Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reflection on my ability to facilitate change

Reflecting on today's group project, where an activity and discussion such as the one delivered would be approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes with a group of my first year students, I wonder how I could have clawed back time. I wonder if there was a way to clearly articulate, MORE clearly articulate, the requirement to be efficient with group time. The sharing piece at the end, that exposes the challenges of putting yourself in the position of the individual you are effecting (in this case the superintended trying to think as the teacher, or the teacher trying to be a superintendent when dealing with change), is the capping pice to really bring about the larger aha moments.
The big theme of response/solution from groups was communication. Go back to the policies and use those to guide what you say (for principles because that is what the superintendent would want you to do), or make sure that communications down through the system and quick and transparent (when teachers worry about parents). This is the best advise for me if running this activity again.
In the group work example, the lead communications were lost since heated discussion was taking place, small groups where working it out, and the whole group process slowed as a result. Coming to common ground (by exposing and understanding each others position, and the commonality of solutions when forced to think as that person) takes time but the facilitation of that change in a timely manner is critical for any real gain.  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Homeostasis – avoiding catastrophic changes

l feel as though, at this point in time, I am waffling back and forth between it's necessity, as it is introduced in this course, and its damaging effects. The example Dr. Gagion gave was about a teacher who is being forced to move classroom and doesn't want to because he has been in that room for many years, and thinks of it as his home. This example was a surprise to me, I was expecting a major change, but in hindsight I can see that the level, or severity of change, is really in the eye of the beholder. What is major to me is not necessarily major to another person. It's the degree to which this is most of his or her "life" or a small pert of what defines this person.
"Why is change required" from William Bridges traditions, to me need not be said. I am accustomed to continuous change, based on my work experience in the high tech corporate environment. I can see how some people require the "don't discard the past, honor the teacher in their current state, and then move on while helping them move on to the new system" perspective, but at the same time there is work to be done. The metaphor of the organism, I think, is an effective metaphor for org. change. In the Burke text, on page 94, he share Jick's (1990) cautions, and that is something that I was please to read.
We need to respect the individuals in the system, but we need to maintain a grip on that individuals ability to "ride out the storm" whether its changing classrooms, or changing schools (due to school closure). If i have a sprained ankle for example, I get immediate hospital attention, I nurse it for a short period of time (foot elevated, with ice), but at some point, very quickly after, to be able to survive (go eat something or use the washroom), I need to feel the pain of putting pressure on that ankle to function. Most people will work through the emotional states of change, and that is why even dysfunctional top tier organizations still exist; because the majority of component parts know how to function (even if not totally enjoying their environment), the biology of it all is that you have to have a number of broken bones and groups of bones, be malnourished, and hemorrhaging before the environment stops completely.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Individual goals prevail

So today was a day of distraction. I had my house ransacked on Monday, while in class, so after a full night of dealing with what needed to get done I was back in class only for a short time before I went off to make my phone calls, and get "organized". I missed the majority of the discussion, the group norming, and the organizational activities of our Leading change community of learners. I had to focus, turtle in if you will, on my first priorities. Taking care of my home was first priority.
What does that say about an organization if the individual will always put their long term, home, personal life ahead of the needs of the organization, unless of course the two are inseparable?

I need to speak with my fellow learners, to grasp their perspective, I know I am missing a critical puzzle piece but it's hard to find if you don't know what it looks like. Over the next few blog posts, I would like to connect the readings, and discussion, to my growing frustration with the lack of technological change in public post secondary education but i am still looking at things through the individual perspective, since i am currently in the fey fortunate position of only needing to serve me needs.

I realize that this first post has little do do with educational change but it has everything to do with the people involved with educational change/reform. Like the office tower graphic with Teacher located on the first floor of the tower, the principle some place at the middle level of floor and the CEO/President/minster at the top floor, 360 degree city views and all, change must include those that choose to either turn their backs on it or embrace its possibilities.
Why is change in a corporate environment so quick, and although everyone might grumble about it, the change will happen. What did I experience in high tech that allowed everyone to feel involved in the changes that seemed to occur all around, and in fact embrace the concept that the only thing that people could count on when they showed up for work is that something was going to have changed over the weekend.

my first post was lost so here we go again.... kinda

My goals for this blog over the next two week seems simple, but these posts will take me out of my element, so not so simple after all. Meeting a course requirement, can be a tangled web to weave.
Attempting to answer the "so what", investigating "leadership role that harmonize with the way that organizations change" strikes me, at first read, as a very effective space for "real" change to happen (on a personal academic level), but our first day took us down the garden path. I believe that my frustration with the less than logical, and constructive change occurring in higher education is a useful place to scaffold the course contents, and to enhance a perspective that I lack depth, and perhaps, maybe, at that point my frustration will lessen.
The text stresses a critical point about organizational change coming from the Fleishman studies: "the difference between focusing on the individual and focusing on the contextual variable (group norms and org. culture), and the systematic factors (such as structure)". This is where I need reinforcement and so will focus my attention in this are, through my group work, my perspective on the readings, and on my in class discussions.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The beginning of a Leadership Log line of thought

Today begins the second year of my Doctor of Education program. I am in residence, in Calgary waiting for 6pm to roll around so that I can head over to the Keg with my cohort for a nice dinner. The two courses, my final two courses, are Leading Change, and Inquiry and Technology.
The blog will change focus for the next two weeks, so that I can a) meet a course requirement, and b) reflect on how my professional experience has prepared me for change in higher education leadership.
..................and now to the Leadership log portion of our show...............................

Friday, July 2, 2010

to embed my Google Wave communication

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Most memorable to date...

The Internet connection is still dodgy, to quote my auzzie mates, and so I type this from my tiny screened itouch. I will love my upas screen once it arrives ( seen three at the conference so far). Today I enjoyed the google for education sessions, although light on the depth but most enjoyed the THINK global 2 part presentation on their mobile and global grade 9 to 12 curriculum. Will post more later... The Aussie girls just arrived for dinner... Think needs it's own post anyway;)