2:2 CHOOSING SMART RISKS & MANAGING THEM WISELY12
This packet is designed to help
school leaders (principal or
leadership team) through a
“gut-check” to help ensure
that—whatever strategies for
improvement you choose—you
do so with your eyes open to
the potential costs and pitfalls
ahead. The process inside
is essentially a reflective one.
The more honestly and explicitly
you face the difficulties on the
“hill you’ve decided to die on,”
the more matter-of-factly you can
plan to minimize resistance,
mobilize allies and choose
It’s about TIME
• You could work through this
entire process in a half-day of
reflective reading and writing.
• Not really financial—just the
built-in emotional and mental
costs of looking at oneself
and the decisions one makes
more honestly than we often
take time to do.
Choosing Smart Risks &
Managing Them Wisely
Why go this route?
• Substantive improvement in student achievement will involve
risk-taking because something fundamental needs to change.
Choosing those risks wisely increases your chance of
success…and being smart about it increases your chance
• Teachers will take risks in the classroom (where instructional
change has to happen) only if they see deliberate, smart risk-
taking modeled by the building leader.
• Life is too short to live it as a harassed victim. Making your
own decisions about what needs to be done, and going after
what you need will create the conditions under which you can
succeed. Nothing less is worth investing your life in, and
we can often get more than we think, if we “work smart.”
You’ll know you’ve arrived when…
• You can identify the risky parts of pursuing your school’s vision.
• You know who you TRUST and who AGREES with your vision.
• You have strategies for approaching those you need, regardless
of the degree of TRUST and AGREEMENT you share.
• You know how and when you’ll act entrepreneurially in support
of your vision.
V I S I O N A R Y L E A D E R S H I P