Common Language and Understanding

  • Common language is defined as a shared vehicle for communication that allows all members of an organization to use information and take part in the ongoing dialogues (Feely and Harzing, 2003). Using common language and ensuring all FPS patrons share common interpretations is an important requirement around the use of strategic planning.

    Results (a.k.a., Strategic Results or Results Policies) are the organizational products, impacts, benefits, or results for specified recipients and their relative worth (what end result is desired for whom and at what cost?). These results are identified in Board policies that instruct the Superintendent to achieve defined impacts at a specified cost. These policies are developed systematically from the broadest, most general level to more defined levels, and are also called Results policies. Results are monitored by drawing conclusions relative to whether each Result has been achieved or whether reasonable progress has been made toward its achievement. The criterion for monitoring each Strategic Initiative is outlined in the Board Results policies.

    Standards are specific end results to be desired. Standards are a major step in achieving the results desired in Fargo Public Schools. Standards are evaluated based on criterion including, but not limited to, the following: whether the Standard is met, whether the Standard is aligned to the results, whether or not the Standard is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, etc.

    Formative Information is a range of formal and informal metrics used as measures of continuous improvement by staff for the purposes of reflection and if needed, modifying practices that provide insight relative to meeting a standard and/or achieving a result. As a learning organization, formative information is measured and used as tools for analysis for the purposes of continuous improvement by employees and/or practitioners.

    In strategic planning, Formative Information and Results are sometimes used interchangeably to describe what needs to be measured to determine to reach desired outcomes. However, it is important to note that Formative Information is not the same as Results.

    The Results are the outcomes Fargo Public Schools is working to achieve. The Formative Information serves as benchmarks that provide insight on how any one area of our District is working towards the Result. Metrics should not become Strategic Initiatives.