Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The First Point of Contact

September 17, 2014

Communicating the vision of an organization, especially a school district, is a very important task for the school leader. Besides all of the issues and problems of school management that turn our schools into a "wack-a-mole" style of leadership, communicating a unifying mission and direction to teachers and staff, as well as students and the community at large is extremely important. 

For many years I have been intrigued how message is conveyed in not only schools but in organizations at large. In this case I came across a wonderful piece from Guy Kawasaki's column and I felt there was something inherently important for our 21st Century School Leaders.

The article, by Anna Guerrero on the Canva Blog (1) outlines the process of sending an impression or message to constituents via the medium of the album cover. She outlines a wonderful step-by-step process to engage an artist to create an impressive and captivating album cover that could convey a message, a theme, and a passion. 

Now, some of you might be saying the obvious, such as " What does this have to do about conveying a leader's message?" to which I would say, "What doesn't it do to teach leaders about conveying a mission?"

According to Guerrero, "Album covers are often the first point of contact between listeners and your music or audio." So, what is your "first point of contact" that parents and the community at large see or hear about your school? For some school facilities it is usually an ominous presence at the entrance of the school warning what will not be tolerated, or allowed, or used. Personally, not the most inviting experience some people have on their first contact with their child's school. I realize much of that kind of forewarning is necessary in this gun crazy culture, but think about the message it conveys to the parents when they bring their pride and joy into your facility for the most precious years of their lives. 

I would encourage school leaders to process the steps of the creation of the album cover and think about what their message and "first point of contact" should be with their teachers, staff, students and community. In fact, employ the 10-step process as a faculty meeting activity so teachers could do the same. 

Message and communicating it correctly are important tools in the repertoire of the passionate, and focused 21st Century School Leader.

(1) Guerrero, Anna. "10 Tips to Boost Your Reach With Album Cover Design." The Canva Blog. September 17, 2014. Accessed September 17, 2014.