I had the good fortune of attending a one-day working session in Edmonton with Michael Fullan, sponsored by The College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), earlier this week. Fullan is working with a cohort of Alberta school districts invovled in a CASS-sponsored Leadership Capacity Building Project titled Moving and Improving.
This was the second time I've been able to attend a working session with Fullan, and the day did not disappoint. His focus was on using the strategies found in his new book, Motion Leadership, to help districts build their instructional and leadership capacities. Myself, and I believe the others I was with, found the day useful and affirming that a lot of what we are working on in our district is on the right path!
If you have read many of Michael Fullan's books, you may have noticed his fondness for lists. In honor of that, I thought I would share my take-aways from the day in the same fashion:
- Clarity of purpose is developed through action. Clarity develops while you act.
- It is specific leadership behavior that causes positive movement.
- If you want to get somewhere you have to have a clear, shared vision of what you want to achieve.
- Make your focus student learning. Be specific to the instruction.
- Do a small number of things VERY well, instead of a large number of things pretty well.
In his book, Fullan shares 9 components of change, that are part of a READY - FIRE - AIM approach. He believes you should get started first, then adjust your plans and develop your supports once you know what you are doing. From those components of change, I took away:
- We must have a bias for action.
- Relationships are the foundation upon which all lasting change occurs.
- We must expect the implementation dip, where we fall back before improving, but must PERSIST (a focus throughout the day) and fight through it.
- We will learn about implementation DURING implementation.
- Communication is essential, but, communication without implementation doesn't mean much. It is almost wasted effort.