School Leadership Reimagined - Making Change Stick

Making Change Stick 

​VIEW THE SHOW NOTES FOR THIS EPISODE

Note: ​School Leadership Reimagined is produced ​as a podcast and designed to be ​listened to, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the correspo​​nding audio before quoting in print.

You’re listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 53.

Welcome to the school leadership re-imagined podcast where we rethink what's possible to transform your school if you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stayed tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now here's your host, Robyn Jackson.

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 make change stick so quick. Think about a change than you instituted three years ago in your school or that was instituted three years ago in your school. And now I want you to ask yourself, is that change still alive and well in our school culture? Is it so much a part of our school culture that it's just the way that we do things? Now I'm guessing that in most cases the answer is no. And that's because at schools we don't typically create change that sticks.

We are always ricocheting from one change or initiative to the next.

And again, I'm not criticizing schools. We have a sense of urgency. There are things that we need to do to support our students and our culture as educators is that we're always trying to find the next improvement. So I'm not criticizing our constant search to find better and better ways to serve students. What I am critiquing is that the way that we typically do change in schools is that we launch a change. There's a big splashy launch, and then at some point that launch fizzles out. And even if we successfully Institute a change two years later, we're off to the next change and we often don't have processes in place to make change stick. And that's a problem for several reasons. First of all, after a while you really create this sense that that you're on this kind of initiative, hamster wheel, this change hamster wheel, where we're constantly working harder, harder, harder, harder, and we're just not getting anywhere.

That can kill your culture. 

It can really create it, create a sense of initiative, fatigue in your culture. And not only that, it gives people this permission not to move because why am I going to invest in a change when you're going to come along in a year or two years from now and tell me, okay, forget that change now we're going to do something else.

The other side of that is that a lot of times we'll, we'll pile one change on top of another change on top of another change and we wear people out because they're expected to do this new thing on top of this other new thing on top of this other new thing. And that's when you get people overwhelmed and exhausted. There's gotta be a better way. And I'm here to tell you that there is a better way because today we're going to talk about how do you make change stick? How do you keep from Ricka shading for one change to the next and never having something that sticks? How do you create a change that has lasting benefits that becomes so much a part of your culture that it's no longer a new thing?

It's just our thing, It's just the way that we do it in our school.

But before we jump into how to make change stick first I want to remind you that we have a builder's lab coming up in January. So the next builder's lab is happening January 21 through 23 right here in Washington DC. And we are going to be at a gorgeous hotel with a beautiful view of the city, great food. And people always wonder why I emphasize the food at builder's lab so much. Well first of all it's because I like to eat. Y'all know me, you know I love to eat. So food's very important to me. So we spoil people with food. I want to make sure you have good food, but there's another reason you see it build your slab. We are doing a lot of really hard work. This is not a conference where you can sit back and kind of just kind of doze in and out of the presentations.

No, this is really interactive. So I am presenting things. I'm working with you on how to, you know, so once I present like a vision for instance, or what a vision is supposed to do, then you actually go and you write a vision. We're doing micro slicing where we're looking at videos of classrooms and trying to pinpoint the root cause. We're sitting down and creating our 90 day plan. So it's a lot of work and I feel like if you're going to be working that hard, if you're going to be that intense, you need good food. And the other reason is that as educators, we work so hard anyway and why not have an opportunity to get spoiled a little bit. I appreciate that people come to builders lab and I show it based on giving them really great hotels and really great food. So that's why I make a big deal about the little things. Because when you come to builders lab, I want to make sure that there are no distractions. I don't want you hungry. I don't want you called. I don't want you miserable because you need to be focused on the real work of builder's lab, which is creating your own builders blueprint.

Now, can I tell you that when people create their builder's blueprint, it is life altering. 

I mean, just last week I was working with a group of principals and they, we spent two days together creating builders blueprints. I had goosebumps by the time we were done, they were creating these amazing visions for their schools and they walked out of the room not only with just an amazing vision and mission and set of core values, they walked out of that room with a solid plan for how they are going to achieve their vision and how they're going to make huge progress towards achieving that vision in the next 90 days. So that means that when they walked out of the room last week, they had a vision and a mission and a set of core values in place and a solid plan that they were going to make real progress by the middle of January. I mean, think about that. In three months, your school could look totally different in three months your biggest challenge could be gone. That's what happens when you create a builder's blueprint and so that's why I believe in the power of builder's lab because as you know, builders lab is really about helping you turn your school into a success story with the people and the resources you already have so you don't have to wait.

You don't have to say, Oh well maybe I'll do that next year. Right now there are people who are creating bilges blueprints either through builders lab or from one of our private workshops and they are seeing that transformation now. They're not waiting until next year. They're not waiting until they get better teachers or they get different teachers. They're not waiting until some teachers leave or until they get permission from somebody on high. They are creating success stories right now and you can too, so all you need to do is go to Mindsteps inc com slash builders dash lab. That's mindset think.com/builders-lab and check out the dates. If you're listening to this sometime after January, 2020 the most recent dates will be right there on that website. Get your ticket, come to builders lab, and then lean builders lab with a solid plan for your school.

Get a deeper understanding of why your school is struggling.

Or I shouldn't say struggling because I'll tell you what builders lab really works well if you have a school that's struggling, but you know the people who are getting the biggest gains from builder's lab, they have a people who already have a good school. I mean things are going fairly well, but they know that their school could be better and they're stuck at good and they can't figure out how to get to great. Those people see like dramatic results in 90 days because at builders lab you get on stuff, you figure out, okay, we've got things good. So the problem with good is it seduces you and to thinking that, well, you know things are already pretty good and it keeps you from taking a hard look at your school. The builder's blueprint and the process we use the builders lab will help you do that, will help you take a good hard look at what's going on at your school and it pinpoints the root cause so you actually, when you make change it's change that matters.

It's the right change. It helps you figure out what's the best. Next thing I can do, and I can tell you that schools who are are at good but you know that you can be better. You know that, that you're just kind of satisfied with the status quo and your staff is satisfied with the status quo and you know that you can, if you just could figure it out, you could push your school to being great. I mean a great school builder's lab is great for you. So again, Mindsteps inc com slash builders dash lab and you can get your tickets. The next one is happening January 21 through 23 2020 right here outside of Washington, D C and I would love it. We would love it if you would join us. Can I tell y'all that? This is the work that has been some of the most rewarding work of my career.

I've had a long career, I've done a lot of training and it took me this long to figure out the thing.

You know, I gave trainings in the past and it was always, you know, my best thinking at the moment and it was pretty good. But I'm telling you what we are doing at builder's lab has just been given me life because I see the transformations right before my eyes. And so I just, I love this work right now. I'm really having a good time with this kind of work. I'm really having a good time seeing the success stories. So that's why I keep talking about it so much. Okay, so now let's talk about a piece of that process. We have been going through the six stages of transformation and if you have missed any of those in the series, just go back to, I think it starts at episode 47 where we talk about the excite stage episode 48 where we talk about the explore stage, episode 49 where we talked about the engaged age, episode 50 we took a break because we needed to celebrate.

Then back at episode 51 we talked about expect and then episode 52 we talked about evaluate and today we're going to talk about the last part of that transformation cycle, which is extend and this is really the part that a lot of people, you know, they get to the evaluate, they see change happening, they start seeing results, they get the test scores back, or they've gone through a round of teacher evaluations and they're seeing teachers do really well in the classrooms and this is where everybody celebrates and and you should, it is, you know, you're starting to seek success. At this point. You're starting to see real change happening in your school and it's okay to celebrate. But after you've finished celebrating, there is one more step. And if you skip this step, what you're gonna find is that you will celebrate the change in a year from now.

The change won't look like it does now. And in fact things will started eroding. 

People will start kind of sliding back to their former behaviors. And then you're frustrated and then you're saying while the process didn't work, no the process worked, but you didn't work the entire process. And so today we're going to talk about how do you make change stick. So the purpose of the extend stage is to take the successes that you have achieved during the transformation cycle and actually extend them so that they become totally embedded in your culture. And there are three things that you really need to focus on if you're going to do that. The first thing is you need to figure out what do we learn from this process. And this is something we all know we need to do more of in schools. We need to be reflective.

We are typically not very reflective. So we create a strategic plan at the beginning of the year or school improvement plan at the beginning of the year we launch it and then at the end of the year we'd kind of, you know, some of us are required to kind of fill out paperwork about how our sip plan went. And so we might do that and kind of get it in, but it's, it's done at the rush of the end of the year. Others of us are never held accountable for our sip plans. So when we a new one every summer, but we don't often sit down and reflect on what we learned, not just with the change itself, but with the change process. So the first thing you need to do is you need to sit down and need you to say, okay, well let's look at each of the stages of the change process.

Where do we have the most push-back?

Where did things start going off the rails? What mistakes that we made? And you will make mistakes. But the key is to learn from those mistakes. So leverage those mistakes into new processes and to new ways of doing things to help you avoid those mistakes in the future. So you sit down and you figure out, okay, what did we learn? What worked really, really well and what should we keep doing? I usually like to ask five questions when I'm reflecting on an entire process and those questions are one, what did we do that we probably shouldn't do anymore? What should we, what should we stop doing entirely? What should we never do again? And those are pretty easy to identify. You know, we shouldn't push teachers too hard or you know what, we probably shouldn't add an extra meeting to the teacher's day.

That did not work. We thought it was going to work at the time, but all I did was kind of fatigued teachers so we shouldn't do that anymore. So what should we stop doing? Then the next question is, what should we do less of? So maybe at the beginning we were really focusing a lot on, on PD for teachers around this particular topic. But teachers have gotten it now, so we don't need as much of that PD anymore. Or you know, now that we have this new change in place, there's some other policies that no longer make sense because now kids are at a different level or teachers that are at a different level and those same things don't apply anymore. So we don't have to do that nearly as much anymore. So we should do some things. We should do some things less. I don't even know if that's grammatically correct less, but we should do less of these things. That's what I'm trying to say.

So what should we stop doing? What should we do less of? 

I hate ending that in a preposition. What should we be doing less? Let's try that. The third thing, it's what should we keep doing? So this is the one that we often don't kind of codified. We don't say what are the things that are working and we just need to keep doing that. We just assume that people figure that out, but we really need to not make those assumptions. Instead, we need to actually sit down and say, okay, these things we absolutely must keep doing because these are the things that are driving the change. And that's why a lot of times change erodes over time because we're not clear about the things that we need to keep doing. So you may say, you know what the weekly meetings with with team members in the new agenda that we're using for those weekly meetings that is working, we definitely need to keep that.

Even though those weekly meetings may not always be about the change. The meeting format is working really well or the new grading and reporting policy that we put in place of work. This change that's working and it's working beyond just the, the, the change. It's working because it's helping people communicate feedback to kids and their families more effectively. So we need to keep that change. So what do we to keep doing? And you need to identify, it shouldn't be a list of 27 different things, right? Cause that's just too much. But you know, two or three things that are really working we need to keep doing because they are crucial for sustaining the change.

The next question is what do we need to do more of? 

Maybe there was something that you started in the change and it worked really well and we need to do more of that. So you know, one of the things that you may have started was, you know, we started celebrating our wins and that really was motivating to people. And even though the change processes has come to its logical conclusion, we need to make sure that we are celebrating those wins and we probably need to celebrate wins a little bit more than we're doing because it really does motivate our staff. So what do we need to do more of? And then finally, what do we need to start doing? Now we're good at starting stuff but does that all of the stuff we're starting, does it make sense? This one you want to be careful about what? Based on the change and based on what's happening in schools. Now, every time I have a saying, we have a saying in mindsets and it's new level new devil and I probably need to do a podcast about that at some point because that's really, really crucial.

New level new devil. And what that means is that every time you move your school to a new level, you're going to face a new challenge. And you ought to be kind of anticipating that it always happens. It never fails. So a lot of times people, you know, get to the summit of the change and they celebrate and they're saying, we're at the mountain top now all our problems will melt away. Oh no, no, no honey, new level, new devil, which means that once you get to the mountaintop, the problems that you were dealing with before may have gone away. But now there are new challenges, there are new problems that are going to come up and you need to be ready for that.

So, what do we need to start doing to handle the new devil now that we're at the new level?

So the first thing you want to do is you want to take some time to be deliberately reflective, and this is not something you're just wanting to do in your office by yourself. You know, 7:00 PM on a Thursday night when the building is clear and you can think maybe you did that, but you're not going to stop there. You're going to include your staff in these reflections. You're going to ask them to be thinking about this too, and you want everybody to kind of mindfully consider the whole process, what worked, what didn't work, what should we keep? What should we do more of? What should we do less of? Which should we start? What should we stop? You want to ask those questions and then come up with, okay, these are the key learnings that we need to take into the next change process whenever that is. So that's the first step. Identify the key learnings. Now the next step is just as important because if you just learn from the process and then go back to what you were doing before, it's a wasted lesson.

Once you've learned from the process, you need to figure out how do we embed this change into our culture. You see up to this point, the change is just the initiative. Maybe it's something you've been working on for the year, but people who have been around for a while know that typically when you do a change for a year, the next year, that change has gone. The next year we're onto something else. And so you don't want people to think that, Oh, I just work hard for a little bit and then you know, we celebrate, but then we're on to the next thing. You want people to believe that that change is going to be a part of your culture. And this to me is probably the most rewarding part of the change process, at least for me. So when I'm going into schools and I'm helping them Institute this change process, this is the part I love the most.

We've been working with the school for a while and we've got this change going, usually the transformation takes somewhere between 18 months and three years. 

So this is not just like, okay, we're going to do this and six months later, Tada, we're all done. No, this is a commitment. But after we go through that process, I usually come back and I visit the school a year, two years, three years later, and I'm only looking for one thing are the changes that we made two, three years ago still in place and have they become a part of the culture and the success stories that I love the most are when I come back two and three years later and I'm talking to people about the change, they forget that they worked on that change with me. They forget that they were working with Mindsteps and we helped them make that change and then they start saying, you know, this is what we do here.

This is what we've always done. Or they forget what school was like before the change process happened. They think that this is the way that they've always done things. That's how I know that it's embedded in the culture now and used to be a little bit of a blow to my ego if I'm really honest, because I'd go back in, I remember I went to one district and they got a new superintendent or associate superintendent was the superintendent, was like an assistant superintendent. And so I'd been working in the district for about three years and the associate superintendent came in and I went back to visit the district and I was talking to the associate superintendent and she really didn't want to talk to me because she thought it was, they're selling something or I don't, I don't really know.

She had walls up when I went to talk to her.

And the person who introduced me to her said, you know, I want you to meet Robin. You know, Robin has worked in the district and here's kind of what she does. And the associate superintendent immediately went on, you know, Repeller mode. And she goes, Oh, that's nice that you did that, but we don't need that here at this district because you know we are doing X, Y, and Z. In fact, we have one school that's doing X. And she started telling me about this school and I was saying, yeah, that's a school we'd been working with for three years, and she's using that as our flagship school in our district. So I said, Oh yeah, we worked with that school for three years and help them get that in place. She says, Oh, Oh, well we have another school that's doing Y. And she started telling me about the other school and it was another school that we'd worked with and I said, yeah, we worked with that school for the last three years and we helped them do this.

And I explained to her the process and she says, Oh, well we have another school that does this. She did it like three or four times and every single time I was saying, yes, that's our school. At some point she just stopped talking because she started to realize the things that she thought were kind of ingrained in the district that were just the way that that school did things were actually things that were a result of the transformation process. You see a lot of people buy programs, so they say, Oh, we need that, so we'll bring in this program, or Oh, we're struggling with this challenge and we'll bring in that program and then it's always about the program. As long as we do the program, things will happen. Or as long as we do the program, we'll get the results.

But when do you use the transformation process?

It's not about anyone a program or it's not about somebody book or a manual. It's not somebody else's strategy. When you use the transformation process, I don't care what program or strategy you use, you embedded into the culture. It's no longer this thing we bought out there. It's the thing we do as a school. That's how you know the change is stuck and a lot of times we're satisfied with, Oh, we're doing this program now, but people never own it. It's always the program out there. So a lot of times I see people in schools that are saying, Oh, we're doing PBIS, or Oh, we're doing avid and it's always a program out there and the responsibility for results always belongs to the program. The schools that I've seen that have been the most successful leverage avid, leverage, PBIS, and so that they become a part of the culture.

So it's not, we do this program, this, it's more, this is how we do things as a school and the program is just a part of a bigger movement that we are creating as a school because this is how we want to serve our students. This is how we're helping our students be successful. Until the change that you want reaches that level of ownership, until people feel like this is not the change out there, this is internal, this is how we do things in our school. That change hasn't stuck yet. So you have to be deliberate about not just, you know, kind of celebrating and learning from the results, but you have to figure out how to take that change and embedded into your school culture. So there are a couple of things you need to do.

First is you need to figure out what are the current processes that we already have and how do we integrate this change into our current processes.

So it doesn't have to be this thing out there. It just becomes a part of the way we do things. Remember how I taught you in the past that culture is really habits and stories. That's all that culture is. Culture is a collection of, of institutional habits and the stories we tell about them. Well, if that's the case, then how do you take the changes that you've been instituting in your school and make them institutional habits? Let me give you an example. Years ago I worked in a middle school and we really were trying to Institute the middle school model. And part of the middle school model is that kids are our team just purely as possible. And the team works together. The team works on supporting a group of kids. And we wanted that team concept to be, you know, kind of prime in our school. And so we had created a master schedule where all the teams had common planning time.

And then we also created a master schedule where the kids were at, you know, just as purely teams, like 95% of the kids purely teamed. And so we had this, you know, amazing master schedule. But the problem was even though we had this common planning time and we had pure teams, a lot of times teachers would come to the common planning time. And when it came time to talk about kids, we were talking about the same five or 10 kids on the team over and over again. And other kids on the team were getting neglected.

Now we had instituted a change. We had moved to a pure middle school model. 

We had put some things in place, people kind of understood what it was, but we hadn't yet created a habit that supported the cultural change and the cultural shift that we wanted to see. One of the things we did was we have the structures in place. Yes, team leaders and team members would meet around this time to talk about kids. But what we hadn't done, this created a habit around how we talk about kids and so what we did was we said, okay, we're going to require that every single team, every team meeting talks about a portion of their roster. So let's say we have 150 kids per team. Then every single team meeting we're going to pick 20 kids off the roster and those are the kids who are going to discuss. We're going to check in and see how the kids are doing. We're going to discuss those kids first and then if there are other students who are in crisis or who needs to be discussed, we'll discuss them after that. But we created an organizational habit around how we talk about kids so that we could not just, you know, kind of look on the master schedule and say, yes, we have a full team concept, but we're actually living and embodying that team concept.

And the way that we talk about students. So when you are creating a change and let's say you're shifting grading and reporting policies, let's say you're instituting more rigor in your school. Let's say that you are creating a support system to, to support your struggling learners. It can't just be a program that's kind of sitting outside of the day to day work that you do in your school. You have to figure out ways to take that program that's kind of sitting outside and integrated into the practices of your school and your day to day work. So it may mean that you have to reshuffle how people are teamed or or how people are grouped together. It may mean that you have to, you know, create planning time or time in the day to Institute this change. It may mean that you have to create other institutional organizational habits about how you do training or how you do staff meetings or, or, or when you submit grades or how you submit grades, whatever that is.

Make sure that you don't just keep the change sitting out there. 

Look at your day to day operations. In the school and figure out how you have to shift your day to day operations so that that change becomes a part of your day to day operations and not something that's just kind of sitting out there. And then the next thing you have to do is you have to standardize and change. So back to my example with what happened in the team meetings, we didn't just say you have to talk about 20 kids and let people kind of randomly say, Oh wait a minute, we're supposed to talk about 20 days.

Let's get out the roster and see where we are. No, we standardize and change. What we said is not only do you need to talk about 20 kids and not only does that have to be the first part of your agenda, here's the process for how you pick the 20 kids. And so the team leader would go through the roster, pick the next 20 kids on the roster, and would send out that list to the team members two days before the team meeting. 

The team members had to come prepared to answer three questions about every kid.

How is the kid doing academically? How is the kid doing social emotionally? Are there any red flags? And so they sat down, they said, okay, academically the kid's doing this or they're making it be right now they could be making an a, but they missed an assignment, you know, whatever it was, they have to talk about it. And then they had said they'd talked about the kids socially, emotionally. So they would say, okay, this student mentioned to me that our parents are getting divorced, so we may want to keep an eye on her. The student is struggling to make friends.

The student is starting to become a little bit of a mean girl. So we need to watch out. The student has been getting into some teasing incidents with other students. So we may want to talk to them, but we don't want it to turn into a bully, whatever it is. Or talking about that. And then are there any red flags? I'm missing three assignments from the student. They always turn the his work in, he always turns his work in. So we need to kind of follow up. There may be something else going on and when you standardize the change in that way so that people have a process for that habit that you're trying to Institute, that's when you start to see continuity. You start to see the implementation become more and more embedded in the culture because it becomes, this is the way we talk about students.

You don't leave that up to chance. 

You don't say, okay, you all need to be talking about kids in your team meeting. Instead, you want to make sure that people have a process for doing that. You want to standardize the change so that it becomes embedded in your culture. The last thing is that once you've embedded the change into your culture, you have to have a way to manage that change over time, and this was a huge learning from me. I, this is something that I am just learning. I got it before about how you needed to kind of standardize your change and embedded in your culture. But what I didn't get until recently was that you also need a, what I'm calling a control plan, a way to kind of come back and revisit that over time. Because remember I told you new level, new devil, a lot of times the changes that you implement, they are necessary.

You need to do that in order to get your school to a certain level. But you need to be able to go back a year from now, two years from now, three years from now and say, does that change still service? Because even as great as that change is, as you start to improve your school and other areas, you may not need that change or you may not need that change and the same way that you needed to before. Because new level, new devil, you've gotten to a point in your school where you are operating. And in a way that is, it's, it's smoother, it's, it's more successful. And so some of the changes that you put in place may not be necessary or as you get to a new level, you may find that you need to go deeper into a change in that you instituted three years ago because new stuff is coming up and you may need to revisit that change or to go deeper into that change to address the new devil that you've encountered at your new level.

You need a control plan. 

And bill control plan is just very simply a way to kind of go back on a regular basis and look at the changes that you've implemented and ask yourself, do these changes still serve us? Are we still implementing the change with fidelity to the original intent of the change? And if not, what do we need to do to get back on track? Most of us don't have this, I didn't have it for a long time, but now that I understand control plans and I see the power of control plans, that is super important. I probably need to do an episode just on how to create a control plan and I'm just gonna make a note to do that. But you need a control plan in place. If you don't have a control plan in place where you are monitoring the change over time, not over six months, not over a year, over six years, over a decade.

If you're not monitoring your changes over time to make sure that they are still serving you, you will get into the situation that I see many schools in right now where they are faithfully instituting a change in the no longer serves them. They have embedded into the culture and they are doing it because at one point it made sense but they haven't gone back to see does it still make sense? Does it still serve us given where we are right now and they're doing something and they don't know why they're doing it anymore. They don't understand what was the impetus to make this policy in the first place and they never asked the question, does this policy still serve us or do we need a different policy? Do we need to tweak it in some way.

That's how we get these asinine policies that everybody follows, but nobody understands why we're following it.

You need to monitor the change over time. You need a control plan and then you also need a recovery plan because after a while you may be instituting the change and something happens and things fall off. I've seen schools where as many as you know, half of the staff changes over in a year and so one half is faithfully following the change because they went through the entire change process and the other half of the staff has never been through the change process and isn't following the change and doesn't really understand why the change exists. So things happen or you know, you were instituting the change and then something else comes up and the change drafts by the wayside, it's still important. You still need it. But after you're in crisis mode now and because you're in crisis mode, you neglect the change and then things start to fall apart and you have to have a recovery plan for how to get back on track.

Now a recovery plan is different than a contingency plan, and I probably need to do an episode about recovery plans too. So I'm making notes and we're going to have to do a couple of really practical episodes where I show you how to create these things cause they're really important. But the recovery plan ask, what will we do if things go off the rails, how will we recover? A contingency plan is different. A contingency plan is when you say, okay, if things go off the rails, what are we going to do? And you actually lay out and try to anticipate everything that could go wrong and then have a plan for fixing it. Here's the problem with contingency plans. A, you can't predict everything that's gonna go wrong. And B, if you could predict it, why are you doing that? Why are you waiting for it to go wrong?And then saying, here's how we, you know, we'll, we'll jump in and solve it. Instead of doing that, if you, if you can anticipate it, you should build it in part of your plan. 

The recovery plan acknowledges the fact that we can't anticipate all the things that are going to go wrong. 

We don't know what's going to happen a year from now, two years from now, three years from now. A recovery plan simply says that when things go wrong and they will, but when things go wrong, here is how we will mobilize to address it. Here's how we're watching the data so we can detect things going wrong as early as possible. Here's who will be in the Rome when we figure out something is wrong. Here's the process we'll use to figure out how to deal with it. And here's the process we're going to use to communicate what we've decided to everybody so that everybody can get mobilized as quickly as possible.

So there's a difference between a contingency plan, which, you know, for me it's a waste. Cause if you can anticipate every contingency, you should just build it into the process and a recovery plan which says we can anticipate everything that's going on, but we do have a plan for how we will mobilize ourselves. The moment we hit a crisis so we can recover quickly and with a recovery plan, you can feel secure going into the future because you already know, no matter what happens, we have a rock solid plan for how we're going to mobilize and recover. We're never going to be in panic mode because we have a recovery plan that's going to show us exactly what we need to do in order to recover as quickly as possible.

Three things you need to do. 

First of all, you need to make sure that you have a process for learning from the change process. How are we going to learn how, what are the key things that we need to take away from this and how do we use those takeaways for the next change process? You need to be learning. The second thing is that you need to embed the change into the culture. It shouldn't be a change that our program that's kind of sitting out there, how do you integrate it into your day to day operations and make it a part of your culture? And then the third thing is how do you manage the change over time? So you need a control plan that helps you kind of revisit the change from time to time to time. And you need a recovery plan that's going to show you when things go wrong, how are you going to mobilize to recover? You do those three things and the change will stick.

That's assuming it's a good change and you have to go through the whole transformation process. Don't just grab this piece and say, Oh, we've got some changes. We need to make stick. And so let's go ahead and do this. And it's gonna work. It probably will work to degree. But if you make this a part of the entire transformation process, that's when you have the right change at the right time, done the right way, and it becomes so successful that it becomes embedded in your culture and it becomes just the way you're doing things. We had. Imagine three years from now, the big challenge that you're facing right now has been resolved so thoroughly that you forgotten that this thing that's keeping you up at night right now, this thing that is bothering you was even a thing. You know, three years from now. Your biggest challenge could be not only gone but so far gone that nobody in your school remembers that you were dealing with it.

You have such a process now in such a peaceful way of going about your school. 

It's such a, it's so embedded in your culture. It's just the way we do things around here. Imagine the kind of legacy that you could leave when you are at a particular school and you get moved to another school where when you come back to the first school a year from now, people are happy to see you, but the thing that you instituted, it's still happening. It's not your thing. It's their thing now. It's something that has become so much a part of their culture that they almost don't remember that you are the one who helped them achieve that. Now, I know that is ego busting. We, you know, we all kind of want to be a superhero. I mean I have my own Superman syndrome too, but when you think about it, would you rather have something that is your program or would you rather have something that is so successful and so effective that it's embedded in school culture and the school isn't better regardless of whether or not people point to you about it.

You can look back at that school and you can see long after you're gone. They are still doing that thing. They are still serving kids in that way and they are still seeing the success for kids that you help them achieve. I don't know about you but I've had it both ways. I've had it where I've come in and people have said, okay, we're going to do with the Robin Jackson way and then when I leave it falls apart and it's devastating to me because we worked hard to create a change and when I'm no longer there tending that change, it goes away. I mean what was the point? And I've had it where I've gone in and helped a school achieve true transformation. So it starts being the Robin Jackson way and it starts being just, this is the way we do things. And five years later I've gone back and visited that school and I see that they built upon it and that transformation has kept going and that school looks entirely different.

I can't tell you anything more gratifying than seeing a change stick, seeing the right change happen, the right time, the right way, and seeing it stick.

Not five months later, five years later, let's get our egos out of the way people and let's actually build something that will last. That's how you Institute change and make it stick like a builder. So this concludes our series on the transformation process and just again, so that you remember we started episode 47 with the excite and then explore and then engage and then expect evaluate. And today was extend. So if you haven't listened to the entire series, go back and listen to the entire series because it lays out the process that we've been using for the last, I dunno, 10 years or so to help schools transform and it works.

If you want help using this process to transform your own school, just give us a call at Mindsteps inc, It's (888) 565-8881 or you can go to the website at Mindsteps inc com and click on book a call and it's a button at the upper right hand corner and you can talk to one of our team members here, mindsets about how you can bring this process to your school. All right, now let's talk about next time.

So here we are, we've concluded this series, but there's one more piece...

It's not a step, it's more of a mindset that I want to talk about next time. And it's the thing that I think is getting in the way of a lot of people achieving real transformation in their schools. And so next time we're gonna talk about how what got you here won't get you there. I hope you'll join me next time. It's going to be a really good conversation. I'll talk to you then.

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

Bye for now. See you next time. 

Thank you for listening to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast for show notes and free downloads visit https://schoolleadershipreimagined.com/

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