Calling all leaders: Hope is not a strategy

5 steps to help you harness the hopes and dreams of students and staff

More than one way to reach a goal. If you have only one path or method to reach your goals, the focus may turn to obstacles. Without key problem-solving skills, people may abandon the quest. Our role as leaders is to encourage effort, prototyping, and grit to try many paths.

2. Calibrate goals to age and circumstances.
People tend to give up hope the minute they see that success is unattainable. There are several ways to keep success attainable. It’s far better to help someone feel that she hasn’t yet learned something than that she has failed at trying. If a goal is cognitively or physically unattainable due to age, we must break that goal and action down for current age or circumstances.

3. Make personal connections.
Manny Scott (@ManuelScott) says everything starts with building relationships. I agree. Nothing helps more than leaders who support a teacher or a teacher who shows that he believes in and cares about a student. People learn just as much for someone as from someone. We have all had that person who made a significant difference in our lives. Be that person.

4. Celebrate success.
Focus more on what someone does right rather than what she does wrong. People can absorb only a limited amount of correction, so focus your feedback on growth and celebrate the effort and success.

5. Be passionate.
Who are the individuals you most admire? Chances are that we choose those who perform with genuine passion. For me, it’s Manny Scott. He and General Colin Powell were keynote speakers at ASCD Empower 18 earlier this year and their message was powerful because of their passion. I attended Model School 2017 event and was in Weston Kieschnick’s (@wes_kieschnick) pre-conference session; his content was relevant but it was his passion for teaching and the knowledge he was empowering us with that made that session so impactful for me.

Those are just a couple of the many people I can think of. Passion touches us by saying, “I believe in this, and so can you.” Passion doesn’t mean jumping off the table or the loudest cheerleader; it means loving what you are doing and expressing that love the same way the people you admire express it.

So, to all the leaders and educators out there, encourage someone to follow their hopes and dreams by setting clear and attainable goals, developing multiple strategies to reach those goals, and encouraging them to stay motivated to use the strategies to attain the goals, even when the going gets tough.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at