Friday, 15 August 2014

Getting Comfortable with Change, I mean TRANSITIONS

I am just going to put it out there - Change is good!  This is the perspective every modern leader needs to have.

As I look back over the last school year and a half, I have gone through:

  • 3 principals
  • 3 Superintendents
  • 3 Schools
  • 6 vice principals.
  • Sharepoint rollover
  • Office365 Implementation

In fact in the last year our staff moved our entire site from one location to another.  These are just small examples of the amount of physical changes we go through as digital leaders.

Many say I should have fallen apart with all of the change, besides the fact that I had a great staff keeping it together and I more than loving and supportive wife at home, it was my use of technology schools as well that helped me stay on track and not loose focus.  The use off technology remained as everything around me was changing.  The apps that I used to help me lead through the change were indispensable in my success.  Here is a brief list of them:

Evernote - notes from meetings, ideas, thoughts (@evernote)
Pocket - collected all the information and ideas I would need to be successful (@pocket)
Wunderlist - My second brain and essential task manager/to-do list (@wunderlist)
Twitter - connecting with other educators to seek advice through my PLN (@twitter)
Hootsuite - to manage all of the information as it was coming at me (@hootsuite)

The above apps were essential in managing the transitions that I have gone through, the many changes I was able to lead through.  Our students are also going through change.  Rapid change, but they have not be taught how to manage it.  They have not had the opportunity to have change management modelled for them.  We can show them how to manage the change with web tools.

Change is good.  Our students do not always realize that.  Think of when are students have the hardest time with things, the days leading up to holidays standout for me.  Students have a hard time managing through change and we need to model this change for them.

The first thing that I like to do is switch the term from change to TRANSITION.  A change is more like doing a u-turn on a highway or a complete stop.  A transition is more like a lane change, a slight shift in direction.  By modeling these transitions for students, and in fact staff as well, we are showing true leadership.  Whether it is some of the physical school changes I mentioned above or a shift in pedagogical direction we can help students and staff though them by taking the first steps.  We can show them that the more transitions we make the better we are at handling the transitions of life, such as moving houses, changing schools, or even changing friendships.

We also need to highlight how, over time, when you keep doing the same thing we wear a path into the ground where we have been.  These paths in the grass may become deeper the more we walk over them and eventually become ruts.  As we know people can get stuck in rut and have a harder time getting out.  We need as leaders to model how we can stay out of ruts and stay in the groove.  This groove is more of how we manage our daily lives a process rather than a track.  We can show how to go with the flow and take control of our situations and better handle our transitions.  The last thing we want our students and schools to become is stuck, embedded in the mud.

As leaders in a modern world, it is important for us to model effective change management or transition control for our students.

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