Friday, February 4, 2011

Managing Change

Establishing lesson study in Florida's Districts involves change.  We all know about change.  It's coming.  It's inevitable.  It's necessary to make schools work better.  But managing change is a whole other thing.  J. P. Kotter in Leading Change (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1999) proposes 8 stages of change from which we can glean some tips for managing the doing of it.

Stage 1. Establish a sense of urgency.  Discuss with stakeholders: What will happen if we don't change?  What might happen if we do change?  What are the realities we face with this problem we want to change?  What data show needs?

Stage 2. Create a guiding coalition.  Think about and then recruit those who need to be involved to promote change.  Instill them with the sense of urgency.  Represent all stakeholders.

Stage 3. Develop a vision and strategies.  Translate the change needed into what it will look like when the change is accomplished. Identify the best practices that exist to address this problem.  Consider with your coalition how strategies fit within the context of the problem and the context of your capabilities.  Develop an action plan to implement the vision and the strategies.

Stage 4. Communicate the change vision.  Be sure everyone is on the same page—that they understand the good reasons they are doing this and how it will be done, who is responsible for seeing that it gets done and to whom they can go for help.

Stage 5. Empower broad-based action.  Trust doers to do their jobs, but keep checking and double checking to see that the necessary attitudes, competencies, structures and resources are in place and are moving forward smoothly. 

Stage 6. Generate short-term wins.  Identify immediate outcomes that can be celebrated.  Identify indicators of success for milestones and measure them.

Stage 7. Consolidate gains and produce more change.  Figure out how to keep momentum going.  Figure out if modifications and refinements need to be made to the processes.

Stage 8. Anchor new approaches in the culture.  Figure out what actions need to be taken to sustain the change and then take them.  Think about what legacy you are leaving behind and how you can get it to continue.

Thanks to Mike Tremor of FASA for pointing us to this.

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