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Saturday, December 27, 2014


I recently read Leading School Change by Todd Whitaker (2010).

I have been a fan of TW's thinking and writing for many years.  This work only reinforces the rightness of my fanhood.

My big takeaways from this TW work:

  • There are three levels of change possible in organizations – Procedural change, structural change, cultural change.
  • Employeees/teachers come in six varieties
    • Superstars/Irreplaceables 
      • 1. WOW – walks on water, the role model
      • 2. Impacter – great in the classroom
    • Backbones/Solids
      • 3. Stabilizer – solid at everything
      • 4. Dow Joneser – pluses and minuses
    • Mediocres/Replacement Level
      • 5. Harmless – no complaints, little benefit
      • 6. Negative Force – addition by subtraction
    •   Seems like have have played all those roles at one time or another. I'm working diligently to stay in that top tier.
  • Start somewhere, not everywhere.  Yep. Somehow, someway, just get off the starting line.
  • Squint if necessary.  Great advice for taking the big picture view (and avoiding micromanagement).
  • Include in your toolbox these simple but effective strategies: weekly staff memos, frequent classroom or work site visits, thoughtful meeting room arrangements, notes of appreciation connected to improvement of climate/culture, positive phone calls to parents/customers.        

My favorite quote:
“Managing change in schools [organizations] is never straightforward. It’s much more like playing chess than like playing checkers.” (p. 2). 

Another good work by TW.  I highly recommend. 

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