In December I had to buy new tires for my car. Ugh! There is nothing that I dislike more than spending money on things that I don’t enjoy. Now I understand that if I don’t buy new tires, at some point I will truly pay. But tires, windows, furnace filters. Just not fun expenditures.
But buy tires I had to do. I went to a well-known tire dealer because alignment is included with the purchase of tires. Alignment is something that I understand. When I graduated from Ohio State with my bachelor’s degree, I bought a used car to get me started on my new career. As it turns out the car had been wrecked and was permanently out of line. I had major issues with tires wearing unevenly.
Wheel alignment keeps our tires wearing more evenly and increases the life of our tires. But what about alignment in a school district? What does alignment of our system do for us, and more importantly, our students?
According to How Aligned is Your Organization? (2017) in the Harvard Business Review, alignment is what allows organizations to succeed at their essential purpose. For Bexley City Schools, our essential purpose is the education and development of students. How do we organize our strategy, organizational capability, and resources to ensure that we succeed at educating and developing students? We could leave it to chance and hope to be successful. But hope is not a strategy, and so we must plan intentionally.
In his book, Above the Line (2015), Urban Meyer dedicates an entire chapter to “The Necessity of Alignment.” Not the suggestion of alignment or even the importance of alignment. Meyer understands the necessity of alignment if elite performance is to take place so that extraordinary outcomes are possible.
It was said at a recent meeting that I attended that “The people of Bexley want a premier school district, not an above-average or good district, but a premier district.” Then we want alignment. We want each child to have ample opportunity to learn, enjoy, experience, and grow. We want to develop students who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to make a positive impact in our world. We want alignment. We want to be sure that all of our systems, practices, and procedures are in place for each child so that equity of opportunity exists. Just as an out-of-line car will lead to problems, so too will an out-of-line school district.
Trevor, J., & Varcoe, B. (February 2017). How aligned is your organization? Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2-6.
Or online at https://hbr.org/2017/02/how-aligned-is-your-organization
Meyer, U., & Coffey, W. (2015). Above the line: Lessons in leadership and life from a championship season. New York: Penguin Press.