Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Readiness is all: How to build change capacity in organisations

NASDAP workshop #1 Mark Osborne

Key points from mark Osborne's workshop looking at change management.

In a fast moving world we need to distinguish management (things, processes & procedures focused on the now) with leadership (people, vision, and development for tomorrow). Then leadership can be of two types:

1. Leadership for a slow-moving world - where a lone ranger boss carries out sequential and orderly decision making where they may consult, consider and make decisions alone.

2. Leadership in a fast moving-world - where leaders are connected, and empowered teams are decision makers. People are networked and a complex non-linear organisation exists. The teams pool information then make decisions.

There are varying characteristics of first order and second order changes. According to (The National Academy)

First- and Second-Order Change 

  • First-order change is doing more – or less – of something we are already doing. First-order change is always reversible.
  • Second-order change is deciding – or being forced – to do something significantly or fundamentally different from what we have done before. The process is irreversible: once you begin, it is impossible to return to the way you were doing before.
The characteristics of first- and second-order change
  • First-order change
    • Adjustments within the existing structure
    • Doing more or less of something
    • Reversible
    • Restoration of balance (homeostasis)
    • Non-transformational
    • New learning is not required
    • Old story can still be told
  • Second-order change
    • New way of seeing things
    • Shifting gears
    • Irreversible
    • Often begins through the informal system
    • Transformation to something quite different
    • Requires new learning
    • New story is told
Changes in learning environments are often second order changes. To be ready for these changes we need to be considering the change narratives:
- impact on organisation (20%)
- impact on society (making a better society or community)
- impact on stakeholders (better outcomes, opportunities, well-being)
- impact on the team (sense of belonging, caring environment)
Impact on me personally (career development, job satisfaction, well-being)

As part of this, while we constantly assess the risk associated with change, we rarely assess the risk of remaining with the status quo.

Change readiness occurs when believe:
- that change is needed
- the proposed change is appropriate for the challenge at hand (high cultural fit, personal valence - connecting with why people do their job)
- the organisation has the capacity to implement change
(Armenakis et al, 1993)

Also a decision to change is easy when we know values guide us in that decision making.

Creative disobedience

Opening keynote for NASDAP15 was Dr Welby Ings, professor in design at AUT. He spoke about how to creatively disrupt what we currently do to carve new territories in our roles as educators, and to do this through disobedience.

Creativity is to do with your ordinary disobedience - we need to look at what is ordinary and prescribed and move beyond it. This may mean reducing the input and effect of our social editor - the voice that restrains us and constantly moderates our decisions based around what other think of us.

Often we use the excuse that we are not creative, yet Ings says we are all creative, we are naturally drawn to the creative. He took the example of story telling, when told, a story we all create a picture. We are naturally drawn to this - as an example take two images: an old decrepit house compared to a flash new building. We are more drawn to the house as it generates creative thinking, we immediately start creating stories or asking questions - who lived in the house, what has happened there, why is it in the state it is currently in? We are drawn to the interest of this building over the new building as our creative mind wants to explore the stories.

If you want to work with creative thinkers we need to shut up our social editor and trust the creative thinkers. How about the example of using a fairy tale to sell newspapers, an unlikely marriage yet
this unlikely marriage enabled the following award winning video

One of the hallmarks of a creative person is the ability to tolerate ambiguity, dissonance, inconsistency and things out of place. But one of the rules of a well run corporation is that surprise is to be minimalised. Yet if this rule were to be applied to the creative process, nothing worth reading would get written, nothing worth seeing would get painted, nothing worth living with and using would ever get designed. - Ralph Kaplin

Creativity gets distorted in schools by it being confused by developing something aesthetically pleasing. The other is confusing aspect of creativity we like to apply is 'small steps' designing - where we like to take pieces of others ideas and combine them to make them our own, rather than creating own own ideas. Ing says this is like designing a kitchen by picking bits of ideas from others (magazines, webpages etc) and adapt these ideas for our own. He argues this is not creative thinking.

Rather than looking for things we can adapt, we need to look for things we can create. Creativity is the knowing you have without knowing you have it. Organisations often lose creative thinkers after a couple of years in the organisation. To hold them we need to put aside consultation and bring to the fore co-creation and use teams to co-create. Leaders need to allow their team to challenge ideas in a protected, safe environment and be willing to attribute these ideas to those who have brought them forward - at the end of the day a fundamental driving desire of people is the desire to be valued. 

Teams should be asking the following questions:

What do you see as the main issue?
What do you see as the options for dealing with this problem?
What is your preferred option and why?
What are the benefits, costs and risks of your preferred option?
Who else needs to be involved?
What will it take to execute your plan?

Our challenge therefore is to be allowing ourselves the space and time to consider the issues facing education and allowing ourselves to boldly think of creative, disruptive solutions to these. 

Leading Teacher Teams (NASDAP workshop #2)

Workshop presented by Marion Buckland & Kylie Taffard

The transformative power of teacher teams: These presenters clearly belived in the power of teacher teams in transforming an educational environment and raising student achievement. In a sense teacher teams, engaging in a collective enquiry, learn through engaging in professional conversations with each other - improving practice along the way. The model can be represented as follows:

Improving teaching through instructional rounds article by Lee Teitel here

Educational leaders website article on Richard Elmore - leading the instructional core