Implementing and then maintaining lasting change in your school occurs by design, not by default. We want to transform our education system into one that can effectively prepare young people for the many opportunities that await them. To do this change and innovation must become an integral part of the corporate DNA.
Transforming schools is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. There is no excuse for schools to be out of kilter with the world our young people inhabit. Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap has outlined seven skills that the business sector has identified as necessary for survival in the knowledge age:
Critical thinking and problem solving
Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
Agility and adaptability
Initiative and entrepreneurship
Accessing and analysing information
Curiosity and imagination
To ensure that our young people acquire the essential skills for the future, school leaders face an enormous challenge – leading a community that is preparing young people for the world that is to come, not one that has already passed. In facing this daunting task it can be difficult to know where to begin, so here are my top 10 elements a leader needs to consider to embed a culture of change and innovation.
- Communicate (constantly) a compelling vision for the future.
- Invest in quality key relationships within your leadership team.
- Articulate policies and practices to shape corporate behaviour, decisions and actions.
- Build a culture of teams.
- Identify change champions who are quick to jump on board and support their colleagues.
- Adopt new language and terminology (and ditch the old) – words are powerful, they carry the message and impact culture both positively and negatively.
- Become a learning community – Meaningful and purposeful professional growth is essential to ongoing achievement of the vision.
- Show that you genuinely care about people – They will buy into you first, before they buy into your vision
- Maintain momentum – leadership is lonely, tough, challenging and discouraging at time. But as leader you can’t afford to allow these and other circumstances to impede the momentum.
- Be clear about your own purpose, calling, vocation – There is a reason you lead, your title isn’t important, the cause you champion is.