The new book which the Burlington Public School Administrators will be reading is Leading Change by John Kotter. Despite the fact that Kotter wrote the book before the technology tidal wave (copyright 1996), its relevance has withstood the test of time. In addition even though the book was written from a business perspective, like Good to Great by Jim Collins, the discussion of the characteristics of successful organizations makes it extremely relevvant to education.
Chapter one starts with a description of the eight mistakes that organizations make. Just number one alone, "Allowing Too Much Complacency," sounds a lot like the state that most schools find themselves in. I guess the follow-up question is if you are complacent, which of the reasons below is the issue?
"Too much past success, a lack of visible crises, low performance standards, insufficient feedback from external constituencies and more all add up to: 'Yes, we have our problems, but they aren't that terrible and I'm doing my job fine."' (p.5)
The remaining seven mistakes are:
2. Failing To Create A Sufficiently Powerful Guiding Coalition, 3. Underestimating The Power Of Vision, 4. Undercommunicating The Vision By a Factor Of 10 (or 100 or Even 1,000), 5. Permitting Obstacles To Block The New Vision, 6. Failing To Create Short-Term Wins, 7. Declaring Victory Too Soon, 8. Neglecting To Anchor Changes Firmly In The Corporate Culture.
This chapter alone could be a semester course for leaders! More to follow as the discussion continues.