February 14,  2020

Change Leadership

Each EmpowerED 3.2.1 features a brief summary of my musings about and learning from multiple disciplines as they apply to leadership in education.


3 Big Ideas

  1. Change doesn’t happen because we want it to or expect it to. What happens in the often giant gap between current practice and improved practice is called The Implementation Dip. Managing this dip can reduce the size (width and depth) of the gap by supporting those implementing the change. Michael Fullan, former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto and Global Leadership Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, in his book Leading in a Culture of Change, defines the implementation dip as “a dip in performance and confidence as one encounters an innovation that requires new skills and new understandings.” He describes this dip in his diagram below.


  2. Change leaders find there is great need for precision and clarity about the change. I find Knoster’s Model for Complex Change extremely useful when I observe a change I planned for not moving forward or being resisted.
    See “Managing Complex Change? This is the Model You Don’t Want To Miss!” by Brittany Means


  3. Resistance to change can be reduced by
    • Working to build trust
    • Creating a clear shared vision for the change
    • Ensuring a strong and consistent implementation of the change
    • Supporting the change with follow-through.
      See Just ASK Deeper DiveThe Principal as Leader of Change” by Bruce Oliver



“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

-Margaret Mead


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela


1 Question

What were some of the challenges, obstacles, and successes you experienced in an important
change initiative and how did you handle them?

See “Four Obstacles to Implementation” by Peter DeWitt


About the Author: Marcia Baldanza is also the author of Professional Practices, a Just ASK Senior Consultant. and adjunct professor at Virginia Tech. Until recently she worked for the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, where she was an Area Director for School Reform and Accountability; prior to that she was Director of Federal and State Programs.

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