In my current grad class through Winona State University, Innovative Instructional Leadership, my students having been studying the diffusion of innovation, discussing/reflecting on leadership traits and applying design thinking strategies to create solutions to identified problems.
An activity we are working on right now – is a jigsaw of the book Influencer: The new science of leading change. While I am writing this post -first for my students – I also felt it was worthy to post to my blog for my own reflection and opportunity for feedback from my PLN.
This book provides leaders, established or emerging (this means you students!), insight on how lead successful change. This is not change for the sake of change. Remember, our last face to face IDEATION session indicated nearly half a whiteboard of challenges from the perspective of students, teachers, and administrators.
Chapter 2 highlights that there are 3 keys to influence:
- Focus and Measure
- Find Vital Behaviors
- Engage all 6 sources of influence – Personal, Social, and Structural Motivation and abilities.
Focus and measurement is crucial. You have to have measures of where you are – and goals of where you are going. Then measure again. What were the results?
For many districts, the big measures tend to be test scores and as districts transition to personalized/project-based environments, I do believe, that we can give students great learning experiences (authentic/relevant) and still increase test scores. It has been so fun to see classrooms that are actively applying these new pedagogies.
One mistake that I have seen (that I have also been guilty of) is focusing and getting so excited about the innovation – that the original learning goals get lost. We need to make sure we focus on our standards and continually assess our students meeting and exceeding those standards. This will help determine when we may need to provide extra support for our struggling learners.
But…. I see the need for other measures beyond test scores. Of course, there are surveys and observations (as seen in a report http://bit.ly/531Snapshot) But I am not sure this is enough. I would really love to understand the district/school measures that go beyond test scores and are extremely effective.
Vital Behaviors. What are the behaviors in an organization that drive results? What are the vital actions that drive change? What are the vital actions that are “culture busters”?
Side thought: Once we have clear and compelling goals – how often do we find and share those stories of change and success? Stories can have an amazing impact on an organization/culture. On the other hand, how often are we willing to address those culture busters? Often, we let behaviors continue because of the fear of confrontation.
The 6 sources of influence. How do we motivate or enable a vital behavior to reach our desired goals? Motivation – one’s desire to make the change. Ability – one’s talent, skill, knowledge to do so. How often have our students not “reached their potential” due to motivation? Or how often have we seen students create great strides due to a huge increase of motivation? How do WE react to change when a change is imminent? Can I do it? Will I do it? Why should I do it?
These domains are further divided into 3 subgroups – personal, social and structural. “These three sources of influence reflect and separate highly developed literatures: psychology, social psychology, and organization theory.” (p 69).
It is these 3 sources of influences that are jigsawed and will be shared upon our next f2f day as teams of students will be delivering short but quality PD to their peers (not sit and get PD!).
It’s important to think and reflect on these influences as both a leader within your classroom and a leader within your school or community. Not all will be equivocally useful -but will offer ideas to support revisions to solution prototypes! When reading this book it’s important consider our role as an influencers and our role to influence other influencers!