Lessons from The Logan School
My work as a strategy consultant provides a unique vantage point on organizations and people management. I frequently find myself a keeper of secrets and a vessel for insights on topics spanning organizational design, culture, and communications.
Let‘s begin with a true story from my book Differentiated. Join me in The Logan School for Creative Learning lunchroom as I prepare to share the school‘s core ethos—the defining characteristics at the core of its mission, values, and strategy. Logan serves highly gifted students from kindergarten through the eighth grade.
“I walked to the front of the lunchroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning and took my place next to the projector‘s image. I could see the skepticism and hopefulness, too, on those seventy-five faces. Some stood with crossed arms; others sat in kid-sized chairs, with elbows on their knees, listening with intention. The teachers and staff were as ready as they were going to be, justifiably worried that we‘d done nothing more than write a bit of lingo to sell the school.
By then, I‘d absorbed it all—the school tours, meetings with the board, stakeholder interviews, parent focus groups, visioning exercises, and EXPO. Those myriad experiences brought together head and heart, the intellectual and the emotional. I‘d intuited their feelings, heard their stories, witnessed their mission in action, and read the research reports. I trusted my iterative process to surface early ideas and potential insights and then test and reassess as additional information emerged until the insights were inescapable.
The Logan model had proven that these kids were capable of driving their education from a young age. Creative thinking affirmed the realization. Logan was clearly differentiated.“
Faculty and staff erupted in applause at the end of our presentation, and some gave us a standing ovation. The heartfelt reaction was all the affirmation required. Logan‘s mission, values, and strategy shared a powerful connection.
Amplify the Mission and Values
As you consider your organization‘s mission, it is essential to reflect on the core values. Exemplars like Johnson & Johnson‘s Credo, written in 1943, illustrate how a foundational statement brings continuity to organizational life and solidifies its promises. Here‘s an example from The Logan School. Its mission is to cultivate the curiosities of gifted children. It aligns with the school‘s core beliefs.
- Students drive the learning experience.
- Children are infinitely curious. Their learning experience should be similarly boundless.
- The joy of learning is infectious and strengthens the power of community.
Recall that a mission is a statement of purpose. It answers the question, “What difference do we make in the lives of those we serve?” That question is compelling as your staff and customers seek to engage with purpose-driven organizations, and both expect accountability for mission impact. An organization’s values are statements of its ideals and beliefs. These are your organizational truths.
- Embed the mission and values into onboarding, hiring, and promoting.
- Ask your team for suggestions on how to bring the mission and values to life every day.
- Incorporate the mission and values statements into job descriptions, quarterly check-ins, and performance reviews.
- Add them to meeting agendas and group process guidelines.
A lot of purpose-driven leaders I talk to feel a disconnect between their mission statements and the day-to-day tasks of running an organization. The focus on changing the world gets lost in the meetings, finances, and bureaucracy. What happened to that burst of inspiration you felt while writing your mission statement?
If you feel this way, you need Strategy Studio. A free membership will introduce you to the tools that helped The Logan School rediscover its unique passion for early education. Get started with your Explore Membership.