You get excited about a change initiative. You know it’s going to make a big difference with student engagement and learning. You can’t wait to begin!
But then, when you roll out the idea, teachers have lots of questions. They don’t seem as enthusiastic as you thought they would be. They’re worried about this and that and the other. You had expected it to be a very easy transition. Surprise!
It may be that you and the planning team have been studying and working on this initiative for several months, maybe even a year or more. During this time, you and the team have been able to study several options, look at data, and decide what tools/services/materials/processes will be best. Having come through this “deep study” cycle, you feel confident about the decision and committed to adopting the change.
But if you haven’t had many conversations with the faculty about what you’ve been learning along the way, you may have inadvertently left your staff behind. They are not stubbornly defying YOU. Instead, they have knowledge and perspectives that are relevant to making any change work. It’s important for you to show respect for what they bring to the table and invite them to suggest ways to begin implementation.
So rather than you telling them what to do, try involving them in slowly trying out the ideas. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. Go with the “Scouts” and “Pioneers” on your staff. Work with them and let them report to their colleagues about what is working well and how they are adapting the plan to best meet specific students’ needs. Then invite early adopters to get involved — and the late adopters will soon follow.
Finally, help the “Historians” (who are most resistant to change) by asking them to name what is best about current practice that they don’t want to lose, and then talk with them about how to bring those elements with them as they begin to step into the new initiative.
Managing a successful change process is really about respecting people’s natural tendencies, and understanding that implementing a change takes TIME. We all have a role to play in the change process. It’s unrealistic to believe that everyone will jump on board at the same time. But treating each person as an individual who has strengths and value to contribute to the change process will go a long way to creating an environment of continuous learning for everyone in our educational system.
You’re invited! We’re hosting a free Zoom call to discuss these, and many other topics, with leaders of breakthrough schools. They’ve been where you are now, and have some great ideas and tips to share. Seats are limited, so register now.