“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them–that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu
As innovators we love change, this makes us weird.
For the mass majority of educators change evokes uncertainty, fears, and lots of questions. Common questions might include:
- Why are we changing again, we just got this computer, software, curriculum, etc… 5 years ago?
- I am not doing anything wrong, why do we have to change?
- Who came up with this idea?
- Don’t you realize how busy we are already?
Fear and questioning can often lead to frustration and anger. Next comes “we can’t do this because…”
- it is not fair!
- not good for kids!
- not developmentally appropriate!
The above happens primarily because we as leaders are not managing change very well. The Heath Brothers put it succinctly in their book, “Switch” and their Switch Framework.
Each (Change) has an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side. You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got to clear the way for them to succeed.
As leaders we need to acknowledge the emotional side of change. This includes:
- Grieving the loss of competence in previous skills and processes.
- Genuinely listening to the thoughts and concerns about the change.
- Sharing all information early and often.
- Providing opportunities for questions and feedback.
- Conveying the compelling “Why?”
Then we need to address the rational side of change with:
- Clear outline of the change process and expected outcomes.
- Detailed plan of the small increment steps that will be taken to achieve the change.
- Identification of barriers preventing change.
- Rewards and positive reinforcement for those achieving change.
- Clear measures to show whether change was positive or negative.