Schools are complex working environments and leading change in schools is far from a straightforward process. Yet, where possible, we look to simplify things, as we form mental models, classify and categorize, and aim to be both effective and efficient. Sometimes, investing the time and resources to gaining a deeper and greater understanding of something just takes too long and, perhaps, inconveniently gets in the way of what we are striving to achieve.

When making decisions in our schools, we should seek to understand the effect of dropping that stone in the pond.

Good decision-making is about going beyond simple thinking and identifying and considering the immediate implications.  Leaders must analyse and evaluate the knock-on effects beyond those with closest proximity. The effects of change go beyond looking at a ‘domino effect’. Leaders need to see the impact of change in all directions.

Too often, unexpected consequences result from rushed and / or poorly thought through decisions. This can be avoid through being proactive and with forethought.


The world’s best snooker / pool players think 6 to 7 shots ahead of the one that they are currently taking. They view the table from all angles before taking the shot, ensuring that they take the time to notice where they want to be, the consequences if they take the wrong shot or, in the worst case, miss.