Every few years I realize it’s time to engage in a bit of purging around my home. This usually involves spending time in my closets, basement, and garage making decisions about items I should keep and those that should go.
Purging things that no longer serve a purpose or hold value (for me) provides me with a sense of accomplishment and clarity. It eliminates clutter and makes room for the things that really matter. And, with this renewed sense of clarity, I am better able to make decisions about future purchases.
Of course, purging is never an easy task. By the time I get around to doing this, I have no real sense of what I have in my closets or in the other storage areas of my home. The act of purging can be overwhelming, so, for me, the first step is to decide where to begin.
In my work with school districts across the country, I have encountered districts that need to engage in a purge. In these districts, educators struggle to stay focused on what is truly important because all too often they are bogged down by the clutter of an overwhelming number of initiatives and/or programs all competing for “space”. Amid this initiative/program clutter, initiative fatigue has settled in.
"The law of Initiative Fatigue states that when the number of initiatives increases while time, resources, and emotional energy are constant, then each new initiative--no matter how well conceived or well intentioned--will receive fewer minutes, dollars, and ounces of emotional energy than its predecessors." (Reeves, 2010)
Just as I do when preparing to purge, educators within these districts need to consider where to begin. I recommend starting with mission. Mission should clearly articulate outcomes for learners, and as a result, should serve as the guiding force in deciding what stays and what goes as all educators within a district ask one very important question:
“If our mission is to . . . how will this initiative/program/purchase help us in achieving this?”
If there is no alignment to mission, it’s time to purge.
With this renewed sense of clarity, educators will be much better prepared to make decisions about future initiatives/programs, but more importantly, by getting rid of programs/initiatives that no longer serve a purpose or hold value, they can now focus on what truly matters.
If you need help in aligning your programs/initiatives to mission--or if you need help in developing a strong mission that clearly articulates outcomes for learners--contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reeves, Douglas B. (2010). Transforming Professional Development Into Student
Results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.