Posted on September 28, 2019, by Marcus Jackson, Ed.D.

While attending a recent high school game, I witnessed something fascinating for us all. It’s being asked out on a date. During halftime, one of the football players approached a cheerleader with his hands filled with roses, balloons, and a poster that read, “Will you be my homecoming date?” The cheerleader was filled with energy, excitement, and enthusiasm as she emphatically said, “YES.” The other cheerleaders were crying, congratulating her, and of course filming with their phone.

Immediately after halftime, the varsity cheerleaders took a break. While on the break, the cheerleader and her mom began discussing the homecoming dance and went into an in-depth discussion regarding planning. There were a few words that stuck out to me. These words were: goals, dependency, backup plan, and timeline. Additionally, there was an in-depth discussion on an alternative method if something went wrong in a variety of areas.

Last night, a similar discussion occurred while engaged in sincere dialogue with a multi-millionaire. During the conversation, the words’ goals, timeline, and dependency surfaced again. I immediately went into my educators’ zone, and the acronym “GOT A DATE” became a discussion. I was in awe as to how similar the entrepreneur’s daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual mindset was too effective leadership. So, what does GOT A DATE mean?

G – Goals

To be successful, you must have goals. According to this entrepreneur, goals must be set daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Additionally, they must be high. So high that many will think you’re insane and urgency must be evident. What are your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for your students and school?

O – Objectives

Objects must be clear and concise. It’s what you’re aiming to achieve. It also includes the strategies that people will use to get there.

T – Timeline

A timeline is a schedule of events and procedures. You must have a timeline for achieving each goal. Having this timeline minimizes procrastination and provides a visual to where you are regarding your goals

A – Adversity

What can go wrong will probably go wrong. Foresee it as you can’t avoid it as it’s a part of the process. Perseverance is a necessity, and it’s imperative to stay focused on the goal.

D – Dependency

Dependency – something dependent on something else. John Maxwell states, “for the person who is trying to do it alone, the game is over.” You will always have to depend on others. Everyone has a penny, nickel, or dime to contribute to the quarter of success of the school.

A – Anticipate

Anticipate challenges and obstacles and prepare and have a plan for them. Fire drills, tornado drills, or an active shooter drill are conventional. However, are we planning a lesson with each child in mind? Is there a plan when the lesson or assessment bombs? If not, there should be.

T – Team

There are three T’s that are critical to the success of any organization. The first is you must have a team of qualified, dedicated, and determined members. Secondly, that team must be talented. Finally, the team must be willing to put in the time to achieve the goals. You must surround yourself with good and smart people.

E – Exposure & Expectation

Exposure is the act of exposing, laying open, or uncovering. As you pursue your goals, it’s essential to be willing to expose your weaknesses and seek assistance in that area. The attitude and willingness of the leader to be vulnerable are paramount. In moments of despair, the message must always be “We got this! Stay focus on the goals, and this too will pass.”

The “Got A Date” discussion between the cheerleader and her mom and the multi-millionaire applies to classrooms and school improvement. Goals and objectives must be clear and concise. There must be a timeline to monitor this progress, and one must be prepared to persevere through adversity. Also, no matter how talented you are, the task is too enormous to do alone. Additionally, anticipating and planning for obstacles with your talented team is essential. Finally, expect the unexpected, but expect to reach the goals.