Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 6 secrets of change...

I just finished reading "The Six Secrets of Change" by Michael Fullan. If you are a building or district leader interested in growing your school or district, this would be a valuable book to read.

"Probably the two greatest failures of leaders are indecisiveness in times of urgent need for action and dead certainty that they are right in times of complexity. pg. 6"

1) - Love your employees "The key is in enabling employees to learn continuously and to find meaning in their work and in their relationship to coworkers and to the school/district as a whole"

- The quality of the education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers pg. 23
- Empowering those at the bottom beats punishing them from the top pg. 25
- Loving your employees is about helping all employees find meaning, increased skill development, and personal satisfaction in making contributions that simultaneously fulfill their own goals and the goals of the organization pg. 25

2) - Connect peers with purpose "The job of leaders is to provide good direction while pursuing its implementation through purposeful peer interaction and learning in relation to results."

- Successful organizations engage peers in purposeful interaction where quality experiences and results are central to the work pg. 46
- People who are always making sure their boss sees them, who direct their efforts up the chain rather than to their colleagues, are the ones who don't work out pg. 46
- "Bad" competition (you fail, I win) is replaced by "good" competition (how do we all get better, but I still want to improve as much as I can - friendly competition) pg. 48
- Leaders have to provide direction, create the conditions for effective peer interactions, and intervene along the way when things are not working as well as they could pg. 49

3) - Capacity building prevails "Capacity building entails leaders investing in the development of individual and collaborative efficacy of a whole group or system to accomplish significant improvements."

- Groups are high capacity if they possess & continue to develop knowledge & skills, if they attract & use resources (time, ideas, expertise, money) wisely, & if they are committed to putting in the energy to get important things done collectively & continuously pg. 57
- Capacity building trumps judgmentalism pg . 58
- In the intrinsically complex and uncertain world of today, problems get solved when people believe that they will not get punished for taking risks pg. 60
- People have built quite successful careers - describing the hill, measuring the hill, walking around the hill, taking pictures of the hill, and so forth. Sooner or later, somebody needs to actually climb the 63
4) - Learning is the work "Effective organizations see working and learning to work better as one and the same."

- Effective organizations address their core goals and tasks with relentless consistency, while at the same time learning continuously how to get better and better at what they are doing pg. 76
- You can achieve consistency and innovation only through deep and consistent learning in context pg. 86
- Professional development programs or courses, even when they are good in themselves, are removed from the setting in which teachers work. At best they represent useful input, but only that pg. 86
- If you want great people to do their best work, the logic goes, then you've got to create the right working conditions the moment they walk through the door pg. 89
- Deep learning is embedded in the culture of the workplace in successful organizations pg. 89

5) - Transparency rules "When transparency is consistently evident, it creates an aura of positive pressure - pressure that is experienced as fair and reasonable, pressure that is actionable in that it points to solutions, and pressure that ultimately is inescapable."

- Transparency is an openness about results; an openness about what practices are most strongly connected to successful outcomes pg. 99
- We need to work on developing transparent cultures in which it is normal to experience problems and solve them as they occur - effective cultures embrace transparency and the use of data as a core part of their work pg. 101
- The long-term survival of an organization is dependent on public confidence. Call this external accountability pg. 102

6) - Systems learn "Systems that learn have people who are learning new things all the time, and their sense of meaning and their motivation are continually stimulated and deepened.

- A reason why organizations do not sustain learning is they focus on individual leaders pg. 107
- Organizations learn by developing many leaders working in concert, instead of relying on key individuals who approach complexity with a combination of humility and faith that effectiveness can be maximized under the circumstances pg. 109
- Leaders need to be aware that the world is becoming more dynamically interrelated, as well as learn to cope with uncertainty pg. 113
- Leaders who operate from a position of certitude are bound to miss something, likely to be wrong more than their share, & almost certainly will not learn from their experiences pg. 117
- The best way to keep a secret is to share it pg. 126

Here is a great PDF with additional information about "The Six Secrets of Change."