ENTRY PLANS AND DWYSYGTD
Updated: Aug 2, 2018
If there is any single principle to live by as a leader it's DWYSYGTD. Do What You Say You're Going To Do. It's simple. It's effective. It sends a positive message to everyone in your organization, and most importantly it builds trust. The cornerstone of any relationship, trust allows a leader to not be perfect. After all, everything a leader does isn't the right thing, even if it was the right thing to do. Relations built on trust sets the stage for an environment that supports and encourages the risk-taker and innovator, two uncommon and under-appreciated characteristics of leaders in education.
When I started my new position as Superintendent of Schools for the William Alvord Unified School District this summer, I crafted an entry plan that served a variety of purposes. First, I wanted it to serve as a blueprint for my first few months on the job to ensure I stayed on track and completed a series of tasks that I believed were important to a good start, such as building a relationship with my board and board members, building my team, meeting a variety of key stakeholders, studying certain aspects of the district, and building social capacity in the community.
I also wanted it to serve as a document I can publish so that members of my new community can learn about me and my goals for Alvord Unified. To accomplish that I steered away from too much jargon and eduspeak and focused on big ideas and concepts that spoke to my leadership style and approach to management.
I also wanted it to serve as an example of the quality, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness I expect from my team. I spent many days brainstorming with colleagues before crafting the plan's first draft. Then I re-crafted it based on feedback and input from the many superintendents, teachers, staff members, and academic friends and colleagues I vetted it through.
Finally, and most importantly, I wanted it to introduce me as a person, separate from my position. To serve that purpose I personalized it and included quotes and other value-based content that provides a window into my heart, if not my soul.
Find my plan above under the heading Entry Plan. As with all of my documents, you are free to use it as a template or example to just for some ideas as you design an entry for your next position. Whether you're becoming a principal, assistant principal, district-level leaders or anything above, an entry plan is a great way to kick off your tenure.