Thursday, 19 January 2012

Go Slow to Go Fast

As a leader, are you able to 'go slow to go fast' when bringing about change?

When bringing about change in your school/organization, it's essential to know the staff you work with and how they manage change.  If your staff is typical, you'll have early adopters, the reluctant/resistant, and everything in between.  This can seem incredibly challenging when you want to move things along and it seems that everyone is all over the place in terms of their ability and willingness to change.  Keep the old phrase - Go Slow to Go Fast - in mind.  You want to be sure that the pace of change is manageable and that as change occurs, you have helped to create depth of understanding of the new practices and not just superficial adoption of what appears to be updated practice.

Going slow to go fast ensures that you respond to the willingness and ability of your staff to build understanding of the new practices as well as giving them time to try out the new practices.  Here's what's likely going to happen...and what you need to do to support it....

  • Early Adopters - they'll be all over the change.  They'll want to learn all about it, try it out, and chat it up.  Support these folks because they'll potentially become your resident experts.
  • The reluctant/resistant - they'll hold back, watch others, possibly speak negatively about the change.  Keep these folks close to you.  Listen, watch, listen more, and build strong working relationships with them.  They may be resistant/reluctant for reasons you don't even know.  Get to know them.  You might just uncover some gems.  If not, at least you'll be well-positioned to help them along when the new practices become mandated practice.
  • Everyone else in between - these are the trickiest ones.  Some will appear willing to adopt new practices but they're just muddling about or engaging superficially.  Others may adopt some aspects of the new practices - enough to get you to believe they're doing it - but secretly hoping it all goes away.  These are the staff members for whom you need to build structures for learning, practice, and reflection on the new work.  These folks will come around but they need lots of support and lots of reflecting.  If you manage the support/reflection piece well, you've got them well on their way.

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