There’s a Hole in My (Vision) Bucket

I failed a car inspection! Now granted, I drive a beat-up, duct-taped SUV, and this failure among many other problems was due primarily to a leak in my radiator hose. And, if not fixed, it will eventually lock up my engine, destroying my car. This small leak in a critical spot had the potential to destroy this massive car.

Parents, students, and teachers all have a vision bucket that has a similar leak in it. Life’s responsibilities take away from the exciting vision of the school that was first cast to us at the beginning of the school year.

Because of this leak, it is imperative that administration continually communicate and reinforce the vision of the school. Just because the vision talk was given at open house does not mean that parents, teachers, and students have it at the forefront of their minds.

When the vision bucket is low, people tend to lose excitement for the work they are doing. They are dragged down by the daily tasks and toils.

Administration should be gauging at all times the level of the community with questions like

–        How full is your vision bucket these days?

–        Do you sense progress towards our vision?

–        What part of the vision is the most meaningful to you?

These questions gauge the level of water in each person’s bucket and alert leaders to fill the bucket again by re-casting the vision on which account they joined the school.

But how can we re-cast the vision without the large, passionate speech before the school year?

  1. Ask the Questions – Andy Stanley provides three pinpoint questions that can be asked to reinvigorate and reorient individuals to the vision. These questions can easily be presented and a request made to answer on a notecard before a meeting.
    1. What are we doing at this school?
    2. Why are we doing it?
    3. Where do I fit in?


  1. Tell a Story – Whether through email, passing conversation, or in a meeting, telling a story that defines the school living out the vision can be powerful. Administrators should be collecting stories at all times that highlight the vision personified and sharing them in creative ways.


  1. Report the Progress – Nothing excites me more than progress. If I can quantify, comprehend, or experience the vision of the school in any way, I am reinvigorated instantly. Leadership must set goals and celebrate them to bring the vision back to the forefront.

As vision leaks occur, it is our job as leaders to gauge the level and fill when needed.

In what other ways have you experienced being reminded of the vision of your school, which reinvigorated you to your work?


These series of posts are inspired by one of my favorite reads of 2017 – Axiom by Bill Hybels. All posts look to take Hybels’ leadership proverbs and expand on them within the context of the educational realm.

“I think seasoned leaders ought to be able to pinpoint their guiding principles on the important stuff of leadership and distill them down to memorable sound-bites that can be called upon at a second’s notice to inform a critical decision.” 


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