Is Your School An ARA School?

The pandemic has made a mess of education.

It has taught us that nothing is certain and it has been the ultimate Black Swan disruption.

Living in an uncertain world needs a special type of response.

In Team of Teams General Stanley McChrystal leads the reader through his solution to the problem.

From his perspective, in order to deal with ever increasing uncertainty large organisations must become ARA:

1. Agile

Able to move quickly and with ease by proactively sensing and redirecting new paths to success. This involves reallocating energy to build new capabilities and to stop doing what no longer creates value.

2. Resilient

Able to withstand and recover from jolts and difficult events by bouncing back to a prior state or equilibrium.

3. Adaptable

Able to be modified easily to suit new conditions by being able to react to and absorb change. This involves switching gears to handle emergencies, reacting to stress and innovating new ideas. This also includes being able to adapt to different physical and cultural environments and conditions.

Before we start arguing that this military perspective doesn’t apply to education, you may need to adjust your settings and think again.

The pandemic most definitely is a war and so we have to learn from those with warfare experience. New rules of engagement are needed to tackle what is often called ‘the new normal’.

Continuously assaulted by the speed of change, you would imagine schools schools should be agile, resilient and adaptable and all those working inside it should be as well.

The pandemic has shown otherwise so this is our opportunity to learn, re-write policies and do things differently.

Within schools there are teams within teams and for ARA to be effective these teams need to be cross-functional, not operating as silo teams doing their own thing but with clear roles of accountability.

ARA schools have teams working together able to successfully manage disruptive, fast-paced change because they are characterised by authenticity, trust, flexibility, empowerment, compromise, cooperation and collaboration.

How does this all happen?

That’s the tricky bit but it comes from a gardening leadership that nurture and create an energised environment and an inspiring climate where things are stable within ever-changing seasons.

An ARA school is an anti-fragile organisation that doesn’t make excuses.

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