“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
My work as a school leader brings me to change management often. From graduate school, to post doctoral leadership programs I have received a great deal of information about change management. Often I use a graphic from the Satir Model of change to illustrate the processes related to the systems view of change.
In this model shown in the image below, change is indicated as the “foreign element” intorduced into the system. Following this change or foreign element, there is chaos in the system.
This “chaos” is critical to the management of that particular change. How the change is managed determines success or failure with respect to that which is being sought. In education, as an “industry” we have often been criticized (justified in my opinion) for resisting change. TTWWADI “twadiddy” or That’s The Way We Always Do It are words that kill change – they are words that stymie change – these are words that have negative impacts on organizations including educational organizations. In the Deerfield Public Schools we have embarked on many changes since July 1, 2013.
The first change, the un blocking of Twitter on July 1, 2013, set in motion many more foreign elements that have had profoundly powerful impacts on learning and teaching for more than 3000 students, 250 teachers, 450 employees, 1850 families, and the more than 20,000 residents of the communities the District Serves. Twitter powerfully opened up the minds, hearts, creative communication skills, narrative about schooling, and branding for the school district. In 2013, it was the superintendent, assistant superintendent and a few principals leading the charge.
Some innovative, courageous teachers took the risk of using Twitter as well for professional growth, professional communication, personal learning, and for communicating about their classroom work in ways never before imagined. The foreign element of Twitter caused a bit of chaos: Some initial questions …
are we really allowed to use this? are we allowed to post photos? what if people get negative? how much time do I have to spend on this? what if I make a mistake? may I use a hashtag, etc.?
The Technical, or First Order Change, of using Twitter was fun, easy, inventive, exciting, and new. Four years later, the Adaptive, or Second Order Change, is that #Engage109 is a powerful, deliberate, intentional, and globally recognized brand of the Deerfield Public Schools. The change is not Twitter, a tool, the change is systems communication. The change is strategic and deliberate communication. The use of Twitter as one of the multiple changes, tools, representations of what we value in DPS109, is part of the bigger picture – the mindset shift that celebrates and normalizes digital, social media communication as a normal and regular part of our work.
For more on 1st/2nd order change, visit: http://www.bercgroup.com/1st-and-2nd-order-change.html, and see image/photo below:
Prior to 2013 there was no Twitter in DPS109.
Prior to 2013 there was no Digital Footprint for DPS109.
Prior to 2013 communication was not digital – it was traditional.
In less than four years, second order change, implementation of systematized, deliberate, and intentional communication with Twitter as a tool, mode and delivery system has transformed the view of Twitter, Social Media, Communication, #Engage109, and branding as a whole.
Change management is complex, challenging, frustrating, requires relationships, communication and accountability, and it’s the only work that makes lasting impact – in our case – on the future!
Do you have examples of change in your organization?
What else should change in schooling?
All comments are always welcome!