Posts Tagged 'stretch goals'

6 important contradictions in life and work

Most of us find it difficult to simultaneously hold in our minds two or more contradictory beliefs. 

Nonetheless, sometimes one idea and its opposite are both true.

Here are several examples:

1. Plan carefully and persist in doing what’s important to you and to others, but be prepared to improvise because of unanticipated events. Plan, but hold those plans loosely.

2. Recognize the value of expertise and research, but also understand their limitations. Be open to new learning while simultaneously inquiring about the evidence upon which recommendations are being made.

3. Trust yourself, but ask respected colleagues and friends to offer their perspectives on your experiences and point of view.

4. Know that one person or a small group can change the trajectory of an organization, but don’t underestimate the power of systems and processes to affect what we think and do each day.

5. Conventional wisdom may offer guidance, but don’t unconditionally follow its dictates. In fact, make it a habit to surface and thoroughly examine the often unexamined assumptions that guide our lives.

6. Aim big. There are situations that require large, seemingly impossible goals to stretch us out of our comfort zones, but remember that such stretch goals are achieved and celebrated in incremental steps.

What contradictions would you add to this list?

Why scripts and formula cannot continuously improve teaching and learning


Each week this summer I’m introducing a blog theme that connects popular and important posts from recent years. Each theme offers a number of perspectives on a perennial challenge of school leadership.

This week’s theme is “creating the future of your school.”

Most problems faced by K-12 teachers and administrators require adaptive solutions—that is, solutions for which there is no one-right answer or script.

Viewed from this perspective, educators’ work is more like the improvisation of jazz musicians than the adherence to a musical score of performers in a symphony orchestra. That means that educators must continuously invent their way forward while keeping foremost in their minds the ambitious goals for student success that inspire and guide their work.

I encourage you to scroll through articles in this thread to find those that match your interests.

In addition, I encourage you to take a closer look at these essays:

Choose stretch goals over modest, achievable targets”

“Your answer to these two questions could change your school forever”

“The importance of thinking very big and very small”


Choose stretch goals over modest, achievable targets


Successful leadership can sometimes be reduced to a small number of fundamental choices. Once those choices are made, they guide decisions and behavior in dozens of situations each week.

One of those choices is between “stretch goals” and modest, achievable outcomes.

A stretch goal, as its name implies, is so ambitious that its achievement almost always requires individuals to leave their comfort zones to make deep changes in their beliefs, understanding, and/or habits.

Like all big goals, stretch goals are achieved through many small daily actions over time.

Modest, achievable goals are attractive because most people prefer almost certain  success to the risk of failure inherent in stretch goals.

In addition, modest, achievable goals typically allow us to work within the comfort of our current beliefs, understandings, and practices.

Stretch goals have several benefits:

• Because stretch goals are almost always by their very nature inspirational, they create energy and bring out the best in ourselves and the school community.

• Because of the significant changes demanded by stretch goals, they typically produce outcomes that far exceed those originally thought possible.

• Because stretch goals are achieved through the accumulation of countless daily actions, they offer many en route milestones, each of which provides an opportunity to celebrate progress.

Stretch goals are risky, and they are demanding. But they also hold out the prospect of possibilities that far exceed those we usually imagine.

That prospect makes the pursuit of stretch goals worth the risk, particularly when students are the beneficiaries of our extraordinary efforts.


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