Change Week wrap-up

Five days ... twenty posts on school change ... did we learn anything?


Miguel Guhlin says, "Just finished skimming your entries. . . . Now, what do I do on Monday morning?" Well, it's Monday morning. Here's what I think you do, Miguel (and others).

First and foremost, recognize that having an intentional, intelligent, systematic approach to school change makes it much more likely that your change initiative will be successful. Be proactive in considering all four of Bolman & Deal's frames. Think about the diagrams from Peter Block, Everett Rogers, and Christensen et al. and openly discuss in your change team (do you have a change team?) how you're going to handle these issues. Work on addressing Kanter's reasons for resistance to change before your new initiative begins. Utilize the concepts of The Tipping Point, Good to Great, and The Knowing-Doing Gap to give yourself the best chance of success. And so on. Sure, this all takes time, but failure to take the time almost certainly equals failure of your initiative.

Second, if you want to be a successful change agent, ground yourself deeply in the change literature. The more you know, the more you know. Read deeply, don't skim; there are no shortcuts here. I recommended some books to get you started. The free IBM Change Toolkit also has a wealth of tools and information and is intentionally designed to walk school leaders through each step of the change process.

Finally, understand that school change is the proverbial giant hairball. One of the reasons that change is so difficult to scale up is because it's so local. Each organization has its unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You must know your organization well and be able to adapt all of this to your local setting.

Good luck! You'll need it!

For those of you who'd like quick links to everything from last week...

  1. Change Week introduction
  2. Change frameworks
    1. Diffusion of innovation (Rogers)
    2. Bolman & Deal frameworks
    3. Can schools change? (Christensen et al.)
    4. Agreement and trust (Block)
    5. Resistance to change (Kanter)
    6. Change quotes (thank you, Seth Godin!)
      1. There are two kinds of organizations
      2. Change your organization's instinctual location on the curve
      3. The time to panic is today
      4. One, two, or three steps?
      5. We can't handle this much change
      6. Change diagrams (thank you, Kathy Sierra!)
        1. The zombie function
        2. Give them the chance to be f'n amazing
        3. Death by risk aversion
        4. Leave them with the "I Rule!" feeling
        5. Incremental vs. revolutionary improvements
        6. Change resources
          1. The Knowing-Doing Gap
          2. Good to Great (and Good to Great and the Social Sectors)
          3. First, Break All the Rules
          4. The Tipping Point
          5. Scaling Up Success
          6. Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.)
          7. Reframing Organizations (3rd ed.)
          8. The Empowered Manager
          9. IBM Change Toolkit
          10. The Big Moo
          11. Made to Stick (bonus resource!)
          12. Execution (bonus resource!)
          13. Change Week wrap-up
          14. Results of Change Week poll
          15. Vovici Online Survey Software

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