Drawing from research on traditional methods and new findings from around the globe, the authors offer an absorbing and insightful analysis of three major efforts of the past 25 years, outline the strengths and limitations of each model, and offer a fourth way for achieving dramatic improvement built on: Six Pillars of Purpose that support change Three Principles of Professionalism that drive change Four Catalysts of Coherence that sustain change.
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The Leading Edge series unites education authorities from around the globe and asks them to confront the important issues that affect teachers and administrators the issues that profoundly impact student success. The experts contributing to this anthology do not prescribe one method to transact change. They embrace the mission, trusting that teachers and administrators the true change leaders will venture to the Leading Edge to embrace the challenges and opportunities that will guarantee the success of their students.
In today's era of educational change where reforms proliferate, initiatives abound, legal responsibilities are constantly expanding, and both teachers and leaders complain constantly of overload, the challenge is no longer just how to implement particular changes, but how to choose between changes, prioritize them, and create coherence among all of them. This is a challenge for the teacher in the classroom, the principal in the office, and for policymakers in government.
How do we do the right things well, not get distracted by the wrong things, involve and include everyone who is affected, keep the momentum and the impact going, and prevent burnout by ensuring the change agenda is manageable and coherent? The contributors are largely researchers and not practitioners. The majority of the contributors focus on system change from a broader perspective than the classroom level.
Published by Teachers College Press, May We are living in a defining moment, when the world in which teachers do their work is changing profoundly. In his latest book, Hargreaves proposes that we have a one-time chance to reshape the future of teaching and schooling and that we should seize this historic opportunity. The success of school reform measures greatly depends on the support and commitment of teachers.
This book examines the realities of educational change from the frontline perspective of reform-minded teachers. It charts the perceptions and experiences of twenty-nine teachers in grades 7 and 8 from four school districts--showing how they grappled with such initiatives as integrated curriculum, common learning standards, and alternative modes of assessment. This book moves beyond the bandwagons of rhetorical change and examines how these changes work in practice for better and for worse.
Authors Andy Hargreaves and Lorna Earl focus on how reform proposals have brought new complexities to teaching practice and why major investments of time and support are required if teaching innovations are to become lasting and effective. Most importantly, they highlight the intense emotional demands that school change imposes on teachers, and they outline practical strategies for helping teachers through the difficult transition process--thus ensuring that worthwhile reforms flourish and endure.
It is time for the rules of teaching and teachers' work to change with them' This is the challenge which Andy Hargreaves sets out in his book on teachers' work and culture in the postmodern world. Organizational culture change is always the foundation of successful transformational change. While somewhat intangible and hard to address pragmatically for most leaders, organizational culture permeates virtually every aspect of an organization. What decisions are made and how they are made, the way structure, systems, and business processes are designed and executed, and the behavior of leaders and staff—all are influenced by the existing organizational culture.
Without these new ways, the new state does not come to life and deliver the performance edge for which it was designed. In order to shift organizational culture, leaders must want it, commit to it, and fully participate to make it happen. They must design the new culture to deliver what the business strategy requires for success and see that the changes take place. Organizational change sticks to the degree that leaders overtly model it.
If you want a high performing team-based organizational culture, then the leadership team must become one. If you want collaboration across boundaries, then the leaders must collaborate themselves. If you want a learning organization, then leaders must promote learning through active debriefs and best practice sessions, rather that delivering reprimands for failure. Moving in these new directions requires leaders to be willing to look in the mirror and assess their current mindsets, behaviors, and styles to see if they are supporting or inhibiting the changes the organization needs to make.
Even with good intentions to motivate people to change faster, if leaders are not willing to address their own ways of being, such as a behavior or style clash with the vision and requirements of the future, they are personally reducing the speed and probability of success. For instance, leaders may mandate organizational change, demand unrealistic timelines, not use some form of stakeholder engagement in their change strategy, or create fear of reprisal if change deadlines or budgets are not met. In so doing, they trigger confusion, overwhelm, and resentment. These approaches cause people to take their eye off of results, and instead focus on the difficult conditions for accomplishing the organizational change.
To alter these approaches, leaders must first acknowledge that they have been modeling detrimental behaviors and mindsets, consciously or not.
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Once aware, they can then use different approaches that befit their outcomes, thus raising their credibility and that of the change. Modeling change in behavior and style must be a top priority of change leaders. When the rest of the organization sees leaders personally changing their thinking, language, and actions, the conditions of safety, necessity, and courage to change are established for everyone else. Permission and positive expectation for behavioral change is set by leadership modeling.
Does this mean that your organizational change must be driven top-down? Not necessarily. However, if your leaders, at some early stage in the process, do not begin to make observable personal changes, the effort will fail because people will not believe it is credible or will be sustained over time. Put simply, leaders must walk the talk of the change they are asking of the organization. If they do not, they will lose credibility in the eyes of the workforce as well as negate the possibility of the future they are trying to create.
People change when they choose to change. They internally accept the need and rationale for change, make sense of it, go through their emotional reactions, then finally commit to it and begin to take positive action based on that commitment. Outside-in practices, such as executive mandates, top-down communications or forcefully imposing new practices, cause resistance, fear, and anxiety for people—not the conditions required for people to want to or be able to change effectively.
Therefore, they neglect to put adequate attention on designing their change efforts to minimize negative emotional reactions, or fail to build in strategies to mitigate them when they occur.
And they will occur. When change happens, people go through a very natural and completely common emotional transition. Once they have personally navigated that transition, they naturally become committed to any positive change they see as relevant and meaningful see Mistake 1. Until they have navigated that transition, they may be confused, aloof, afraid, angry, or resistant. These are all natural reactions that any person in a similar circumstance may go through. The key for leaders is to understand this natural emotional transition, and set up their organizational change efforts to minimize it in people, while promoting positive ways to help them move through it.
However, most leaders do not adequately understand or embrace the human dynamics of change. Neither works. Instead, leaders must design organizational change to address the human dynamics overtly, and early. Quite the contrary. It simply means that even in a worst case scenario, like downsizing through layoffs, you will still do this because it is necessary, but you will do it in a way that minimizes negative reactions and provides support for those negatively affected.
There are many ways to deal with the human dynamics in organizational change, such as more and better two-way communications, listening sessions to allow people to vent and get their questions answered, stakeholder engagement in the design of the change, training in new state designs, and executive open forums where people can challenge the rationale for the change. Leaders need to listen without defending or judging, tell the truth of the situation, and be fully transparent and honest.
The first piece of this issue concerns giving your people a say in shaping their future— asking them what they think success looks like, asking what they think the real breakthrough issues are, and asking for their best solutions and advice. Some leaders are hesitant to ask for input because they think doing so makes them look as if they do not have the answer, or that they will have to do what people suggest or else make everyone angry.
Neither is true, and the asking has enormous leverage for getting organizational change to happen successfully and fast.
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When people have a stake in the answer, they naturally have more commitment to getting it implemented successfully. One of the most costly examples of the absence of stakeholder input occurs when IT experts are in charge of designing and implementing an IT solution, and they do what they think best without engaging the users. Stakeholder engagement is particularly important early in the organizational change process, not just after the design phase is complete. There is much to be gained from early stakeholder engagmenent—in shaping the case for change, defining a vision and desired outcomes, determining customer requirements, and having input into the design of the solution.
Essentially, this makes for a better solution, minimizing emotional upset in staff, and maximizing a smooth implementation. Some leaders do not use stakeholder engagement because they do not know how to get people engaged efficiently. To them, stakeholder engagement seems cumbersome, slow, and costly.
However, it does not need to be this way. At Being First, we often use a hybrid of these as the situation dictates, including online conferences and blogs. The second element of this mistake concerns change communication. Most executives have become aware of the need for better communication during organizational change.
However, many still err on the side of using predominantly one-way strategies such as memos, newsletters, speeches, presentations, videos, or informational websites. The more emotional people will be due to the content of an organizational change, the more the communication method needs to be two-way, and ideally, face-to-face. It requires creating vehicles for people to react to what they have heard, discuss or internalize what it means to them, and then assess the implications on them and the organization. This often requires employees asking questions and getting answers relatively quickly.
It may mean employees discussing implications of the communication with co-workers, and then going back to leaders with new questions.
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It may simply mean having time to think things over privately. Only when people have settled in with their perceptions of the impact on them personally, will they be able to commit and act in clear and aligned ways, motivated from the inside, not just from the outside. Effective change communication is best supported by sound stakeholder engagement strategies, thus the partnering of these two issues into one mistake. Good communication requires stakeholder engagement, and stakeholder engagement can only succeed when participants are fully informed and aligned.
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Congratulations on articulating for leaders what to avoid. I agree with all 10 and especially not allowing for increase capacity. I would add No 11 — Accountability. One of the most underutilized skills of change.