I know my personality, sitting back and waiting while I can see that things are not right and need to be done is going to be hard for me. When is the right time to make a change in a new building? How do you honour what has been done before you? How do you determine if it one person’s idea or personal agenda or in fact a change that is necessary?
The last couple of days I have spent wandering around my new building and asking a lot of questions. I find myself saying….has it always been this way, help me understand the reason behind this, do you like it like this, whose decision was this, can I please have your input and thoughts about this and WHY?
As I have walked around there are some things I just cannot live with. Things I cannot wait to change. I do however find myself weighing the consequences of those decisions and wondering how will the staff react? What will the parents feel? How is this going to be better or safer for kids?
How as a leader to you know when is the right time for change or if it is indeed the right change? For me it always starts with “what is best for kids”. That applies to everything in a school from bus drop off, timetables, supervision schedule, routines,etc. Students have to be at the centre of the decision. I think the key is communicating your rationale to staff, students and parents about the reason for change. Helping them to understand why this decision is best for students. That is the tricky part because you do not know how that will be received.
The second part is when is a good time. Waiting for waiting sake is not always solid rationale. We have natural transition times in schools. September is one of them. This is when we establish routines, rules and practices in our schools. Waiting to implement a change after the routines of September have been established is counter intuitive to me. In my experience children respond well to change it is the adults who struggle. As the new leader how do I find the balance of what to change now and what to wait on?
Right now I am going to step back and reflect. Set 3 priorities and share them with the staff first, invite their input and create a plan for change. Some of it will happen in September and some will be long term. I have to believe that I have been sent to my new building to make changes and to see things with fresh eyes. For me as the leader in this new place I have to determine what is the right change and when is the right time. This is no easy task but I am up to the challenge and know I will learn some lessons along the way!