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What is meant by "Strategic Vision"?

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by totallyflipped, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. I have a DH interview in a few weeks and feel that one area/question I am not so confident about is Strategic Vision.
    Any advice from SMT members? Does it just relate to the School development plan? Is there a book or report or something that might help me?
    How might this question manifest itself in interview?
    I had an interview last year and was totally unprepared for a question on a vision for a 21st Century School. Waffled like a muppet and was unsuccesful.
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    TF
     
  2. I have mixed feelings about your plight.
    'Strategic Vision' is one of those management speak phrases.
    It actually means nothing much at all in all probability.

    If someone asks you what your strategic vision is, you should probably ask them to explain what they mean in simple language. They probably wont be able to, otherwise they would have asked a clearer question in the first place.
    The words 'strategy' and 'vision' are each weasel words. Wikepedia says that Weasel words is a term for words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated

    A 'strategy' is really a way of achieving a goal, i.e. a plan, but some people will use it in a way to suggest that there is something grander to it. So let's take it that you are being asked for a plan.
    A 'vision' is something you can see, imagine or envisage. i.e. it is a view.
    So you are being asked for a plan for view, which is pretty stupid really.
    Now if you were being asked instead to outline what you see as your priorities for the role that you would be taking on, what the challenges might be, how you would overcome them and what you would hope to achieve over time, then that makes altogether much better sense.
    Assume that this is what they mean really except that they have been indoctrinated to use silly management-speak phrases instead of simple English.
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Excellent answer, juliamac.
     
  4. Thanks Juliamac, that gives me something to go on. Strategic Vision sounds so high powered but you have simplified it for me. I will get my thinking cap on.
    TF
     
  5. Linked to this how could you ensure your answers during an interview for a senior post were "more strategic"? I gets lots of lovely feedback; children/staff/parents loved you, your lesson/assembly/presentation was brilliant, you completed the task well but.......your answers in the interview just weren't "strategic enough" (usually linked to what governors thought).

    Would really appreciate any suggestions on how to improve on this.
    Thanks
     
  6. Strategic vision is about where the school should or could go in the next 3-5 years. Strategic planning is about what needs to be put in place to make that vision a reality (or as much of it as possible). You need to take account of both the capability of the school (i.e. the staff, pupils, parents) and their capacity to change/improve.
    Stategic leadrship is also about how you enable other staff in the school to lead. If you are looking to move to SLT and all your answers are about what you will personally do then you are missing the point. Schoo leaders need to be able to effectively delegate but much, much more importantly need to be able to distribute leadership effectively. That is how you can build capacity in your school and enable it to progress.
    Some of these are quite philosophical points but are, in reality, of immense practical importance in converting a strategic vision into a strategic plan and thence into successful outcomes.
    There is much much more to the whole notion/idea of strategic vision and planning and how to turn the 'vision' into a reality and the impact this has on both yourself and others. You might be interested in these texts as initial forays into reading on leadership generally and, more particulalrly, strategic leadership:
    Davies, Ellison and Bowring-Carr (2005) School Leadership in the 21st Century 2ed developing a strategic approach
    Everard & Morris (1996) Effective School Management 3ed
    Hragreaves & Fink (2006) Sustainable Leadership
    Good luck.
     

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