Culture is a term many school leaders use, but rarely define. We have all walked into schools where we immediately sense something is special. I’ve often heard educators speak of culture as if it is a mystical concept that can be experienced, but never understood. I wholeheartedly disagree. Put simply, great cultures are rarely an accident.
Some believe that great culture is the result of making expectations clear. I believe this is important, but doesn’t make the difference. Others believe great cultures are created by establishing positive working relationships, or creating effective processes. Important, but not the secret sauce. Nobody gets truly excited about a great process, clear expectations, or positive working relationships. These might make a school feel good, but never great.
What is it that all our stakeholders (students, staff, families) have in common? They are all human. What is it that gets a human being excited? We all need to believe that things can get better. Great leaders tap into this and help their students, staff, families, and community believe in their own ability to make the leader’s vision their reality. I submit that as leaders we must have clarity about what we believe the future of our school can and will look like. Our vision is the catalyst for the amazing culture we seek to build.