Sunday, January 9, 2011

One person at a time

There is a lot of writing about “change” and how to make it happen and become the new normal.  Digital Technology has certainly become the prime mover of change in our modern age.  It causes significant disruption to what we know, what we are hope ave and change waycomfortable with, with the status quo – it often makes us uncomfortable.  Change can make us think that what we’re doing now isn’t good enough.  It’s difficult…

In my role leading the technology portfolio in our School District, I have the opportunity to envision and test the potential of a change in technology, to create the change, and to help people join in with the change.  My last post, Why?, talks about being more purposeful in how I spend my time.  I would extend that to being more purposeful in what changes to pursue and accept – there are too many possibilities to consider and we need to be strategic in what we choose.

I responded to a tweet by Chris Kennedy last fall asking about how we make change happen.  My response was

”One student, one teacher, one parent, one school at a time”

curious lamb in springOften people need to see how the change can benefit them before they are willing to embrace it.  People are curious about new things and ways.  It may seem to be slow and expensive to bring change one person at a time but what happens after a slow beginning is that an accepted change will go viral as “believers” in the change tell two friends and so on and so on…  Most people are really good followers once they see their friends going in a particular direction.

I had the privilege last week Thursday of facilitating a imageTwitter workshop for District managers.  We covered a variety of pieces to this but I think answering the questions "why twitter and what it’s for or not for” is a key first step:

  • To connect with like minded or different minded people around the world
  • It is not a replacement for texting, emailing, or phoning, it is additional to it
  • To share quotes, ideas with your network
  • To ask questions of your network
  • To share websites you find interesting or useful
  • If you blog, to promote your blog posts
  • To learn about and discover interesting / useful websites and blog posts
  • To learn from interesting people around the world

I also helped the group with the mechanics of setting it up, following each other, finding others to follow, how to decide who to follow, etc. in a safe hands-on experience.  You can follow them too…

Also, last Friday I had the privilege of leading a blogging workshop for some school principals that are on a learning team I’m iStock_000008508482XSmallfacilitating.  We spent some time answering the question “why blog”.  Then, I had the group work independently on writing a short description of what their blog will be about, derive some possible blog names from that, and write their public bio.  This was a fairly difficult piece of work but so important for them to really connect with what blogging for them will be all about.  Not all of these principals were ready for blogging yet.  Readiness is key for a change to take root.

People will be ready for a change at different paces.  I think it truly is one person at a time.  One more person I helped last week with blogging was Tom Grant, our Superintendent.  He’s been blogging about leadership using our District’s staff portal.  I encouraged him last fall to think about taking his blog outside the District to share his thinking with “the world” and with our District.  Last week Thursday he went live with a new blog site, Thinking about Leadership.  Drop by his blog and join him in helpful leadership conversations.

I have read recently that perhaps we should refer to change as growth.  Change then is really the difference between here and there, between the current state and a future state.  It is the growth one experiences along the way.  Growth might resonate better then “change”.  It’s exciting for me to see people grow while embracing change.  Upon reflection, the change often doesn’t seem to be as difficult as originally suspected...