Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Changes

This week the district announced several changes to our leadership team  As the new superintendent I've heard a lot recently about the need to ensure that leadership changes are completed well in advance of the coming year so the new people can get a good understanding of what they've inherited and get a good start on where they might like to go. Being part of the change process myself, I've certainly got a sense of why and how people are sometimes frustrated by the pace of change.

In a perfect world all leadership changes take place smoothly and on a timeline that allows for seamless transition. People have the opportunity to say goodbye and cleanly wrap up the projects and initiatives they've worked on. Arrival in a new position comes with ample lead time and a clear mandate of what and how needed changes are to be implemented. In the real world however, things are rarely that simple. Change requires time and consideration. Context and other factors needs to be examined. A change in one place is rarely self contained and frequently sends shock waves of cascading effect throughout the organization. Inevitably some people are pleased and others disappointed in whatever choices are made.
 Another view of change can be found at What I've Learned About Change, a great blog post by Justin Tarte, forwarded to me by one of district administrators. Justin lists 8 very valid thoughts for change agents including that change is rarely easy and that "You will need to put on your big boy or big girl pants. You will need to wear an extra set of armor both on the front and the back, and you will need to keep your emotions and personal feelings in check. Change can be fun, exciting, and beneficial to the entire organization, but it's definitely not easy, and almost always becomes personal".

Everyone has an opinion on change. In her novel "Frankenstein" Mary Shelley wrote, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Charles Kettering wrote "The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has ever brought progress" and the Greek philosopher Heraclitus claimed that "Change is the only constant".  Here's hoping that this week's changes bring only progress and good things and that we all adapt to them the best we can!







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