This month’s NWEA Connection Journey explores the question: How can school leaders create and sustain a commitment to change within their school and community?
In his book Leading Change, John Kotter describes the eight steps he views as necessary to create lasting change in any organization. The steps are:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Form a powerful coalition
- Create the vision and strategy
- Communicate the vision and strategy
- Empower broad-based action
- Generate short-term wins
- Never let up
- Incorporate changes into the culture
Let’s unpack the first step, “Create a sense of urgency.” Motivating your team begins with ensuring that all stakeholders understand that urgent change is needed. The specifics of the type of change matter less in this first step than establishing the importance of acting immediately. The following three questions can help shape the dialogue about change:
- What makes the status quo in our school no longer acceptable?
- What are the possible downsides of not changing?
- What are the possible benefits of changing?
Begin with a dialogue focused around an honest assessment of your school, discussing strengths and weaknesses, as well as possible areas of improvement. The outcome of these conversations and activities can help others see the need for immediate change. For example, your team might discuss changing assessment practices across the entire school. Or, you may see an urgent need for professional development in a specific area.
As you read through posts this month, pay attention to discussions and shared resources that flesh out and define other steps in Kotter’s 8-step process. This is not the only model of change out there, but it has seen popular adoption and use in all sectors of society.
Start your journey this month with the following discussions:
What is your experience with leading change in an organization?
Engage in the conversation by replying to this month’s featured discussion posts to share your thoughts about committing to change in schools. Don’t forget to check back frequently for new theme-related content and to connect with other educators.