch in any of these areas. The purpose of this discussion was for team members to share with us what these existing initiatives and assets are, so that we could be sure to integrate them into the strategic plan.
- Activity: Team members split into four groups, one for each of the four new BHAGs. The groups were given 30 minutes to discuss existing assets and initiatives within that BHAG. To make this discussion more efficient, we created a worksheet with notes on existing assets we had already heard about under each BHAG. We asked each group to review the list of assets under their BHAG and make any necessary adjustments. If time had allowed, we could have used a more structured asset mapping protocol, such as this one from Everyday Democracy.
Deep Dive on Strategies
- Purpose: Allow time for team members to engage deeply with the strategies within each goal statement, make any necessary or helpful edits, and begin thinking about the specific action steps that would be required to carry out each strategy.
- Activity: We asked each group to look at the goals and strategies for their BHAG and discuss the following questions:
- Do any of the strategies need to be combined or deleted? If so, how?
- For each strategy, how will you make this actionable? What are up to 3-4 action steps that will be required to go from planning to launch to fully operational?
We provided space on the worksheet for team members to write in strategies and action steps. We urged team members not to edit the overall BHAGs or goal statements, and to focus their edits on the strategies. At this point, the team had done a lot of work to reach consensus on the BHAGs and goal statements, and we did not want to jeopardize that consensus by allowing further edits.
Mapping Action Steps Over Time
- Purpose: Discuss the timing and sequencing of the action steps that were drafted in the previous part of the agenda, as an important input into the final strategic plan.
- Activity: Using the action steps that the groups drafted in the previous part of the agenda, each group was then asked to map out the action steps over time, within the following timeframe categories:
- 1-2 years
- 3-5 years
- 6 years and beyond
For each action step, groups were also asked to determine whether it falls into the "plan", "launch", or "fully implement" category. In other words, for an action step that will be started within 1-2 years, will it be planned during that timeframe, launched, or fully implemented? We again provided groups with a worksheet to facilitate this exercise. We also provided a "word bank" to help them reword action steps as needed depending on whether they fall into the "plan", "launch", or "fully implement" category.
Closing & Post-Meeting Work
The superintendent then asked each group to send their completed worksheets to one of the New Profit team members by email, and she then closed the meeting.
Following this last action planning meeting, we had about two weeks to pull together the final draft of the strategic plan prior to the May 15th School Committee meeting. We had most of the input and consensus that we needed from the Senior Management Team because of these meetings, but we did send a couple of questions back and forth to ensure our draft was something that the superintendent and Senior Management Team felt comfortable submitting to the School Committee.
Action Planning Meetings
Big Hairy Audacious Goals
A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is a strategic business statement similar to a vision statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.