How To Get Everyone Off The Sidelines And Actively Engaged In Transformation 


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You’re listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 51.

Hey Builders. 

Welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host Robyn Jackson, and today we're going to talk about how to get everyone off the sidelines and actively engaged in your transformation or your change process.

Now tell me if this has ever happened to you. 

Have you ever set an expectation for new behavior in your school and you talk to people about why you are setting this new expectation? You engage in conversations, you removed a couple of roadblocks that were keeping people from implementing. You bought in training and gave people support and supply the materials, and then when you go visit a classroom, you still don't see teachers implementing. I know it can be frustrating. And so today we're going to talk about why that happens and we're going to talk about how you can start setting the expectation and holding people accountable for that expectation.

And we're going to show you how to do it like a builder. But before we get started, I want to talk about something that I am so excited about because this week we released the 2020 dates for builders lab. So you can get all the dates at Mindsteps inc com slash builders dash lab, but you don't have to go there because I'm going to tell you, I'm going to tell you what the dates are. So the first date for 2020 is January 21 through 23 right here in Washington DC. We have a great hotel. We've been to this hotel before. It's right on the edge of Washington, DC in Virginia. It's right near Reagan national airport. The food is amazing, the views are gorgeous and I'm excited.

I just completed a series of builders labs...It just keeps getting better and better and better.

And what's funny to me is that a lot of times people will come to builders lab and then they will come back again. And you know, I used to worry about people coming back to builders lab for a second time because I would think that, you know, like we've been, so you kind of know what it's about, why are you coming back? But people always tell me that they come a second time and some people will come in third time because there's always something new and they love hearing it again. They love hearing the material again and going through the material again. So I don't even know why I started talking about that. Oh, I know why. Because I'm talking about the dates. We always have people who come to builder's lab and it's their second or their third time there. So if you've been to builders lab before, come on back because there's some cool new things.

There's some twists and some, you know, I dunno, it's refined every single time. So anyway, I got off on a tangent about that, but the first set of dates are January 21 to 23 and Washington D C now we're going to try to do two this summer and the first one's going to be on June 29 through July 1st and again that's going to be in the DC area. And then we're also gonna do another one July 20 through 22nd and we don't have the location for that nailed down jets yet so I'll keep you posted on that. And then the final builders lab of 2020 is going to be October 19 through 21st and we're going to Las Vegas so you can get all of those dates by going to Mindsteps inc com slash builders dash lab. That's Mindsteps inc com slash builders dash lab.

If you're listening to this sometime in the future and those dates have already passed, that link will still work.

Mindset inc com slash builder stash lab and you can find out when the next builders lab is coming up. Now, the second thing I want to tell you is that, I don't know if you know this cause I don't usually talk about this publicly, but we also do a couple of private builders labs every single year. So sometimes a school district will call us and they'll say, you know, we have about 50 or 60 administrators that we want to send to builder's lab, but it's getting cost prohibitive. Is there a way that you'd be willing to bring builder's lab to us? And so we do, you know, two, three private builders labs every single year where we go to the district and we bring builders lab to you. And what's nice about that is that we can customize the experience so that it's designed to directly address some of the challenges that you may be facing in your district.

So we don't do a lot. But if you are interested in bringing builder's lab to you, then go ahead and give us a call in the office. And the number at our office is (888) 565-8881 that's (888) 565-8881 and ask for John and John can talk to you a little bit more about how that works. And so if you want to bring builder's lab to you, that's what you need to do. Alright, so now let's talk about the expect stage. Now for those of you who have been listening for while you know this is part of a longer series that kind of outlines the whole process for transforming your school. The whole process for change, and we started out in episode 47 talking about the excite stage.

The first thing you have to do is get people excited about the change. 

You have to help people understand why they're making the change and you have to do it from their perspective, not from your perspective. And then we talked about once, get people excited and episode 48 we talked about, now you give people an opportunity to explore the change before you ask them to make it surface. The constraints and you want to be intentional about finding out what is holding them back, what would get in the way, what are the barriers that they see, and then start removing those barriers. And then once you do that and episode 49 we talked about, now you can get people engaged. And that means providing training and support and resources that get people really prepared to be successful in the new change. You have to do all of that first before you get to the expect stage or doesn't work. And this is where a lot of us make the mistake. And this is why we have the frustration of saying, you know, look, I'm ready for people to actually implement the change.

Well, when I go on to classrooms, I still don't see it. If you skip those first three stages of the transformation cycle, that's probably going to be your outcome. And I know it's frustrating, but it's because you didn't lay the groundwork for the change. You just ran in and had an an an expectation. And when the expectation isn't met, then you're disappointed. And the thing about expectations is this. If you set an expectation but you don't set people up to meet your expectation, you are bound to be disappointed. So we have to make sure that we take care of those first three stages of transformation first. They're not superfluous. They are necessary. And if you do that, if you spend the time and energy doing that the right way, they expect stages really easy.

The expect stage is actually a culmination of a lot of the work.

It's, it's now we've talked about it during the first three stages and now we're actually gonna be about it in the classroom and people are excited to actually start implementing and to actually start putting this change into place because they believe in it and they're ready. So we have to make sure we don't skip the first three stages. But even though you've laid the groundwork in the first three stages, it doesn't mean that everybody is going to meet your expectations right away. One of the frustrating things about the expect stage is that as a natural part of the process, there are going to be some people who even by the time you get to this stage, they are still sitting on the sidelines. They didn't get excited during the excite stage. They didn't participate during the exploration stage. They paid lip service to the training.

They didn't take advantage of the support during the engaged age. And it's not until this stage that some of those people will get off the sidelines. So a lot of people get really frustrated and they think the process isn't working because they've done the first three steps of the process and they get to the expect stage and they go into some classrooms and they still don't see teachers implementing. But that is to be expected, no pun intended, that is part of this process. And so once you understand that, instead of getting frustrated about it, anticipated, expected, be ready for it. And there are three things that you can do at this stage to get those people who have been sitting on the sidelines so far, actively engaged in the process. And so I want to tell you those three things today and show you how you can implement them in your school so you can get everybody who's been sitting on the sidelines off the sidelines and actively engage in your transformation.

Remember! The goal of the expect stage is about getting the transformation implemented consistently and pervasively throughout your school.

And what that means consistently means that every time I go into a teacher's classroom, I see the new behaviors and pervasively means that every classroom I go into, I see the new behaviors. So the idea they expect stage is that by the time you're done, you should see consistent and pervasive implementation of your change. Now, here's a caveat. It may not be perfect, but you should see it every time. You should see everybody attempting sincerely the change. Okay? So what are the three things you need to do to make this happen? The first thing you need to do is you need to standardize the change. The number one reason why our expectations are disappointed is because if you have an expectation without an agreement that leads to conflict.

Let me say that again. Expectations without agreement leads a conflict and so when people get to the expect stage, they don't clarify what the new normal is going to be. They don't explain what the new expectation is and they don't get agreement from everybody that about the new expectation and said they just kind of start walking into classrooms with a clipboard and teachers are doing what they think is expected or they're not doing anything at all. And the, they're the administrators just checking things off the list and dinging teachers and you know it, it becomes this contentious thing. So the first thing you need to do during the expect stage, in fact you should start doing this as you are moving out of the engaged stage into the expect stage, is you need to sit down with teachers and say, okay, we've talked about this change.

We believe in this change! You've gotten support around this change!

Now let's talk about what the new expectation is going to be. And then you lay it out. And in fact, if you're really good, instead of just laying up the expectation, you're going to create that with the teachers. You're going to cocreate the new expectations. We're going to sit down with the teachers and instead of handing them, we'll list to look for some ASCA belts. You can cocreate those look for us and ask about with a teacher, you can leverage their expertise. They've been through their training, they're ready now to talk about this. And you can leverage their expertise to create a set of look for and ask abouts that everybody can agree upon if it's not an instructional thing. If you can set, you know, what is the new standard look like? What is the new behavior?

So let me give you an example. We, as you know, we do a lot of work around training teachers on how to implement rigorous instruction in their classroom. And one of the things that we teach teachers how to do is to create rigorous unit plans. So we start out by getting teachers excited about rigor, talking to them about why it's important and helping them understand what it is and, and how it can play out in their classroom. Showing them the potential that rigor presents. Then we explore the concept of rigor. We talk about what it is and what it isn't. We talk about some of the challenges that they face around rigor. We show them the entire process. We surface the constraints and the complaints that teachers have. And then during the engage stage, we actually show them how to plan rigorous units.

It starts out by interrogating their standards. 

We need to make sure the teachers understand the standards and that they understand the thinking demanded by the standards. And then we show them how to plan a unit backwards from the standards so that everything they do in the unit actually leads students to achieving or exceeding the standards. So that's kind of our process. Now when it comes to the expect stage where we're saying, okay, now that you understand how to plan for rigorous instruction, now let's talk about the new way that we are now expecting you to plan and deliver instruction. At this point we are now going to move to rigorous unit plans and we give them a template. We talk about what the template entails and then we get teachers to agree that this is the new planning template they will use. Once we have that agreement, it's a lot easier to have the expectation, but not only that, it's a lot easier for teachers to meet the expectations because they clearly understand what those expectations are.

Now, just because you say this is the new expected behavior, it doesn't mean that teachers are clear about what that expected behavior is. You need to sit down with teachers and say, here's a new expectation. Does everybody understand it? Does everybody agree with it? Or better yet you need to sit down with the teachers and say, we've come this far in the process. What is a reasonable expectation now that we are in this point in the process that we can now say that we can see and expect from you consistently and pervasively throughout this school, and then co-create those expectations with teachers. I'm telling you, it's powerful when you do that. When you sit down and involve teachers in the setting of the expectation, it's it's, it functions as an agreement. Remember I was telling you, people don't tear down what they create, and if you can get teachers engage in setting the new expectations, it gives teachers an opportunity to be a part of the process and leverages their expertise, their experience, their perspective, so that you have not only a reasonable expectation, but you have an expectation that can be supported by everybody that is supported by everybody.

The first step is, you need to standardize the change. 

The next step is that once you standardize to change, now you can start monitoring the change and help everybody be accountable to what they've already agreed to. What that means is you're going to go into classrooms, you're going to look at what's happening. And the only thing you're looking for this point is do I see it or do I not see it? So in the example that I've been using about how we help schools move to more rigorous instruction, once teachers have agreed to planning units this way, the first thing that we're monitoring is now we're going to collect the units and just see are teachers using the new unit planning process? They may not be perfect and a lot of cases they aren't. And we're continuing to kind of support them around that.

But all I'm looking for is do we see it? And then the next stages I'm going to start visiting classrooms and I have your unit plan in front of me. Do I see you teaching according to your unit plan? That's it. So not walking around with a clipboard and glasses and a checklist and you know, kind of chasing and checking and correcting people around the expectation. I'm simply going in and saying, do I see it or do I not see it? And then as an administrative team, you want to sit down and kind of look at whether or not you're seeing this consistently and pervasively. Are there teachers who still aren't implementing? Are there teachers who think they're implementing but they're not implementing and there are two different ways you're going to handle it.

If you have a teacher who's just not doing it at all, then you can HELP that teacher be accountable.

Notice I said it helped the teacher be accountable rather than hold the teacher accountable. Because when you're holding the teacher accountable, you only have a few tools you can write them up or you know you can give them a warning and let her to file and that creates a contentious situation. Helping them be accountable is simply reminding them, remember we have this expectation and you are there and you also agreed to meet this expectation. So now what's going on? And there's a whole conversational format that we teach you. I'm at builder's lab on how to do that. I don't have time to go into the whole format right now, but there is a a conversational framework that you can use that reminds teachers of the agreement that you made of the expectation that they were a part of setting that helps them be accountable without fussing at them or writing them off or you know, creating a contentious situation or raising your own blood pressure.

You know, without these kinds of tools. What happens is when you sit down with teachers and you haven't laid this ground working, having said this expectation and you haven't gotten the agreement, now you're just mad. Now you're just going in and saying, we've done all this for the teachers and they're still not doing it, and then you're just mad when you have these tools. It's not, you don't get mad, you just sit down with the teacher and it's a calm, simple conversation and nine times out of 10 it's enough to get that teacher back on track. You see a lot of teachers will drag their feet or sit on the sidelines because they don't really believe that you mean what you say either. They don't really believe that you're going to do it this time. And can you blame them? Because how many times we've launched initiatives or set expectations and then a year from now we're on to something else.

This is NOT to blame the teacher.

You don't go in judging the teacher because you have those agreements with the teacher because the expectation has been set with everybody being involved in that process. It's a lot easier to help the teacher be accountable. So sometimes you're going to see teachers are not doing the behavior and this is the point where you can help them be accountable. Other times you're going to see teachers doing something that they think is the expected behavior, but it really isn't. And for those teachers, you're going to do the third thing. And the third thing is you're going to provide additional support and feedback. Now I want to say something about additional support and feedback because this is where a lot of people get frustrated. You see, there's some teachers who during the engage stage when you are offering all of this support and non evaluative feedback, they weren't taking it seriously.

They went to the training and they sat in the back and took a nap. You gave them feedback and they didn't bother to do anything about it. And now that you're at the expect stage and the stakes are higher and the accountability is greater, all of a sudden these teachers realize, wait a minute, they're serious. This is, this is really happening. And those teachers who didn't engage in the support at the beginning now need support. And a lot of administrators get mad at this point because they said they got support. I gave it to them and they didn't take advantage of it. So now the, now they need it and now I've got to go back and give them support again. Look, it's a part of the process. Just anticipate that this is going to happen and be prepared with a training. Remember the goal of this stage is to help everybody get off the sidelines and get engaged.

Focus on that! Focus on, maybe they didn't engage in the training during the engaged stage but they're ready for it now. 

Yay, that's good. Give them the training they need so that they can implement. The goal is to get everybody implementing consistently and pervasively. So don't get caught up on the fact that they didn't take advantage of the training before. Get excited about the fact that they're ready for it now. And sometimes it takes people this long to get ready. So just be prepared for it and don't let it stress you out. Know that this is a part of the process. So let me run down the process again. The three things that you need to do, the first thing you need to do is you need to standardize your change. It's better when you do it with teachers and you actually get their agreement, okay, this is what the new normal is going to look like.

This is the new expectation when I go into your classrooms now. And the teachers are part of that process because expectations without agreement leads a conflict. So you want to get agreement around the expectations. Once you've gotten the agreement, now you can monitor the process and help people be accountable. And then finally you can provide additional feedback and support so that you can help people not just implement consistently and pervasively, but now start to implement with fidelity. And so that's, that's it. That's the expect stage. Remember, it's pretty simple when you've laid the groundwork first during the first three stages of the transformation process, it becomes a lot more complicated when you don't invest in that work. And usually when I'm working with our clients and they are frustrated at the expect stage, we usually find that the didn't do the groundwork ahead of time.

If you lay the groundwork, the Expect stage is simple. 

And not only is it simple, it's also stress free because you've anticipated where teachers are, you're prepared for the process. And, and I do think this is a hidden benefit of it. You actually start seeing the implementation and people are excited to implement. Most people are not going to drag their feet if you've laid the groundwork right. In fact, they're going to be excited to be implementing. They're going to be excited to have me come into their classrooms. So then you can actually see them doing the thing that they've been working on doing. The thing that they helped kind of standardize and create and set the, the new normal. They, because they've been involved in that process, they're going to be excited when you come see it, they want you to see it. They're also gonna be excited that they're actually doing it and they're seeing the results for kids.

So rather than being the part of the process that you're dragging people towards the goal, they expect stage becomes a part of the process where you can begin to actually see results where you can actually see people start to implement well, you can actually try the thing that you've been preparing to try and start to experience the benefits that you said you were going to experience when you implement it. The transformation to begin with, so it doesn't have to be a stressful thing. The expect stage can actually be a pretty joyful part of the transformation process. That's of course, if you do the expect stage, like a builder.

All right, let's talk about next time...

We only have two stages left. We have the evaluate stage and the extend stage. So next time we're going to talk about how you implement the evaluate stage without stress about heartache without tears. How do you implement the evaluates the age where you set people up to be successful and you can now celebrate your success? You can now start seeing tangible results.

We'll talk about that next time.

Thanks so much and I'll talk to you more next week! 

Bye for now. See you next time. 

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School Leadership Reimagined is brought to you by Mindsteps Inc, where we build master teachers.