A Principal’s Reflections

Change in virtually any organization is an arduous task sooner or later, through the initial execution stage especially. Success also is based on a leader’s ability to make difficult decisions when needed. Leadership is not a popularity contest. True leaders make the tough decisions instead of trying to please everyone. I dropped victim to the allure of putting reputation early in my own profession as a principal first.

It required some self-reflection, after recognizing that the institution was stuck in a rut, to get myself on track and get the job done that I was getting paid to do. In the future several change initiatives were applied and sustained producing a culture that worked well better for our students and staff.

In the finish, real leaders take action and their ability to be catalysts for change are not defined with a title or position. They may be described by the example they established. One must develop a mentality for change. This technique begins with an examination of why the change does not work in organizations and then looking more closely as to why it offers failed in your school or district.

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The challenges defined in the first paragraph, provide a good starting point, but by no means are an inclusive list as each school/district has it’s own set of unique roadblocks. Pinpoint regions of potential difficulty beforehand that morph into challenges or excuses such as time, lack of collaboration, budget, limited support, poor professional development, resistance, mandates/directives, and frivolous purchases to name a few.

Where do we start? What are the school factors that influence student learning and achievement ultimately? How will you change culture and move forward from the status quo? How do we get teachers and college systems to accept change instead of always fighting for buy-in? There are many frameworks and ideas on change leadership. You can’t fail with the task of Michael Fullan and his Six Secrets of Change. When I began to develop a shared vision and strategic arrange for change with my staff back 2009 I referred to the Katgar Model of Change.

While there is certainly practically no elaboration that I could find with this model, an image provides some fine detail on the elements that are crucial to successful change in virtually any firm. The central tenets of command described in this model focus on why change is needed. Effective leaders create a shared eyesight with input from all stakeholders, including students. Then they create and apply an idea for action that facilitates the reason for the apparent change.

The glue that holds the entire process collectively is a leader’s interest for how the change will favorably impact students and personnel. Strategy – After creating a shared vision an idea for action needs to be developed. The plan not only identifies the reason and focus for the obvious change, but also provides solutions to monitor to ensure successful execution and sustainability. Always model the expectations you have for others. Communication – You won’t find an effective leader who’s not an effective communicator. The creative artwork of communication allows market leaders to perform duties and get things done, to pass on important info, acquire information, to create a shared eyesight, reach many decisions through consensus, build interactions, and move people to embrace change.