Sometimes days go by and I feel like I am in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (remember that classic?). I am running around blades of grass and trying to avoid giant obstacles popping up everywhere. My vision is blinded by the handful of tasks directly in front of me. I’m operating deadline to deadline with no perspective. Processes do not change, I am simply stuck in the weeds. Anybody else been there before?
It is at these moments I need a reminder to elevate myself above the weeds. One key to being an effective school marketer is to consistently revisit strategy and purpose throughout the school year, but this is easier to say than do.
Here are three actions I have found that have helped me keep strategy front and center:
1) Use your online professional network to get advice and motivation.
We all have an online professional network to which we turn for advice, motivation, or inspiration. InspirED School Marketers serves as a core part of that network for school marketers, and knowing you are connected to people who are way smarter than you and whose jobs are dedicated to ‘life above the weeds’ helps me elevate myself out of the miry muck of daily tasks to think about strategies. Even if it is 5-10 minutes of reading through articles, blog posts, or my Twitter feed, this outlet is absolutely critical to keeping perspective on daily life as a school marketer.
2) Engage with your team about strategy.
If you have surrounded yourself with a talented team, you know each member has much to offer your school marketing strategy. Summer retreats are valuable, but talking strategy with your team should not be isolated to siloed conversations; they must be integrated into your daily culture. Is strategy a part of your weekly team meeting? Do you ask your team members their perspectives on strategy? Is strategy as much a part of daily conversation as your to-do list? If you answered no to these questions, you may want to reallocate your team’s time and priorities to focus on the big picture more often than you currently do.
3) Find a mentor with whom you can talk strategy.
Sometimes the best remedy for feeling like you are stuck in the weeds is to talk to a mentor outside your organization. We all have mentors within our workplace, but do we make time for mentorship to take place outside of our school walls? If not, we should. When you live and work at a school, your perspective begins to narrow. Stepping outside this bubble is critical to staying motivated in your work. Sometimes it only takes a short conversation with your mentor to get this inspiration. Make time in your schedule to do this, you will not regret it.
What are your keys to staying focused on strategy when you feel surrounded by weeds?