Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Recommit to Your Personal Vision

The most effective principals possess a clear personal vision. They know themselves and their personal ethic. They also recognize the importance of vision to guide their work with teachers and other school personnel.

The frantic life of a school principal rarely provides time to step back and reflect on those beliefs that shape and guide your personal and professional life. The summer break can be a great time to stop, reflect, and identify those things that contribute to your personal vision for your school.

Preparing a written statement of personal vision provides an opportunity to think about the words you use, to consider their nuances, and to grapple with balancing multiple values and priorities. One principal I worked with described writing a vision statement as “the most challenging thing I ever wrote. But also the most valuable.”

A four-step process can be used to reflect on your own personal and professional life, and to identify those things of greatest value. These insights can be used to develop your personal vision.

Process for Developing a Personal Vision Statement

Step 1:Think about your personal and professional life. Make a list of what you would like to achieve and the contributions you would like to make. Describe what it looks like and feels like. For example, hovering in a hot air balloon over your life, imagine it as successful as it might be---what would you see, what would you feel, what would you hear?

Step 2:Consider the following things about what you have written---relationships, personal interests, and community. Examine each item in your list to ensure that it still fits.

Step 3:Develop a list of values. Identify the most important values in your life. Once this is done, review the list and rank them from most to least important. Remove the least important. Re-rank if appropriate. Check for relevance with your earlier list. Eliminate any item that is not relevant.

Step 4:Use the items from the first three steps to develop a statement of personal vision. Review and edit the statement as often as needed until you believe it accurately reflects who you are and what you want to be.

Clarity about one’s personal vision, or ethic, has been described as one of the most important things a leader can do. I hope you find this process helpful and would enjoy hearing from you about your personal vision.

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