Process, Process, Process

You are sitting in the principal’s office. The sun is out, the birds are singing. You have had 100% student attendance for the past three weeks, the schoolyard is spotless, two staff just dropped by to tell you what a great job you are doing and your parent survey has only blushing compliments.

This is exactly the time when leaders are at most vulnerable because they take their eye off the ball! Now is the time to sit up straight, go through all your processes and policies, and make sure that they are watertight. It only takes one staff member, one school councillor or one business manager for the walls to start crumbling around you. Maybe a student went on camp without handing in a medical form and had an allergic reaction. A staff member has taken a swipe at the school on Facebook and it has gone viral. If you wait for a problem to arise before you address your processes and procedures, you will paint yourself into a very dark corner. It will be obvious to everyone why you are all of a sudden putting in place a Parent Code of Conduct or a Staff Social Media Policy. Why are the School Council Standing Orders being rewritten all of a sudden? It makes leadership look inept and gives the perception of covering their own skins. The action is so targeted that the likely outcome is that the issue becomes more complex.

No one sends you an email to tell you that a difficult situation is coming in two weeks. They just happen. When times are good, smell the roses as you sign and date the final policy update.