The role of the business manager is integral in schools. Facing a diverse and continually developing range of responsibilities – from finance and recruitment to leadership development and ICT – how can SBMs ensure that their sights are set firmly on their objectives and best position themselves to achieve these goals?
David Hyner – one of only five motivational speakers to be inaugurated into the Academy of Chief Executives’ Hall of Fame – shares his advice and guidance
As William Shakespeare once wrote, ‘Strong reasons make strong actions’, and he is correct; fundamental to achieving any goal is recognising ‘why’ you’ve set that particular goal in the first place. In order to be absolutely sure you’re going to succeed, you need to have a real purpose, or ‘reason’, for wanting to achieve your goal – a reason that is so compelling you simply can’t
Defining your goals
A goal that is large enough to make a real difference is likely to be hard work, to challenge your thinking and to take you out of your comfort zone. So, unless you have a powerful motive behind it, your chances of achieving it are weakened from the outset. This is, for example, very often the reason why those who have an emotional attachment to a charity tend to raise much more money for it than those who simply take part in an event for the fun or challenge of it. Those who really succeed have a reason, or a desire, to achieve that is so much bigger than their fears and insecurities.
Dissecting your aspirations
Continuing along the inspirational quote route, world famous athlete Kriss Akabusi has previously claimed that ‘Top achievers should be looked into, not up to’. By this he means that we should identify those who have achieved big in our chosen field and get inside their heads – understanding what drives them and really makes them tick. If possible, even ask them to be a mentor to you. Those individuals who’ve achieved real success – who, by the way, didn’t just set achievable goals, they set massive ones – can bring their experiences to your table, help you develop faster and overcome any challenges along the way with greater ease.
Making big plans manageable
Identifying any goal that’s big enough to be worth working towards is going to be as daunting and overwhelming as it is motivating and inspiring. When we work with exam students of any age we get them to plan their huge scary exam goals and then ask them to break each of them down into smaller, achievable steps. This is exactly the same from the school management perspective; look at your big ambitious goal and then plan all of the smaller, specific steps you need to take to reach it. You can then prioritise each of these tasks and take positive action – full of confidence and self-belief that you can achieve!
Putting a well-laid plan into action
So, now you have your list of smaller, bite-sized tasks, ensure you keep on top of achieving them by giving yourself constant reminders. Set your phone to vibrate every hour and whenever you feel it, do five minutes of high-energy, focused activity. I promise you that you’ll see your effectiveness go through the roof! Doing short bursts of intensive activity every single hour will improve your outcomes by 1/3 of one per cent per day. If you did this every day for one year…well, just do the maths!
Just keep swimming
The vast majority of people who set themselves a big goal give up before they’ve even started and they do this because they either don’t know what they need to know in order to succeed or they don’t understand what they need to understand. By its very nature, unknown information is usually where the results are; whilst your time, energy, motivation and resources are at their highest (at the beginning of the journey) make sure that you identify exactly what it is you don’t know or understand – and get to know and understand it.
Key to achieving any goal is commitment. Make a declaration to peers, superiors, friends and family that clearly lays out what you aim to achieve, how you intend to achieve it and your reasons why (as above). Too many of us simply talk about achieving our goals but those who ask for support and accountability checks from people they trust significantly outperform those who keep it all close to their chest. As a manager in an educational setting this means getting your team to buy into your purpose and end goals, empowering them to rally behind you and to share in your journey.
Finding strength in nuumbers
Another way of helping ensure you remain on track is to join a ‘Mastermind Group’. The principle has been around for many, many years but it was the concept of the ‘master mind alliance’ which was introduced by American author Napoleon Hill and was described as ‘The co-ordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.’
The idea has evolved over recent times, but the principle remains, essentially, that multiple minds are better than one. A Mastermind Group is where an individual selects a small group of people who have expertise in areas needed to achieve their goal – areas that they themselves do not have expertise in – and meets with them on a regular basis to brainstorm issues related to achieving the goal before committing to tasks between each meeting. The group then supports each other and holds each other accountable to achieve the tasks. Over time, the results are outstanding.
Happiness is the motivation of life
Finally – and most importantly – remember to have fun! Highly effective people will go out of their way to make the process of achieving their goals more fun than would
normally be the case. Introducing the concept of ongoing incentives and rewards, or just being within a workplace where fun is engrained into the culture, is more likely to result in enhanced productivity and ultimate success.
This article appeared in the February issue of Education Executive