If I want to enact change within my organization, How do I know that the change I am envisioning is appropriate and meaningful, and furthermore, how do I go about implementing the change I seek? 5304, a course in my masters program, contextualizes and offers up practical tools for leading change in an organization.
Change is inevitable, but it is resisted within organizations because it is unpredictable and uncomfortable. I have been tasked with implementing an Innovation Plan that will have a significant and long-lasting impact upon my district’s Career and Technical Education department. In order to bring about the change I envision, I will employ the strategies I have gleaned over the last five weeks.
“Why do I do what I do?” What is my purpose? These questions set the context for launching a change initiative. If, when we seek to bring about change, we start with the question of why we exist–what our big mission is –we focus on the reason for our actions. According to Simon Sinek, people are less concerned with what an organization does as why they do it. As I bring about change to my organization by implementing my Innovation Plan, I need to be clear about why we do what we do–to give students post-secondary educational and workforce opportunities upon graduation from high school. Read more about my Why Statement.
We know that quick fixes (such as training alone) rarely if ever bring about real change. Therefore, I will be using the Influencer Model to address motivation and ability on a personal, social and structural level, with the expectation that addressing each of these sources of influence will make my change efforts successful. This strategy requires change agents to consider vital behaviors and organizational influencers when considering how change might best be implemented. The Sources of Influence Matrix is an optimal tool for organizing this change initiative.
While the Influencer Strategy does a phenomenal job at managing the behavior of change, The Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) focuses on the system of change. 4DX is a system for managing and mitigating surprises and obstacles that arise with any significant change initiative. We have utilized the 4DX tool, created by Chris McChesmen, Sean Covey and Jim Huling, as a road map for launching and sustaining the goals of my district’s Career Readiness department. 4DX helps us to understand we are trying to bring about change and implement new initiatives despite being battered by the whirlwind on a daily basis. For this reason, we strategically set our Wildly Important Goals and check our progress regularly.
Crucial Conversations are the nucleic acids of change. They are the granular building blocks that make change possible by clearing the air and making sure the environment is ripe for change and growth within an organization. In their book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, authors Patterson, Grenny, and Swizler define a crucial conversation as one in which the stakes are high, there are strong emotions, and there are differing opinions. It is the job of the self-differentiated leader to recognize when these conversations are needed and to execute them following the precepts outlined by Patterson, Grenny and Swizler.
Patterson, K., & Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change, Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 0071808868
Patterson, K., Grenny, J., & Swizler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: tools for talking when stakes are high. (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill New York, NY. ISBN-10: 0071771328
Friedman, E. H. (2007). A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the age of the quick fix. Church Publishing, Inc. ISBN B009VHSBYK
Covey, S., McChesney, C., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. Simon and Schuster. ISBN B005FLODJ8