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Change Leadership: 9 Insights | Ecology of EducationEcology of Education

Change Leadership: 9 Insights

In Michael Fullan’s session, Leadership for All, he looks closely at what practices lead to effective leadership in change.

The main chunk of his talk looked at what he called, “Ready-Fire-Aim” dealing with 9 insights of  leadership.

1. Relationships first (too fast/too slow): The art of change is hitting that sweet spot — don’t come in so fast that you put people off, nor so slow that you get absorbed by culture.

  • Careful entry to new setting
  • Listening to and learning from those who have been there longer
  • Engaging in fact finding and joint problem solving
  • Carefully (rather than rashly) diagnosing the situation

2. Honor the implementation dip

  • After change is introduced the costs are immediate and palpable, performance dips. “Don’t expect many compliments.”
  • Perceived performance gap between the myth of where you could be and actual performance

3. Beware of fat plans

  • The size and the prettiness of the plan is inversely related to the quality of action and the impact on student learning.

4. Behaviors before beliefs

  • Most of us change our behaviors somewhat before we get insights into new beliefs.
  • The implication for approaching new change is clear. Do not load up on vision, evidence, and sense of urgency.  Rather, give people new experiences in relatively non-threatehning circumstnaces.

5. Communication during implementation is paramount

  • Communication during implementation is far more important then communication prior to implementation.
  • Communication in the abstract, in the absence of action, means almost nothing.
  • Need lots of two way communication during implementation
  • Leaders need a receive button as well as a send button
  • Think-Pair-Share in meetings: generating ideas & problem solving.

6. Learn about implementation during implementation

  • One of the most powerful strategies is to find different ways for implementers to learn from other implementers, especially those in similar circumstances who are further down the line.

7. Excitement prior to implementation is fragile

  • Excitement in advance of doing something is understandable, but it does not have much of a foundation.  Indeed, the fall in the implementation dip will be even greater if high aspiration precede it
  • (Over) Excitement can isolate leaders
  • Must be grounded excitement

8. Take risks and learn

  • The skinny on risk taking is known by all organizations that are consistently successful.
  • Making mistakes in the early stages of implementation are normal, and must be treated non-judgmentally as opportunities to learn.
  • Risks leave the status quo

9. Its okay to be assertive

  • Many of the potentially best leaders in these democratic times are often reticent to be assertive
Image: Being First
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Author:Jason Flom

Learner. Educator. Reader. Writer. Cyclist. Part-time Polyanna. Husband. Daddy. Founder, Ecology of Education. Director of Learning Platforms, Q.E.D. Foundation. Twitter: @JasonFlom. LinkedIn: Jason Flom; Edutopia's Green School Group; and doing dishes while pretending to be a professional underground rapper. "I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion." Kurt Hahn