Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Road of Change and Improvement

When something changes in my life, it isn't always something I embrace with open arms. In fact, when I have not chosen that change for myself I may really struggle with it.

We all have times when we are the individual in the driver's seat, as well as times when we feel like we are in the passenger seat. The driver's seat is a much more comfortable place to be.

Jeffrey Cufaude is a consultant from Illinois who I felt has described the analogy of change very well. I've provided his description below. Please take a minute to read it.

When you're the driver, you've got control of the wheel and know not only where you are going , but each decision you are making along the way.

In the passenger seat things feel different. I don't have the same sense of control and comfort with our speed, direction, degree of the turns, etc. I can't prepare for your sudden veer left or rapid acceleration because I don't know they are coming. As a result, I might feel nauseous.

What's true in the car is also true for a change initiative.

Let's say you're driving change (and are driven to get results quickly). You know the route, have your hand on the gear shift, and are making all the decisions about accelerating and braking, so you feel like things are moving along according to plan. But it doesn't look or feel quite that same way to others who are along for the ride.

Just because people might be hesitant about a change doesn't mean they are ultimately resistant to it. Be careful you don't confuse the two. We may already be queasy enough as it is.

Why do I share this? There is a lot of change taking place in the world and in education. This has an influence on what we do in the Spring Lake Park Schools.

Our staff is consistently identifying improvement efforts as they collaboratively work to improve what we do for our students and community, moving towards being a world-class learning community of choice. Other times a change may be our best response to emerging influences and challenges. Whatever the case, the road we choose is purposeful and focused on meeting the needs of our students.

We do our best to make the ride as smooth as possible through ongoing communication and involving the “passenger” as a partner in planning the next best road we might take. Yet, there are times you may have further questions or other ideas about the course. I'd love to hear hear these. Just give me a call or drop me an email.

Have a great weekend!

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