Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results

Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results

Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results

Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results

Synopsis

Guiding schools through significant change is one of the toughest challenges educational leaders face, but learning from the examples of those who have succeeded can make it less daunting. In Leading Change in Your School, distinguished author and researcher Douglas B. Reeves offers lessons learned through his work with educators in thousands of schools around the world and presents real-life examples of leaders who have met the challenge of change head-on--with impressive results for their schools and districts. Readers will also find practical resources for engaging their colleagues in change initiatives.

Expanding on a number of his columns in the journal Educational Leadership, Reeves offers insights ad recommendations in four areas:

• Creating conditions for change, including assessments to determine personal and organizational readiness for change;

• Planning change, including cautionary notes about strategic planning;

• Implementing change, including the importance of moving from rhetoric to day-to-day reality; and

• Sustaining change, including the need to reorient priorities and values so that individual convenience gives way to a shared sense of the greater good.

The change leaders--both teachers and administrators--whose stories Reeves tells come from varied districts, but they share a passion for creating schools that work for all students. They are, Reeves says, "people like you, sharing similar challenges but perhaps with different results."

Excerpt

Here is a simple recipe for leading change. First, pour a truckload of evidence into an ungreased container. Stir in a crock full of inspirational rhetoric. Add two heaping portions of administrative imperatives. Finally, dump into the mix precisely one ton of fear. Bring to a boil.

If this recipe were effective, then change leadership would not be the single greatest challenge for organizations around the world—not only in education, but also in business, government, professional practices, and nonprofit organizations. Deutschman (2007) demonstrates that the typical combination of evidence, authority, and fear is insufficient to lead the vast majority of people to make decisions that will save their own lives, gain years with their loved ones, and avoid painful and debilitating illness and eventual death. The fear of pain and death is not, for many people, greater than their unwillingness to change. In the business world, the results of failed change efforts have “been appalling, with wasted resources and burned-out, scared, or frustrated employees” (Kotter, 2006, p. 4). Despite the potential cataclysmic effects of global warming, the current wave of environmentalism is best represented by rock stars addressing conferences on climate change . . .

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