How Will You Roll-Out the Change Strategy?

How will you know when you’re ready to go? Thinking and talking about change is one thing. Diving in is another. There’s no such thing as being “ready” (see “How do I Know if my School is Ready” in the Newbies section), but it helps to have a plan for roll-out. Learning from leaders who have already been down the path to transformation, there are a few key things to consider as you prepare for roll-out.

  1. Have you engaged your constituencies? What work have you already done to engage stakeholders in the visioning and planning process? Do you have a diverse constituency lined up to support the work? Do you have systems and resources in place to sustain this engagement throughout rollout?
  2. Do you have a change management plan? There are many different change management models out there. Have you found one that works for you? Do you have a theory and strategy for how you will navigate change? Are your leaders prepared to join you in the approach? Have you considered both the technical changes and cultural changes that need to happen?
  3. Do you have a learning and improvement agenda? However solid your plan, it’s not going to be perfect. How could it be? The key is to have systems and practices in place to study and build on what’s working, identify and learn from what’s not, and adjust your plan in response to what you learn. Do you have learning and improvement systems in place?
  4. How will you phase the work and monitor the pace? You can’t do everything at once. One of the keys to effective rollout is knowing where you will start and why. Then, mapping out the key phases of work and knowing what indicators of readiness to will look at to determine when to move forward.
  5. Are you ready to model transparency? Do you have mechanisms and media to share progress with your constituencies? Are you and your leaders prepared to share all the data – the good, the bad, and the in between? Hard as it may seem to share when things are not going well, this honesty breeds trust, and trust supports change.
  6. How will you tell the story? One of a leader’s chief responsibilities is to tell the story of change. This can mean telling the story of why change is necessary, iterating and reiterating the vision, and helping narrate the process of change in a way that makes sense to people. Do you have a strong communication plan in place? Are you prepared to narrate the story along the way?

Questions to Consider

  • Have you engaged your constituencies?
  • Do you have a change management plan?
  • Do you have a learning and improvement agenda?
  • How will you phase the work and monitor the pace?
  • Are you ready to model transparency?
  • How will you tell the story?