From Waterfall Planning to Discovery Driven Planning
Nov 2022

From Waterfall Planning to Discovery Driven Planning

By Christian Talbot, President of MSA-CESS

Here’s how not to introduce a major initiative to your school community:

  • Conceive a significant positive change, like shifting from everyone-privately-negotiates-their-contract with the Head of School to a transparent and equitable compensation model.
  • Devote scores of hours to benchmarking research, interviews with other organizations, and financial modeling.
  • Secure buy-in from the Board of Trustees to fund the one-time increase required to upwardly adjust a number of salaries, while ensuring that no one loses any money under the new system.
  • Hold an in-person meeting to tell everyone, “This new model is going to make things much better.”

A decade ago, as a head of school, I tried exactly this—and encountered silence and rebuke in response. Newer faculty and staff said nothing for fear of upsetting long-tenured peers, while some veteran faculty felt the rules had changed mid-game.

If only Michael Horn had written From Reopen to Reinvent back then!


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