Heads Up

Vanilla ice creamGenerally speaking, vanilla is a flavour everyone likes – some people like it a lot – but you know what I mean when I say ‘vanilla’:  having no special or extra features; ordinary or standard.

Everyone might like it a bit but it doesn’t excite people; fuchsia pink, pistachio ice cream, these get a reaction (love or hate, either is fine).   We might also say it’s beige (I should let you know that I like vanilla and my carpets are a shade of beige so everything has its place). 

The problem with a vanilla or beige vision is people don’t get behind it with all of their heart and soul. If your vision aims to please everyone in order to get them all on board, then the chances are that it doesn’t excite anyone (or at least, not enough).

Visions which don’t get a reaction mean people can sit on the fence.  I believe a vision should be a bit marmite-y; it evokes a reaction, and a vision needs to because it needs to be more than just words, it needs to connect at a deeper emotive level. With this in mind, you’ll find the people who want what you want and are willing to get on your bus and work hard to achieve it.

A London school I worked with had input from everyone on their vision; governors, parents, staff, children, and the SLT had worked tirelessly on it.  They called me in because they just didn’t love it and they didn’t know how to make it more meaningful for them; after all, they wanted and needed to be excited by it.  One of the senior leaders told me, ‘I was in all the meetings we had on vision, I helped write those words… and that’s all they are, just words. I can’t even remember them!’

I supported them create a vision which connected on an emotional level as well as logical, and the happy sighs they gave as they read it showed that they felt their vision, they didn’t just think it.

Top tip:  Get your current vision and read it, what reaction do you have to it?  Love it?  Hate it?  Meh?  Decide in 2 seconds to get your gut reaction.

About the Author

Sonia Gill is founder of Heads Up, specialising in supporting Head Teachers and School Leaders create an outstanding school culture. https://ukheadsup.com
Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/10506540@N07/3796415185/”>stevendepolo</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>