What'll Be Is What'll Be—The Limits of Planning

One of my now deceased grandmother-figures, Gwendolyn Vaughn, once rebuked me by saying, "Do your part and trust your part, because what'll be is what'll be." Endemic to an abolitionist mindset is a desire to get it right every time, because the stake is high—freedom and justice for all. But it is important to note that even with the most judicious exercise of the imagination, the most critical question-based analysis, and the most oppression-tested strategic planning, there are limits to our capacity as school leaders in developing the foresight for crisis-planning. What'll be is what'll be. The nature of complex, integrated, and interdependent crises means that planning for uncertainty, ahead of uncertainty, quickly multiplies the moment any single factor within the planning process is altered. That point of changing factors often causes anxiety for school leaders, particularly fixed-mindset leaders, who find consolation and reassurance in a methodical approach to leadership. For this reason, an abolitionist approach to planning urgently demands that school leaders intentionally invest in developing an agile and growth-mindset—an ability to digest new information swiftly—and pivot our planning in response to that new information even faster than our digestion of it. By developing and exercising a growth-mindset as the mental model for our planning in times of crisis, we do our part as abolitionists; and after doing our part, we must trust our part, because when it comes to crisis, what'll be is what'll be.

Notes

  • 1. Fairhurst, Gail & Connaughton, Stacey L. (2014). "Leadership: A communicative perspective." Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, 24.
  • 2. Franklin, John Hope & Schweninger, Loren. (1999). Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation. New York: Oxford University Press, 229.
  • 3. Perry, Theresa, Steel, Claude & Hilliard III, Asa. (2003). Young, Gifted, and Black: Promoting High-Achievement among African-American Students. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 17.
  • 4. Ricks, Mary Kay. (2007). Escape on the Pearl: The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad. New York: HarperCollins, 7.
  • 5. Hurston, Zore Neale. (2006). Their Eyes Were Watching God, 75th Anniversary Edition. New York: HarperCollins. Originally published 1937.
  • 6. Themudo, Nuno S. (2013). Nonprofits in Crisis: Economic

Development, Risk, and the Philanthropic Kuznets Curve. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • 7. Lantolf, James P. (2000). "Introducing Sociocultural Theory." In Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning, James P. Lantolf Ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1.
  • 8. Birt, Robert E. (2012). The Liberatory thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Critical Essays on the Philosopher King. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 166.

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