Mary-Jo Hill

10 Jan 2018
"I am not sure who to get into bed with anymore". A colleague shared this quote from a headteacher who was feeling flummoxed about which companies, experts, charities and academy trusts that they 'ought to' be working with.

I am not sure who to get into bed with anymore…

It is all about returning again and again to the core values of your organisation.

It is indeed a complex, fast-changing world out there and the worry that one might get in with a group that actually might not work out is a commonly shared concern and one that can perhaps lead to shooting from the hip too fast or procrastination until what is presented as a choice ends up as statute. How do you know who really shares your values?

That sense of belonging and connection is a primal need, ranked merely third in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for human satisfaction and fulfillment, and is as relevant for the individual as it is for the organisation or school. So how does one decide who to get into bed with? I am beginning to lose count of the times that I am catching myself potentially misinterpreting edu-Twitter chat. Am I polarising my views just like everyone else? Yes, probably.

So, back to my humble opinion. It is not rocket science. It is returning again and again to the core values of your organisation and for every member of that community, staff, pupil, parents being able to articulate these values and to really know what it stands for. Find the purpose, articulate the purpose, remind yourselves of the purpose.

Revisit your core values

For a headteacher or a business manager being addled with consumer choice overload, it is this conscious articulated vision that will ensure the best decisions are made.

I love revisiting core values again and again as I am continuously surprised at the breadth of those that people hold as dearest to them. I have not yet met a person whose three core values (after a lot of drilling down) are the same as the next. I reflect with amazement at some of the old fashioned values of previous generations. (A great place to start is the Victorian Age). I am currently wrestling with the seemingly cultural demise of the value of modesty in this digital age. Of course, I am now belying my age.

So my final thought and question to you: What values are we losing? What have we lost in the last decade? Which value will be next to go out of fashion?