Developing a Mission and Vision

The mission and vision of a system needs to be “owned” by everyone in the organization. As such, they must be collaboratively developed and serve as a North Star, guiding decision-making.


Author Jim Belasco tells the story of Dr. Cooley, the
famous brain surgeon.  Belasco followed Cooley on his rounds one day and, en route to the operating room, saw the surgeon stop and talk to a man mopping the hallway.  They conversed for nearly 10 minutes before Cooley dashed into the operating room.  His curiosity raised, Belasco commented, “That was a long conversation.”  The man mopping the floor replied, “Dr. Cooley talks to me quite often.”  The author asked, “What do you do at the hospital?”  The man replied, “We save lives.”

If I were to ask a teacher, bus driver, food services technician, principal, custodian, district office director or nurse why they come to work every day, I would expect them to articulate our shared mission and explain how they help make our vision a reality!

What is OUR “we save lives?”

Once a vision is in place, we need to work to make it a practical reality! No one person can accomplish this alone. It truly takes ALL of us knowing where we are headed, getting in the same boat and rowing in the same direction. Collaboration is key.

The following presentations were used to guide a system, the Orting School District, in collaboratively developing a mission and vision.


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