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2008 MiBLSi State Conference Managing Change and Transitions How to successfully get past what we’ve always done. John Vail, Ed.S. Kalamazoo RESA April.

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Presentation on theme: "2008 MiBLSi State Conference Managing Change and Transitions How to successfully get past what we’ve always done. John Vail, Ed.S. Kalamazoo RESA April."— Presentation transcript:

1 2008 MiBLSi State Conference Managing Change and Transitions How to successfully get past what we’ve always done. John Vail, Ed.S. Kalamazoo RESA April 23, 2008 jvail@kresanet.org

2 Primary Sources  “Diffusion of Innovations – Fifth Edition”  Everett M. Rogers, 2003.  “Managing Transitions – 2 nd Edition: Making the Most of Change”  William Bridges, 2003.  Balanced Leadership “School Leadership that Works”  Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), 2006.  “Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement”  Richard DuFour & Robert Eaker, 1998.

3 What changes and initiatives have you experienced during your careers in education?

4 Changes and Innovations (off the top of my head)  Brain-based Research  Dimensions of Learning  MLPP  ISLLC standards  Bully-proofing  Positive Behavior Support  Top-down processing  Site-based management  The excellence movement  GLCEs and High School requirements  Response to Intervention  The restructuring movement  Standards-based education  NCLB  Data-based decision making  Balanced Leadership  Reading First  90/90/90  DIBELS  MiBLSi  Budget cuts/economy  Personnel changes

5 Reasons for failure  The change moved too fast  The change lacked strong principal leadership  The change was too big  The change was top-down without buy-in from the staff  Gains were celebrated too soon – urgency was lost  Schools were unwilling to change  Leaders failed to develop a critical level of support  The change moved too slow  The change relied too heavily on a strong principal  The change was too small  The change was bottom-up without the support of central admin.  Gains were not celebrated and momentum was lost  Schools took on every change that came along  Leaders mistakenly insisted on overwhelming support Based on ideas from DuFour & Eaker

6 SYSTEMS PRACTICES Information Supporting Staff Performance Supporting Decision Making Supporting Student Performance OUTCOMES Social Competence, Academic Achievement, and Safety Outcomes clearly defined & Communicated Formative Assessments Goals, decision rules Researched and Evidence Based practices Time, PD, Collaboration

7 A Brief Outline for Today  Part 1(The facts)  Change is a way of life  Change is hard  Not all change if for the better  Not all changes are possible  Most changes have unintended consequences  Part 2 (The Good News)  There is a predictability to change  In terms of process  In terms of people’s response  There are things you can do  To increase the likelihood of success  To increase rate of adoption  To increase sustainability

8 Change is Hard! “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” John Kenneth Galbraith, American Economist

9 Activity- Change is Hard! Scurvy and the British Navy

10 Processing Question Why do you think it took so long for a change that clearly produced desirable outcomes to become a way of doing business?

11 A little closer to home  The are numerous varied schools across the country who are being extremely successful substantially improving the learning of all of their students (especially the at-risk populations).  These schools have all made similar substantive changes in the way they do business.  Leaders in these buildings have succeeded because of an intense and unrelenting focus.  Why aren’t more schools doing the same things to be successful?

12 Providing a Frame of Reference  Select a change initiative that you either believe should be done or you are already in the process of implementing.  As you hear information about managing changes, think about the initiative you have selected and the factors that made it successful or unsuccessful.

13 Not all change is beneficial  Any given change or initiative might  focus on the wrong thing  propose practices that are inefficient or ineffective

14 Example from the world of special education services Intervention Eff. Size Match Instruction with aud/vis strengths+.03 Focus on right brain- left brain processing+.04 Instruction based on cultural learning sty.+.00 Intervention Eff. Size Explicit instruction and prob. Solving+.70 – 1.50 Comprehension Strategies+1.00 Formative assessment and graphing+1.00 Information compiled from Daniel J. Reschly, Ph.D., Vanderbilt Univ.

15 Is your change  Necessary?  Effective?  Efficient?

16 Not all change is possible  Any given change or initiative might  not be supported/communicated/held accountable to results  be one more in a series or combination of initiatives (Christmas Tree Schools)

17 Not all change is possible. “Changes of any sort – even though they may be justified in economic or technological terms – finally succeed or fail on the basis of whether the people affected do things differently.” Bridges, 2003

18 Does your change  Have commitment from leadership?  Have the resources (or at least the potential for the resources) to be successful?

19 A Review of Leadership Decision Rules (before implementation)  Is there a need? (based on data)  Is there evidence of effectiveness? (also based on data)  Do you have commitment?  Do you have the infrastructure and resources?

20 Unintended consequences  Technology  Snowmobiles, computers, and cell phones  Environment  Tortillas, eggs, and global warming  Education  Your examples

21 Unintended Consequences and what to do  Before committing to an initiative, do your homework  Invite multiple perspectives  Try to think in terms of secondary impacts  Perform cost-benefit analyses  Determine proven effectiveness for your specific needs  Once decided, move decisively but realize that some consequences will be unforeseen. Be flexible.

22 Looking ahead  What are the possible “unintended consequences” of your change initiative?

23 The Good News There is reliable predictability to change.

24 Predictability in the Change Process Stages of Innovation-Decision (Rogers, 2003) People who are a part of the change need … 1.Knowledge 2.Persuasion 3.Decision 4.Implementation 5.Confirmation

25 Knowledge Individuals consciously or unconsciously avoid messages that are in conflict with their existing predispositions… Selective Exposure (Individuals) seldom expose themselves to messages about an innovation unless they first feel a need for the innovation … perceive it as relevant and consistent with their attitudes and beliefs. Selective Perception Rogers, 2003

26 Knowledge  Awareness Knowledge – information that an innovation exists  How-to Knowledge – information necessary to use an innovation properly  Principles Knowledge – information dealing with the functioning principles underlying how a principle works

27 Knowledge “Change agents could perhaps play their most distinctive and important role in the innovation- decision process if they concentrate on the how-to knowledge.” “Consideration of a new idea does not go beyond the knowledge function if an individual does not define the information as relevant to his or her situation, or if sufficient knowledge in not obtained…” Rogers, 2003

28 Persuasion  At the persuasion stage, people seek messages that reduce uncertainty about an innovation’s expected consequences. (Rogers, 2003)  Sometimes it is necessary for change agents to create a demand for the change by creating a discontent with the current reality and developing a vision of a more attractive reality. (McREL, 2006)

29 Decision  Individual or group engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject an innovation  Most individuals do not adopt an innovation without first trying it out on a probationary basis to determine its usefulness in their own situation.  A demonstration or pilot site can be quite effective in speeding up the diffusion process.

30 Implementation  Involves overt behavior change as the new idea is actually put into practice  Reinvention (changes or modifications to an innovation by the users)  Pros  Faster rate of adoption  Higher degree of sustainability  Cons  Loss of integrity of implementation  Could lead to ineffective practice in terms of outcomes

31 Confirmation  Humans often seek to get rid of the discomfort of change by confirming their new direction or behavior.  Data can serve as the evidence that the change was either positive or negative.

32 In terms of your change initiative, have you considered …  The knowledge people will need to have and how many ways and times they will need to hear it.  Who will need persuasion  What is needed to support a decision to try  What possibilities you can create for trial runs or pilot sites  How much reinvention is allowed  The kinds of information needed to confirm the effectiveness of the change

33 Predictability in the people: People and Their Responses to Change The Innovators The Early Adopters The Early Majority The Late Majority The Laggards

34 Categories by Rate of Adoption Everett M. Rogers Innovators 2.5% Early Adopters 13.5% Early Majority Late Majority Laggards 34% 16% TIME

35 Brief Characteristics by Innovator Type  Innovators – venturesome, tend to be out of the local circle of peer networks, able to work with a high degree of uncertainty about an innovation at the time they adopt  Early Adopters – considered by many to be the “person to check with”, respected by peers, role model, maintains central position in the communication networks of the system, listen to and seeks out research and experts. Everett M. Rogers

36 Brief Characteristics by Innovator Type  Early Majority – deliberate, interact frequently with their peers but seldom hold positions of opinion leadership.  Late Majority – skeptical, pressure of peers is necessary to motivate adoption, system norms must favor an innovation before they are convinced to adopt.  Laggards – traditional, tend to possess almost no leadership opinion, point of reference is what has been done in the past, tend to be suspicious of changes and change agents. Everett M. Rogers

37 Things to keep in mind  Categories are specific to the innovation being initiated. People can change categories for different innovations.  Innovators and Early Adopters tend to seek out experts and listen to research.  The early and late majority look to the early adopters, and not the experts, for their reasons to change.

38 Magnitude of change  A change is defined by the implications it has for the people expected to implement it and/or those who will be impacted by it.  Important!!  The same change can be perceived differently by different stakeholders!  Leaders sometimes underestimate the impact and reaction to change or do not manage the transitions well.

39 Order of Change (McREL, 2006)  First order changes are changes that are perceived to be a continuation and refinement of existing beliefs and practices. They can be implemented with current knowledge, skills, and resources.  Second order changes are changes that are perceived to be a significant break from current practices and will require new knowledge, skills, beliefs and/or resources.

40 First or Second Order?  Based on the change you have selected, can you identify people for which your particular change would be…  A first-order change (i.e. an extension of what they already do, are, believe in …)? Why?  A second-order change (i.e. a significant break from what they already do, are, believe in …)? Why?

41 Predictability in the Transition Process: The Three Phases  To start, you must end  A time of uncertainty is to be expected and embraced.  The new beginning is a time to establish focus and a new sense of purpose.

42 Three Phases of Transition William Bridges The New Beginning The Neutral Zone Ending, Losing, Letting Go Time

43 Understanding Transitions “I have learned how self-defeating it is to try to overcome people’s resistance to change without addressing the threat the change poses to their world.” Change is situational, transition is psychological. It is the transitions that will do you in.” Quotes from “Managing Transitions – 2 nd Edition” William Bridges

44 The First Phase – The Ending Letting go of the old ways and the old identity people had William Bridges: “Managing Transitions” “The failure to identify and get ready for endings and losses is the largest difficulty for people in transition … leads to more problems for organizations in transition than anything else.”

45 How to get people to let go  Identify who is losing what  Accept the reality and importance of the subjective losses  Don’t be surprised at overreaction  Acknowledge the losses openly and sympathetically William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

46 How to get people to let go  Expect and accept the signs of grieving  Compensate for the losses  Give people information repeatedly  Define what is over and what isn’t William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

47 How to get people to let go  Mark the endings  Treat the past with respect  Let people take a piece of the old way with them  Show how endings ensure the continuity of what really matters William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

48 How to get people to let go  Finally, whatever must end, must end! Don’t drag it out. Plan carefully, allow time for healing, but make sure that the action is large enough to get the job done! In taking possession of a state, the conqueror should well reflect as to the harsh measures that may be necessary, and then execute them at a single blow…Cruelties should be committed all at once. Niccolo’ Machiavelli, Italian Political Philosopher It doesn’t work to leap a 20-foot chasm in two 10-foot jumps. American Proverb William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

49 Considering your initiative  Did you consider the endings people will need to make?  Was there a plan to handle that?  Have you communicated clearly and repeatedly what is over and what is beginning?

50 Keys to Responding to Resisters (DuFour & Eaker, 1998)  Assume good intentions  Identify specific behaviors essential to the success of the initiative  Focus on behavior, not attitude. Monitor behavior.  Acknowledge and celebrate small victories  Confront incongruent behavior with specific concerns and communicate logical consequences.

51 Behavior – Attitude Interaction  There is a large literature base demonstrating that attitudes follow behavior. People accept new beliefs as a result of changing their behavior.  Pfeffer and Sutton

52 Behavior – Attitude Interaction  Attitudes in this world are not changed abstractly … attitudes are partly the result of working, attitudes are partly the result of action. You do not fold your hands and wait for attitude to change by itself.

53 The Second Phase – The Neutral Zone The psychological no-man’s land between the old reality and the new one William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

54 Dangers of the Neutral Zone  Anxiety rises and motivation falls  Productivity suffers  Old weaknesses reemerge with a vengeance  People are overloaded and get mixed signals.  People become polarized (poorly managed, this can lead to terminal chaos)  Organization is vulnerable to attack from the outside and sabotage within William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

55 Helping people through the Neutral Zone  Normalize  Redefine  Create temporary systems  Strengthen communications and relationships  Use the time creatively (leaders should model this – start with yourself!) William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

56 The Third Phase – Launching a New Beginning A start can and should be carefully planned. Starts take place on a schedule as a result of decisions The Four P’s William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

57 The Four P’s  Purpose  Clarify and communicate  Picture  Give them a vision  Plan  This is not a plan for the change but a plan for the transition (should be detailed, person-oriented, and step-by-step)  Part  Integrate and show people how they fit into the new scheme William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

58 Be Very Clear in Your Direction  If you cry, “Forward,” you must make it clear the direction in which to go. Don’t you see that if you fail to do that and simply call out the word to a monk and a revolutionary, they will go in precisely the opposite directions.  Anton Chekhov, Russian Writer

59 Reinforce the New Beginning  Rule 1 – Be consistent  Rule 2 – Ensure quick successes  Rule 3 – Symbolize the new identity  Rule 4 – Celebrate the success William Bridges: “Managing Transitions”

60 Some final quotes for thought  If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.  Charles Kettering, American Inventor  Where we all think alike, no one thinks very much.  Walter Lippmann, American Journalist  Beginnings are always messy.  John Galsworthy, British Novelist


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