“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin Williams

Change is hard even though it is the most consistent thing in life. To help manage complex change there are five elements you need in order to make it sustainable. These five elements help anyone from Central Office educators to Principals to Teacher Leaders.


  1. Vision: If you don’t have vision, you have confusion. Your team will not understand the direction you are going.
  2. Skills: If you don’t have skills, you will have anxiety. This can easily be solved be providing professional development to build skills. It is especially helpful if you utilize the talent you have on your team to help build up the team.
  3. Incentives: If you don’t have incentives, you get resistance. This is where a lot of leaders go wrong. You don’t have to buy gifts for extrinsic incentives as often a simple WHY the change needs to happen is incentive enough.
  4. Resources: If you don’t have resources you have frustration. Make sure you are giving enough time (that’s a resource) to be able to do the work for the change.
  5. Action Plan: If you don’t have a plan, you have a false start. Plans help teams focus and understand the end outcome. If you don’t have this, you don’t have a roadmap of where you want the change to go.

I have used the change management elements for multiple large projects and it works well. The one thing I would add is reflection. You need to make sure you are consistently reflecting on the process and how the change is going. You need to make tweaks as you move forward. The reflection should also not just be from you the leader but also from your stakeholders.

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