"Is my school healthy?"
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  • Jonno White

"Is my school healthy?"



What is school health?

Patrick Lencioni argues that successful organisations are both smart and healthy. How smart a school is includes areas such as strategy, marketing, finance and technology. These areas tend to receive a bulk of the time and energy from the school leadership team and board.

However, successful schools also need to be healthy. Smart but unhealthy schools don’t achieve exceptional results—they stagnate.

Or, even worse, they take a massive hit and are unable to recover and close down.

Lencioni explains that organisational health includes:

  • Low staff turnover

  • High productivity

  • High morale

  • Minimal confusion

  • Minimal politics

How can a Christian school become healthier?

Any misalignment at a school leadership team and board level is magnified down the org chart. As a result, some confusion and politics at a school leadership team and board level results in a staffroom where confusion reigns and employees and volunteers learn that politics is the best way to get ahead.

Instead of banding together as a team to achieve collective goals in each school department, this leads to decreased productivity and morale in the school. To make a bad situation worse, low standards are often tolerated in the school resulting in the highest performing employees choosing to leave out of frustration.

Becoming healthier as a Christian school is remarkably simple, but painfully difficult. It’s as simple as building a healthy school leadership team and board, creating intense clarity at that level and then overcommunicating and reinforcing that clarity throughout your school. Again. And again. And again. It’s painfully difficult because the process requires immense intentionality, consistency and unwavering determination.

Lencioni outlines four disciplines to become healthier as an organisation:

1. Build a healthy school leadership team and board

Healthy Christian schools are led by healthy school leadership teams and healthy boards whereas unhealthy schools are led by unhealthy school leadership teams and unhealthy boards.

Instead of confusion and politics, healthy school leadership teams and boards operate with vulnerability, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and focus on collective results.

2. Create clarity

Healthy Christian schools have a leadership team and board who are clear on the organisation’s why, who, what and how, on the school's current top priority and on who must do what at the school leadership team and board level.

3. Overcommunicate clarity

Christian school leadership teams and boards of healthy schools overcommunicate clarity to their employees and volunteers. They communicate clarity again and again until everyone in the school understands these things aren’t just ‘the latest thing’, they’re the new reality.

4. Reinforce clarity

School leadership teams and boards of healthy schools reinforce clarity by taking everything a step beyond communication to systems and processes.

Over time—through immense intentionality, consistency and unwavering determination by the school leadership team and board—clarity becomes the status quo instead of the new reality and exponential growth and success is possible.

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