The Complicated Task of Organizational Change….

Welcome to the end of this incredible course!  For years I’ve wanted to see change in education.  I’ve explored and experimented in my own classroom to find the best ways to get children to engage in learning.  I have had the passion to see change for a while and now I have the resources to successful implement a plan that could transform my district.  So many teachers want to do things the way we used to do them and they way that’s comfortable.  I think that phrase “it’s the way we’ve always done it” can be very dangerous.  The world has changed dramatically and the way we used to teach will not be as affective as it once was.  So how do we change people?  How do we influence them to adopt new ways of teaching?  The video below is one of my all time favorites.  Focusing on the why is so important.

That’s where the first of the 3 books in the course came in.  I knew the heart was the best way to reach people.  I’ve been sharing facts for a while and they have had very little affect on changing people.  When we connect to the heart we see changes.  We all want to know the answer to the question why?  Why are we doing these things?  What impact am I having on the world?  That gets to the heart and the passion in people.  One thing that helped me from this book was learning about the vital behaviors and focusing on those changes.  Instead of trying to influence people from a broad prospective we can focus on the vital behaviors that will lead to the goals we are trying to achieve.  We identified the vital behaviors that we believe will lead to the desired changes we want to see. We also identified the 6 sources of influence that will help us influence those vital behaviors.  This makes the sometimes seemingly impossible goal seem possible.

I was feeling much better about the plan after gaining an understanding of the influencer model and then we added on the Four Disciplines of execution.  My greatest revelation from the 4 disciplines of execution was to focus on the Wildly Important Goal or WIG.  When I get a big idea I’m often ready rush in and see it all happen.  In my mind it all makes sense and it will all work out perfectly….maybe.  What I fail to account for is the whirlwind of life that consumes much of our time.  When we are trying to implement a huge change or shift in our organization we have to take into account the every day tasks that create the whirlwind that everyone will be dealing with while we make the transition.  Especially when we are talking about the major shifts that need to happen in education.  We can’t just flip it all around in a few weeks.  People are used to the day to day tasks and that can’t just change all of a sudden.  It was this revelation that caused me to go back and look at the vital behaviors and really focus in on one that I want to see first.  I think that our students would benefit from more frequent feedback so that we can fill in the gaps in learning faster.  I think bringing this into focus will allow us to achieve some great results without adding so much more to the teachers that they are overcome by the new goals and the whirlwind of life.  That’s why it’s also so important that as we work towards this goal we involve the people that it will affect.  I want to make sure we meet with the teachers and administrators to hear their perspectives and adapt the plan as needed.

Providing more frequent feedback to our students seems like a more attainable goal.  This is something that I think will speak to the heart of teachers who really want to be able to invest more intentionally in the lives of their students.  Providing more feedback to our students means that teachers will spend more one on one time with a student and they will get to know more of the students on a personal level.  We need more relational time because learning is a truly unique process and it’s very personal.

These are the main goals that I have set out to try and implement at my campuses.  Of course now comes the hard part.  Dealing with the crucial conversations that will come up as we discuss this plan.  I want to approach my innovative teachers and have more discussions on how they see this going and what strengths and weaknesses they might see in this plan.  I think it incredibly important to have the input of the staff that will be involved. Teachers, for the most part, don’t feel safe bringing up concerns to administration.  Over the years as more tasks have been added to teachers they have felt like their input has not mattered much at all.  That’s why this is going to be a very delicate process. From reading crucial conversations I know that it’s important for people to feel safe or they will not share their concerns.  From my short time in an administrative role I have realized how important it is for them to share these concerns and for those concerns to be listened to.  There is a lot going on in a teachers world and it’s easy to forgot that when you are not in it every day.  When new ideas are being implemented it’s important to allow for safe conversations so that all sides can be expressed.  The video below points out the overall goals when dealing with crucial conversations.

I think these lessons I’ve learned in the past few weeks will really strengthen my plan and set it up for success.  I’m sure there is still going to be bumps in the plan as things change and as we begin the hard conversations.  However I’m excited to put these new tools and ideas to work.  I’m excited to see how the plan evolves and changes.  We need to take education in a different direction for the sake of our students.  It will be a process and with small changes we can start to move in the right direction.

 

References

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.

Patterson, K.,  Grenny, J.,  McMillan, R. & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high, second edition. McGraw-Hill.

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