It’s a great new idea!
Implementing new strategies can be difficult to execute successfully in any business. In the business of education, bringing a new strategy to life can be especially challenging. This is not because educators cannot implement successful strategies; it is often due to fairly common reasons, such as a large number of stakeholders or limited resources, (e.g. money and human capital).
What could go wrong?
Take a look at these five common reasons for strategy implementation failure and the solutions to reverse the course. These tips will help to execute a strategy that you can be proud of in the end.
- Lack of Vision – As a leader, the ability to develop or comprehend a vision is critical to success. For example, when a teacher is tasked with leading the implementation of a new tech tool, the plan must start with a solid vision of why this new tool is being introduced and what the anticipated outcome should be. Maybe the big picture vision is that of the principal or the superintendent – has that vision been clearly and directly communicated for adequate comprehension by the classroom teacher? Lack of vision among all levels in education will stop a new strategy in its tracks.
- Too much at one time – There are few things worse than feeling overwhelmed. But such feelings will arise if too many priorities are tackled in tandem. Rather than overdo it, look to your vision for the school year, choose your first priority and start one strategy at a time. Once the implementation is off to a solid start, move on to priority number two.
- Lack of buy-in – Whether your stakeholders are students or faculty, the adequate buy-in is absolutely crucial to the successful adoption and execution of a new strategy. Gone are the days of top-down management; these are the days of collaboration. Leaders who do not prioritize buy-in when introducing a new strategy will fail. Strong leaders are able to rally their troops by asking them to take part in the development of a plan. This includes creating benchmarks and progress monitoring. No matter how amazing you think your strategy is, if your team does not feel the same, your strategy is doomed.
- Forgot to anticipate challenges – Just like a teacher action research project, a strategy needs to take into account anticipated challenges and potential solutions to those challenges. This step in the process can and should include stakeholders. Sure, you may not anticipate every single challenge that arises, but taking time to anticipate and plan will keep unexpected issues from strangling your strategy altogether.
- Be ready to pivot, not give up – Strategy implementation can take an unexpected turn but don’t allow that to lead you into thinking that the strategy failed. Perhaps there is a need to regroup and make a slight adjustment to your plan. This is a process called optimization and it is an opportunity to learn about where this new strategy can really take you. Keep the overall vision at the forefront of your mind, continue to communicate with your team, and remember that one of the reasons educators succeed in their roles is due to the ability to be flexible and adaptive.