Reeves’ Sixth Element – Change

: It is vital that leaders learn to manage the change process effectively; to do so, it requires that educators
acknowledge that present practices are not working.

The first step in approaching any type of change—whether it’s a systemic change or a change that affects a small group—is to determine the costs and benefits. To truly understand these competing issues, the leader needs to be committed to hearing different viewpoints. Sometimes leaders convene meetings to discuss changes with the sole purpose of seeking buy-in for what they have already decided. While those leaders might leave the meeting convinced of their superior persuasive abilities, the rest of the group will resent not being heard. Remember Stephen Covey’s famous words, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Reeves provides an easy to understand graphic for this work,.

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Easy cuts are changes that are low cost and low benefit are easy to toss. These may be what resulted from changes made long ago that just aren’t producing results now, so they can be easily tossed out.


Turkeys are those programs that may have been as expensive initiatives that have low benefit but they have loud, vocal proponents. As Reeves writes, “Every turkey has a champion.” (p.81) The leader needs to make it clear when initiatives fall into the Turkey quadrant.


Heroes are those t low-cost, high-benefit approaches that should be the changes most in demand. For example, the
following three changes cost almost nothing and yet yield important changes: (1) modifying the grading system so it is fairer, (2) making homework more meaningful, and (3) improving the effectiveness of meetings.


Investments—Rather than easily supporting the initiatives in the Heroes quadrant (low cost, high benefit), people seem to prefer those in the Investment quadrant (high cost, high benefit). These are the technology initiatives, for example, that actually do raise student performance.

It is appropriate to notice that every change has risk every change has cost every change suffers from a lack of immediate buy-in.  As a school leader, you will basically ask your staff to observe the evidence to give you enough trust to at least try it not because we completely by in but because we’re willing to try it by first observing the impact and its success.  This leads to buy-in.

We need to look at not only our organizational readiness for change but our individual readiness for change. As school leaders, we can use what was learned in personal change to also say how can we apply that to organizational change. When you have the optimal intersection of great personal change and great organizational change then you’ll get past the frustration part and be ready for change

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