September 16, 2019
The start of a new program year is a good time to remind staff members, partners and volunteers of your program’s mission, goals and expectations. For starters, put your mission statement, goals and expectations in writing, and post them for everyone to see. Refer to them in meetings and discussions. Prompt others to reflect and act on the values these statements represent by asking questions like these:
- In what ways do our planned activities align with our program’s mission and goals? Do we need to make adjustments?
- What evidence do you see that we’re moving toward our goals? Are we getting the hoped-for results? How well are we following through on our plan? Do we need to make adjustments?
- Are we living up to the expectations we’ve set for ourselves and our program? What about our students and their families, our partners, and our volunteers? Do we need to make adjustments?
Notice that each prompt ends with a question about whether you need to change some aspect of your approach (such as planning, implementation or behaviors). That’s important because, despite our best intentions, it’s human nature to fall back into old patterns and go with the flow.
Remind everyone that you’re all in the same program boat and aiming for the same goals. Encourage one another to fight the prevailing winds by focusing on your goals, implementing your program as planned and evaluating your progress. Invite everyone on your team to suggest changes anytime they think the “program boat” seems to be drifting off course.
When you fight the prevailing winds, you’re fighting for the success of the students and families you serve!