Operational vs. Strategic

chessEach fall I am faced with the challenge of shifting from Operational mode to Strategic mode. This is an interesting transition that occurs each year, usually a few weeks following the flip of the crazy switch.

The summer months are filled with project implementations, equipment installs, and various other things to get done. Most of my time is devoted to completing projects that have been planned out months in advance. Once school resumes and things have settled down I find myself changing mindsets back to a planning and strategic mode. There are certainly times where these two paradigms overlap, but the transition is definitely noticeable.

The past two weeks have been a classic example of this metamorphosis. As I write this post I am in Omaha for three days at statewide ESU meetings, where we are learning and planning for trainings throughout the year. However, just last week I was scrambling to get schools converted to their new transport circuits, which is a project we anticipated would have been completed in July or early August. Shifting gears this quickly is a challenge, but it forces us to be flexible which is an invaluable character trait in our field.

This time of year also bears a change in my professional wardrobe. Instead of cargo shorts and t-shirts more suited for scaling ladders, I’m back to wearing shirt and tie as I navigate meetings instead of wiring closets!

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