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Navigating New Waters: 5 Things To Keep In Mind When Crafting a 90-Day Entry Plan for Educational Leaders

In this blog post, I share 5 things to keep in mind as transitioning leaders create a 90-Day Entry Plan to guide them on the road to success in a new role.

Ah, the thrill of a new beginning! I’ve been in that boat a few times now. As you step into your new role, whether it's principal at a fresh school or another key leadership position, it's a bit like starting a new chapter in your favorite book. Exciting, nerve-wracking, and filled with plot twists! The good news? You don’t have to go at it alone. A well-crafted 90-day entry plan is your trusty map, guiding you through the uncharted territory of your new role. 

Here are five things to keep in mind as you craft your plan to help you hit the ground running—and maybe even avoid a few comedic missteps along the way.

1. Do Your Homework (But Don’t Cram!)

You wouldn’t show up to a test without studying (we hope!). Similarly, entering a new school means familiarizing yourself with its culture, challenges, and quirks. As you build your plan, craft a plan that includes spending your first few weeks observing, listening, and learning. Include things like attend school events, chat with teachers, staff, and students, and get a feel for the community vibe. Think of it as the educational version of people-watching at the airport. 

2. Build Relationships Like You’re Speed Dating

Relationships are the foundation of any successful leadership role. In your first 30 days, focus on building strong connections with your team. Consider including in your plan things like scheduling one-on-one meetings with key and various stakeholders (1 on 1 meetings with every staff member has always been pivotal in my journey). If you include this strategy, remember, these chats should be less about business and more about understanding who they are as people. Ask about their goals and dreams.

3. Set Clear, Achievable Goals (No Capes Required)

As tempting as it is to swoop in and save the day like an educational superhero, it’s best to start with clear, achievable goals. Include strategies and actions that will allow you to collaborate with your team to identify short-term priorities that can be accomplished within your first 90 days. These might include improving attendance, enhancing communication channels, or updating a dusty old curriculum. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the perfect school (even if you’re convinced you can do it by Friday).

4. Communicate Like a Pro (But Maybe Not Like a Politician)

Effective communication is key. Include actions that keep your staff, students, and parents informed and engaged with regular updates. Whether it’s through weekly newsletters, video messages, or good old-fashioned bulletin boards, make sure your communication is clear, consistent, and, most importantly, genuine. Avoid jargon and buzzwords; you’re not running for office (unless you are, in which case, carry on). A great place to start is sharing your entry plan with them.

5. Stay Flexible (Yoga Pants Optional)

No matter how meticulous your plan, expect the unexpected. Schools are dynamic environments where change is the only constant. Be ready to pivot when necessary, and don’t be afraid to admit when something isn’t working. Flexibility is your best friend in those first 90 days. So, take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and maybe keep a stress ball handy.

In Conclusion:

Starting a new leadership role is an exhilarating journey, similar to embarking on an epic road trip. There will be smooth highways, scenic detours, and the occasional pothole. But with a solid 90-day entry plan, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate whatever comes your way. So buckle up, enjoy the ride, and remember: even the best leaders occasionally get lost and have to ask for directions. And that’s perfectly okay. (So, if you need some help crafting or carrying out your plan - reach out! I’d love to help!)

Welcome to your new adventure!

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