[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

Last month I blogged about the importance of first impressions.
In other words, what do visitors see and hear when they first walk into
your school organization? Is that experience positive or negative? This
month’s post will be on exit strategy.

No, I don’t mean your own personal strategy for getting out!
Instead, I mean what are visitors’ experiences when they leave your
organization? Do they see some interesting, motivating, or upbeat
message as they walk out of the building? Do they see
charts of significant progress the school is making? Are there pictures
of students doing interesting work? Does someone say something nice to
them as they leave? Are they leaving their visit with a positive taste
in their mouth?

Like first impressions, what visitors see and hear as they leave
your building can have big impacts on their overall feelings and
beliefs about your organization. Leaders should strive to have every
visitor walk away with a positive impression of the organization. If
that’s not possible, perhaps due to a difficult conversation that just
occurred inside, leaders should at least do everything they can to
minimize the negative feelings with which visitors leave. No one wants
visitors to leave unhappy, ready to spread the bad news about your
organization to others.

As leaders, I encourage you to take a critical, objective look at
your school’s entry and exit experiences. Ask yourself, ‘As a visitor,
what do I see and hear when I enter and leave this place? How am I
treated during my time in this building?’ Get others to do this too –
they’ll have different thoughts and impressions than you will.
Brainstorm ways to make outsiders’ visits more positive and
hospitable – you’ll probably find many low or no cost ways of improving
those experiences.

Oh, and did I mention that whatever you come up with also should help the general vibe of your students and staff too?

Y’all come back now, hear?