Change is difficult. Well intentioned plans can get lost in the everyday shuffle of life. This phenomenon is characterized as the “Whirlwind.” (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012, p. 6) Throughout my career, I have seen many ideas and initiatives lost in the whirlwind as the school year progresses. This year I have an implementation plan to bring blended learning into my team’s 6th grade Social Studies classes. I believe this implementation plan will not only engage our students but will allow our teachers to develop stronger relationships in the classroom. In short, it will be best for kids.
In my previous post, Influencing Change, I incorporated ideas from the book, Influencer: The new science of leading change to list out what we want to achieve, how we will track progress, vital behaviors to ensure success and six sources of influence to help reach those goals.
Now that behaviors and influences have been identified we can begin to put the plan into action. Using the 4DX model, we will be able to execute our plan. In their book, McChesney, Covey and Huling outline four disciplines of execution for achieving our goals. As we execute these four disciplines there will be 5 stages of change as we try to change behaviors and ultimately reach our WIG or Wildly Important Goal.
Stage 1: Getting Clear
During the first stage it is critical that my team is very clear on our goal (WIG), what are the highest leverage actions to achieving them (lead measures), how do we know if we are achieving the WIG (scoreboard) and meeting each week (accountability). Our team needs to fully understand the process of how 4DX works. First, we must agree on our WIG of implementing blended learning in Social Studies (Discipline 1). At this time we still need to create the finish line for our WIG. I lost a team member who was on board with the WIG so before proceeding my new team will need to go through the steps of agreeing on the WIG.
We will need to come up with lead measures that will help us reach the goal (Discipline 2). One that I am considering is to focus on building individual relationships with students so that they will feel comfortable in the blended learning environment. The other is to focus on our lesson plans and identifying which blended strategies will work most effectively for our students.
Scoreboards (Discipline 3) are another important component to 4DX. My team needs to come up with a way to track what we are doing so that we can know that we are accomplishing our goal. My initial idea right now is to create a google form we can all fill out at the end of each week. Each teacher would input how many students they worked with individually and what strategies they used in class that week. This data would then be turned into a spreadsheet for team members to visually see how we are doing as a team.
During our weekly PLC meetings we would reserve 20 minutes strictly devoted to our WIG (Discipline 4). This would allow us to ignore the whirlwind and focus on holding one another accountable.
Stage 2: Launch
During this phase I, as the leader, will need to ensure that everything continues to move forward. Working with a new team I have not yet identified my resistors and potentials. I will have to be the model and encourage everyone to get on board. This will require a lot of me to help maintain the team’s focus. I will need to continuously refer back to the 4DX text for guidance.
Stage 3: Adoption
Through this phase we will need to stay true to the process. We will be meeting weekly in our 20 minutes sessions. Continuing our commitment to accountability, we will look at our scoreboard and how the lead measures are being met. This ties back to the 6 sources of influence (Personal and social motivation and ability). It will be important to see who may still need training and support at this point. What needs to be adjusted and what is working well.
Stage 4: Optimization
Recognition and encouragement are key to this stage. Once again, one can see the connection to the 6 sources of influence (Structural motivation). During this stage we want to celebrate our successes as we continue to move our plan forward. Our weekly meetings should be laser focused and each team member contributing equally. Each person on the team is recognizing their value and worth to our group.
Stage 5: Habits
At this point our team can celebrate that we have stayed true to the system. We will celebrate the accomplishment of our WIG and move on to our next one. This is the point where 4DX and the Influencer model have become habit. Others in the school can look at our team and wonder how did they do what they did in the midst of the whirlwind?
Ready, set, go
Studying the Influencer and 4DX models have really helped me to see how sustained change can be possible. Both help narrow focus on elements that will help a plan of change succeed. By using the 6 sources of influence I’ve identified and following the 4 disciplines of execution my team will reach our WIG. Moving forward with my new team, I plan on utilizing what I have learned and outlined in here as a template for success.
Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. New York: McGraw Hill Education.
McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.