Working with early childhood students can be rewarding especially when educators stimulate the desire to learn within them. I have heard many reasons why teachers have chosen to work with this age group; they range from ‘This age is the golden age where they enjoy learning’ to ‘I would rather work with this age group because they do not misbehave like the older students’. Whatever the personal reason the bottom line is that preschoolers need literacy skills to be successful in the latter years of their education. As teachers acquire experience teaching, sometimes they are so busy with the whirlwind of daily activity, it can be a challenge to make change to improve job performance when it appears that immediate results would not happen. After reading The 4 Disciplines of Execution I was able to glean an overview of the 5 stages of change and what our organization needs to do to change.
The 5 Stages of Change
Stage1: Getting Clear – Setting clear goals that can be measures will be the most important part of getting staff to embrace implementing my plan. My desire is to get my staff to be motivated from within and give them a clear picture of how it will benefit the children that attend our learning center. We have never really had staff meetings that ask for their suggestions towards future goals that the facility has. Our staff meetings have always been top down relating to customer requests and job performance in daily job duties. So this will be something new for me, too. The goal is by involving the staff we will get them to share ownership of implementing teaching literacy to our preschoolers. I must be an example of the wildly important goal by remembering to focus on the wildly important goal. This will be supported by establishing the high-level lead measures for everyone. Creation of a scoreboard to track successes and failures will give immediate feedback of our progress. Scheduling of a weekly WIG (wildly important goal) meeting will allow us to be accountable to each other.
Stage 2: Launch – The launch of the WIG (wildly important goal) is the motivation to get the team to the starting line of change. By assuring the staff of my active involvement in helping alongside them to field any concerns, they will have a successful transition during this stage. My assistance needs to be focused and encouraging in making sure they stay on track with the lead measures we created. This stage is also helpful for me to determine those that are good models of the goal, those that have potential, and those that will be resistant to the change.
Stage3: Adoption – Adopting change has a process that is experienced before results can be experienced. Being committed to the weekly meeting will hold us accountable to one another. It also helps us track our results on the scoreboard and make adjustments. Sometimes persons that have potential may need additional training. This may be discovered in the weekly meeting. In addition persons that are resistant can have an opportunity to get clarity about the expectations that are shared by all of us.
Stage 4: Optimization – Optimization will occur after seeing the results of their continual commitment to the WIG. The staff will begin to see things they can do to increase their performance because they have a better understanding of things that yield the results they desire. Morale starts to increase and they should start to be eager to excel in their performance to change the scoreboard. Encouraging freely sharing of ideas can help others who are struggling in certain areas. Celebrating success and encouraging those that are showing improvement can motivate participation.
Stage 5: Habits – Habits are formed because of continual commitment to the success of the WIG. The new behaviors that result become a part of the daily routine and give staff a unified mindset to accomplish the goal. Each team member will become more conscientious of performance and experience that desired change in from inside out.
4DX Strategy of Change
- Focus on the wildly important goal. (Getting Clear)
The following is the WIG (wildly important goal): “We will have 50% of the children who are preschool age with literacy skills by August 30, 2018”. This will be the focus of discussion with the staff at the weekly WIG meeting. This will start with a lead measure that would be “Students will have sufficient literacy skills to read”.
2. Act on the lead measure. (Launch and Adoption)
Some examples of the starting lag measures could be “Staff would teach each student the key areas of literacy oral language, alphabetic code, and print knowledge”, “Students would be assessed to group students for instruction to ensure progress that can be experienced collectively by their group”, and “Staff would determine skills that each group would practice daily”. With these lag measures as a starting point, this will help us ensure that the staff collectively will collaborate on each student’s progress.
3. Create a compelling scoreboard. (Optimization) We will create a poster showing each staff member’s class and track the class averages in each of the three key literacy areas. It would be posted in class room and updated on a weekly basis. Each class will establish goals to be met weekly.
4. Create a cadence of accountability. (Habits)
There will be a meeting every week on Friday at the same time and only discuss the WIG (wildly important goal). Discussions will involve things that each staff will determine they can do to impact the scoreboard each week. Meeting will involve 3 areas of discussion: report on last week’s commitments, review and update scoreboard, and make commitments for upcoming week.
How the Influencer Model and the 4DX Relate
After working on the 4DX I realized that within the stages of change I will have to periodically reference my influencer model to succeed (Patterson, K., and Grenny, J., 2013) . We live in society that encourages individual success, but the paradox is when we succeed we really do not accomplish success without others. The influencer model will help us to influence the others that are very important contributors to the success of our innovation plan. These two complement each other. One focuses on influencing their behavior in order to engage their interest in the plan and the other helps to develop an organizational plan to utilize them to execute the plan. I understand that there will be challenges, but with these tools our success will be obtained.
Covey, S., McChesney, C., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: achieving your wildly important goals.New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Patterson, K. and Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.