Your move, or is it ?

Alternative investments are key for your next move. If not now, when?

What do you think about when the word “investment” is used in the independent school world? A new music centre, upgraded facilities or opening a new school overseas?

Now more than ever as a community we need to think outside the box to look at this one word in a very different way.

Alternative investments are just what the word says – alternative ways that you can invest in your community to create a return.

Traditionally in the investment world, this term relates to looking for ways to change your volatility exposure and potentially generate additional returns beyond the traditional stocks and bonds. Sounds familiar.

If you do this type of investment right, this can be a vital choice to create a diversified portfolio of opportunities and experiences.

Transposing this principle into the independent school world, it is time to look at different ways that you can use this to help navigate your community for success at this difficult time.

Since your community is unique, take a piece of paper before you start and draw a quadrant — it is time to learn from one of my personal development role models, Stephen Covey.  Write — one phrase in each box —“Deposit”, “Withdrawal”, “Alternative Investments” and “Building Mutual Funds for Success”.

Start from where you are and invest to where you want to be. Are you ready for your one page strategy to start with alternative investments?

As you begin to navigate the post pandemic world, it is important to step into the shoes of all areas of your community and look at where they are in terms of taking the next step forward.

"Our brains are wired to look for the negatives first"

The pandemic has affected people and schools in different ways and to look at alternatives you need to find out what you are building these on.

Our brains are wired to look for the negatives first, and it is with this in mind you need to move forward. Stephen Covey defined the idea of an emotional bank account, a metaphor to describe the “amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship.”

You maintain an “emotional bank account” with colleagues, friends, parents and staff. As just with any bank account, you can make deposits and withdrawals. But, here you are dealing with emotional units, which is very important as emotions drive behaviour which is the key to your school moving forwards.

Take a moment now to write down all the deposits and withdrawals your school community has had during this time. For example, a deposit would be your virtual learning provision and positive ways you have supported during the pandemic.

A withdrawal is anything negative that has affected your community, such as resignations of staff or the affect of students not being in school or boarding.

Do the maths: is your school in negative emotional equity or is in a positive place to continue investing?

If you get a chance, get people round the table so that you can do this exercise together — the more human perspectives the better results that you will have.

It is now time to think alternative. Schools have closed and some investment doors are closed due to finance, so to step forward you need to think outside the box.

"During the pandemic, schools were constantly innovating"

What would an alternative investment look like and feel like for your community? It is time to look at low cost, high impact opportunities to action to increase your profile.

During the pandemic itself, many schools in the sector were constantly innovating and were in fact creating alternative investments to support them moving forward.

How can you use time, staff expertise or community funds of knowledge? For example, can your school support a local initiative or maybe use a pool of staff to lead parental wellbeing as we come out of this together?

Think “alternatives”, write them down and keep going. When you get a pause, just keep holding on as there are other ideas bubbling that are waiting to come out — just wait and write.

Now that you have this list, it is time to build the mutual community funds together. The link between alternative investments and building mutual funds for success is action.

Now, look at each alternative investment on your list and write down the action step. Now, it is time to act.