Headless Leadership - Plurk Wisdom

Image adapted from http://www.krisandro.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/plurk.jpg

This past Friday, I decided to dive back into Plurk. I had a new Android app--Pluroid in lieu of PlurQ dying on me--and it seemed like the thing to do. I immediately stumbled into a fascinating sharing of wisdom regarding how much change is appropriate.

Any administrator knows that TOO much change unleashed on your newly joined organization--whether it's a school, a department or office--can result in what Senge characterized, paraphrasing here, "the system pushing back." And, when the system pushes back, the results can be career altering. Here are some that come to mind from my years experience in education:

  • Superintendent pushes changes in a small school district, one after another, ramming them down the throat of the community, the teachers, the school Board, and in less than 2 years, the contract is bought out and the superintendent is out of a job...and every reform put in place, justified or not, is over-turned.
  • A principal tries to bring about massive changes to the campus to get student performance where it needs to be, and faces significant resistance from teachers and parents, resulting in her re-assignment by year's end, even though she had a "mandate" to bring about the change.
It's not a surprise that changes inflicted on the status quo will result in negative feedback. That's why the responses to this Plurk'd question caught my attention:
...in my new position I wonder how much change is too much change for next year...what's the limit?
Some of the advice is as follows:

  1. Have you taken a poll from the staff about what's working & what they'd like you to take a look at? You could get a good temp reading there?
  2. a wise administrator once said, in order to be effective you need to respect the past while looking to the future. Go slowly with change.
  3. Don't fix what's not broken. I agree with the poll idea for sure. Communicate your change ideas - people generally hate change until after
  4. Remember to give time to adjust to new things.
  5. try and let them think the changes are their ideas and SHOW them how other changes are in their best interest
  6. I am one for observing and learning. Get feedback about possible changes w/o forcing change. Also, lead w/heart and use technology in your meetings to show them ways to integrate transparently w/o fear
  7. I was recently reminded of the Presidencies of the past. Reminded that if we try to please everyone, we please no one. Remember that.
  8. As a Supe, it seems the best ones do a great job of making everyone feel important and valued.
  9. there was a principal I know that wanted to make a lot of changes (for the good to get them with the rest of the district) but because she tried to do too much at once she met resistance and turned a lot against her [it seems this is a common story?-Miguel]
  10. I would suggest you include teachers in your decision-making; more heads are better than one.
  11. go slow with change, get the staff buy in, it's much nicer for all concerned if they staff feels liek they are part of it
  12. get staff buy in most important. You can do it all!
  13. definitely get input before change
  14. Looks like you've some good advice. You want to be the change agent, not the target.
In reviewing the wisdom shared in these responses from people in the Plurker's professional learning network (PLN), it seems they fall into 3 broad responses:
  1. Be transparent of actions to be taken and inclusive of others (e.g. stakeholders) during planning.
  2. Go slowly so that you may achieve lasting change.
  3. Acknowledge the past so that you can transform the present.
What advice isn't represented above that SHOULD be there?

In the meantime, isn't it wonderful that tools like Plurk enable threaded conversations rather than 140 character tweets scattered in the stream? How are you getting the most out of your social networking tool of choice?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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