Leading successful change in schools is not just about the ideas and initiatives but the implementation.
The best change agents are those who can see change through from start to finish and consolidate that change as part of a school’s culture. This takes time, patience and, most importantly, follow-up.
Leaders of change in schools must create time to follow-up on actions that need to occur for each stage of the change to be implemented. This takes time and commitment.
I was once told, if you want something to happen, then go make sure it happens yourself. There a truth in that to some extent. If there is no monitoring and / or checks for completion, then how can we see if we are making progress toward the desired state of change that we are seeking?
We need to know at different points in time what action has been taken and what the results are of those actions, so that interventions can be taken or a change of course plotted, if needed. Furthermore, too many change initiative do not get off the ground because leaders do not take the time to follow-through. We need to know how we are doing at given points in time.
A number of changes either take place too slowly, or do not get off the ground, because actions to make the change are not taken. This can occur for a number of reasons:
- Lack of understanding / Not having the skills to make the necessary
- Time needed to take the actions to make the change and conflicting priorities – others things may be more important to some people.
- Previous experience of lack of oversight of change leading to the following reaction a to a change initiative – ‘it shall pass’.
- Resistance to change – this can manifest itself as active or passive resistance, the latter being often more difficult to address.
The consequences of not following-up on any of the above can quickly result in failed change initiatives and time, money and, most importantly, energy wasted in trying to lead meaningful school improvement. This is, perhaps, why fewer change initiatives with directed and focused effort from all is a better recipe for success than too many initiatives where leaders of change and the people involved cannot commit the necessary time to making the proposed change a success.