This past summer, I began a new journey in my career as an educator, after 18 years in the classroom, I left to become the district coordinator for 11 elementary fine arts teachers and a fine arts centered campus. It’s something I knew I wanted to take on, but was also apprehensive, knowing I needed the right skills to be successful. This is also the time I began my path in graduate school, choosing an area of study that would build my leadership skills and learn how to create change in my district. I began with understanding the needs of our district, students and community. Our students don’t always get the same opportunities as students in other, more affluent districts. They start out life, already missing basic skills they should be gaining at home. It was in my first graduate course that I discovered our students would highly benefit from creating ePortfolios. I knew that ePortfolios existed, but had never been exposed to samples from elementary aged students. After much research and development, I created my Innovation Plan to present to the leadership team at the Fine Arts campus I serve.
I knew in order to really get the team on board with my innovation plan, I had to speak to the heart. All teachers know their “Why”, and in almost all cases, it’s to give our students the opportunities and skills to succeed and flourish in life. In my innovation plan, my “why” is evident, to open the doors to students to a new way of learning and tracking growth through ePortfolios. I developed my “Why” plan that will guide me as I seek to create needed change in the way we are teaching. We can’t teach students the same way we taught students years ago, decades ago.
In an effort to be successful in the change I’m seeking, a lot of pre-planning needed to take place. With the design of an Influencer Strategy for my plan, I was able to delve deeper into planning how my plan would work. From focusing on my desired result, to creating developing the six sources of influence that will help the leadership team understand how the plan will be implemented and by who.
What really resonated with me is the learning about the 4DX Strategy and how it can keep our team on track to reaching our goal. Discovering how my 4DX Strategy will play a driving force in my plan took the Influencer Strategy to an all new level. The 4 Disciplines of Execution, or 4DX, is a strategy that we can use to integrate the goals for change we seek, while in the middle of the “whirlwind”, or the intense amount of energy it takes to keep our school at our current level of performance. It also suggests to keep goals to a minimum of 1 or 2, and choosing the WIG, or wildly important goal to focus on first. Throughout my years as a teacher, I’ve seen leaders try to influence change, but with several goals thrown at the team and all of them never really fulfilled to their potentials. There were too many goals to place full focus on one, while still trying to do everything else needed to survive as a teacher and be successful. Another important idea I took away from learning about 4DX is having a compelling scoreboard and engaging everyone in the end goal by displaying who’s “winning” and “losing”, giving everyone accountability and opportunities for growth.
With the implementation of all of these key components, my “Why“, Influencer Strategy, and 4DX Strategy, my Innovation Plan will begin on a path that will guide us to success. I am also building my skills in developing into a more self differentiated leader. In my blog post, “Becoming A Self Differentiated Leader”, I explain how I will seek to lead with a focus on the goal, not let emotions determine how I face challenges and make decisions best for the team.
I am excited to put these strategies and plan in place and seeing how they can really work to our advantage. As a good leader, I will stick to our focused goal, be consistent in all aspects, be present and supportive, and remember that it takes a village to make change happen and spread.