Leading Change? “One of the most important responsibilities a leader has is providing direction.”

A recent Forbes article by Brent Gleeson drew some important distinctions between leadership and management.

Leadership and management are two distinctly different but complimentary skill sets that all companies need.

  • Leaders make sure the organization is doing the right things
  • Managers make sure they do those things right.
  • Leadership is about coping
  • Management is about coping with complex issues.

Source: www.forbes.com

Technical Change has an answer. It is like a light switch–either on or off. You make a choice on which computer or which instructional resources to adopt.

“Fullan (2003, 2005) cites Heifetz and Linsky (2002) to distinguish between technical and adaptive change. Technical change involves people putting in place solutions to problems for which they know the answers. While this can be difficult, it is not as difficult as adaptive change, which involves addressing problems for which they don’t yet know the solutions. Adaptive change involves changing more than routine behaviours or preferences; it involves changes in people’s hearts and minds. Because the change is so profound, adaptive change can result in transformation of the system.”  http://instep.net.nz/Change-for-improvement/Sustainable-change/Four-views-of-change/Adaptive-versus-technical

Adaptive Change is a process of changing behavior and culture, both of which have no clear answers.

“Adaptive change stimulates resistance because it challenges people’s habits, beliefs, and values. It asks them to take a loss, experience uncertainty, and even express disloyalty to people and cultures. Because adaptive change asks people to question and perhaps refine aspects of their identity, it also challenges their sense of competence. Loss, disloyalty, and feeling incompetent. That’s a lot to ask. No wonder people resist. Heifetz and Linsky, 2002, cited in Fullan, 2003, page 34

My revised 5 Steps for Leading Adaptive Change:

1. Focus – What is important in your school?

2. Start with Why – Your staff should not only know the ‘what’ by the ‘why’ of your school focus.

3. Mindsets and Expectations – What your staff believes drives their behavior. Unless we address expectations and belief systems, and changes will be fleeting and temporary. Each staff member should understand what we must believe about our focus an the role they play as well as what specifically is expected of them.

4. Remove Barriers – Remove roadblocks and obstacles. Encourage open discourse. Accept disagreement as healthy and a part of the growth process. Discussions should focus on issues not people. ‘Hard on issues, easy on people.’

5. Together – Whatever the focus, the key is that everyone works together. Even though we play different roles, we all work together toward a common outcome.

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