In response to the post on Anonymous Letters, a reader writes:
“The funny thing is this… There is always a ‘tipping point’ in the relationship between a staff and a new principal. The ‘tipping point’ signals the shift from the vocal minority complaining about change (or writing anonymously) to the silent majority finally being fed up with the constant negativity. The shift occurs for different reasons – an event, a problem, or just a matter of time. Complainers want to maintain the status quo because it’s easier for them and gives them a feeling of power. The silent majority may be challenged by changes, but recognize when they are needed. When you are making decisions based on what is best for students, the silent majority eventually steps up.”
What I have learned as a professional change agent is that you can not ignore the fundamental laws of nature. One of those laws is that movement requires friction. The belief that an organization can move without friction is a simply naïve. It also requires more effort to either start movement or reverse movement than to maintain movement. These are some of the reasons why those who have never faced the need to manage true change have no frame of reference of either the difficulty of the task or the skills requisite for job.
Because of this, in the initial stages of change, the superintendent and the principal have to show true leadership. Those above them (the Board for the Superintendent; central office staff for principal) often believe that complaints mean that change is being mismanaged (they are wrong). Those below them generally believe that they are already competent, so change is a waste of effort and resources (they too are wrong).
The leadership crucible is that one must generate enough positive results to sustain momentum before the naysayers create enough discontent to stop progress. You have to decide – will you create a better future for more students today; or will you continue to coddle adults who are actually getting paid to work. In other words, everyday you have to decide if you are a leader or a manager.
Think. Work. Achieve.