Change is hard … but what makes it hard may be able to be controlled with proper planning and ongoing monitoring. Too often we have great intensions with change initiatives. We have the data to support the need. We know it is the right work. We know if the change happens lives will be enhanced and strengthened. But sometimes we just jump in without a clear plan to manage the complex change.
How many times have you heard, “we are building a plane in the air” scenario? Too many times to count – thanks to this past Super Bowl Commercial.
Change doesn’t happen over night. It doesn’t need to FLY right away. It doesn’t need to be built by a few. The key is to keep in mind the areas in the graphic above and communicate and revisit them often.
What is the VISION for your change? Was it co-constructed by all stakeholders or a very good cross-section of stakeholders? If you don’t have a strong vision, you are going to have confusion! Step back and look at what is happening in your environment as if you were a visitor. Do you sense confusion?
What SKILLS do individuals need to work toward the vision? Do you have a concrete plan on how to allow everyone to gain the skills they need? Have you considered the amount of time needed in skill development? Without the necessary skills, your group is going to be anxious. They are going to fear they are being judged without the skills they need. No one likes that feeling.
What INCENTIVES are you providing? These incentives do not need to be monetary. The gift of TIME is a great incentive. If the co-constructed vision is to change something, everyone will need time to study, learn, craft the skills so that true, lasting implementation happens. Feedback is another incentive, especially feedback that builds on individuals strengths. People want to feel valued. Resistance will form if incentives aren’t provided. For example, if time is not provided, but the change is expected you are asking your team to do more and more on their own time.
What RESOURCES will be needed? In education, resources can be tangible in nature but don’t forget that people can be some of your best resources. Many schools are moving towards hiring instructional coaches. These individuals can be a great resource. They can partner with teachers in learning the new skills needed in the change initiative. A second pair of eyes in the classroom, a sounding board with planning, and a colleague to reflect with can be powerful. Without a solid set of resources teachers will try a few things, but may not fully implement the change resulting in a lot of frustration.
What does our ACTION PLAN look like? Is it detailed? Is it flexible? How will the plan adjust over time? Do you (and your team) visit the action plan often? Or does it sit on a shelf or stored electronically? Is everyone aware of the action plan, understand it, believe in it and own it? If the action plan is not clear – you will have a lot of false starts. You and your team will feel like it is just spinning.
When all the pieces are considered and planned for, SUCCESS will follow.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
March 2015, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge! This is post #4. More Slice of Life posts from other bloggers can be found on Two Writing Teachers.
Disclaimer: This is a post I’ve had in my draft folder for a long time. I completed it in order to post in this challenge, but feel I do need to revise & edit. A work in progress!
Additional Resources on Managing Complex Change:
- Leading and Managing Complex Change (PDF)
- Leading Change (book) by John P. Kotter
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (book) by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Leading in a Culture of Change (book) by Michael Fullan
- The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive (book) by Michael Fullan