08 Jan

"start planning how to achieve those top five goals. And the other twenty? Get rid of them."

Pink, D. H. (2019). When: The scientific secrets of perfect timing. Canongate.

 THE MEAT (The Main Idea)

Before diving into Pink's directive, it's imperative to recognize that not everything labeled as a goal genuinely is a goal. Organizations frequently grapple with distinguishing goals from objectives, mission statements, visions, strategies, KPIs, and/or values. Pink's counsel gains depth when we acknowledge that these elements, while vital, aren't goals—they are the actions moving us toward the goal. 

That aside, Pink's core message stripped down to its essence is calling for discernment. Which goals matter, because not all carry equal weight. The key is to identify the ones that matter and figure out how to stay focused on those until achieved. Saying no to the wrong ones is just as crucial as saying yes to the right ones. 

THE CHEESE (Added Depth) 

Congratulations, you've narrowed down your goals from an unwieldy 20 to the important 5. Yet, there is a lingering, nagging question: 

"How do I know those are the "right" 5 goals to provoke change?" 

The truth? 

You won't. 

Sometimes you won't fully grasp the effectiveness of your actions until you're in the thick of implementation or possibly even the end. Why? Variables. As hard as we may try, in certain fields like education, our variables are often people, and that makes the variables inherently uncontrollable. 

So how do you discern if you have the "right" 5 goals? 

Here's a lesson I learned from military-minded individuals: "#1 is always right." 

While schools are hopefully not planning for life or death situations, the principle still can apply. In the military, swift decision-making is critical and there is no room for second-guessing. Once a decision is made, everyone trusts it's the best decision and acts. There may have been 20 possibilities, but the decision made is always right. This principle aligns with the trust we place in educators. They are hired and trusted with the most precious commodities: our children. We trust they will observe, assess, repeat, or adjust as needed. We may never know until the end, but #1 is always right. 

 THE OLIVES (A Surprising Element) 

The confetti from New Year celebrations has now settled and many of us find ourselves with the remnants of the ghosts from New Year's past. For some, memories of unmet resolutions may still haunt us. For others, it's the fresh anticipation for future potential goals. 

Now for our twist, let's imagine Daniel Pink's counsel and Marie Kondo's counsel birthed new perspective. If you're unfamiliar with Kondo, she is considered the renowned tidying-up expert who helps people transform cluttered homes into peaceful spaces. So, envision for me Pink as the Marie Kondo urging you to declutter your resolution space. 

In the KonMari Method, each item must spark joy to earn a place in your life. If an item doesn't spark joy, it's collecting dust. Decluttering, central to Kondo's method, isn't merely about discarding the old; it's about making space for gratitude and clean space. 

Can you imagine looking at organizational goals through this lens?: "Does the goal of increasing student achievement by 5% in literacy spark joy?" In the KonMari spirit, does it excite teachers and invigorate students? If the goal doesn't spark joy or align with the vision, then we should thank it for the space it occupied and discard it to make room for resolutions that truly resonate with the heart of the school. 

In this awesome fusion of Pink and Kondo (I think I'll call it the "Spark and Streamline Method"), we curate the educational landscape and discard goals that are no longer serving the vision. By doing so, we not only spark joy among educators but also provide the essential space for new goals to take root and flourish in a healthier environment. 

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