Organizational Research for Change

Educators are highly familiar with research. Research helps us become better teachers and leaders, and expands the boundaries of our knowledge. Also, research can drive change.

It is impressive how quickly people, particularly educators, adapt to change they believe in. Given that, why might educators resist change? First, they might not understand the reason for the change, meaning they’re not familiar with the research that determines the why. Second, intuitively they could feel there aren’t enough data to back it up. Third, the change has not been explained well. Fourth, they don’t think the new approach will last because they’ve heard for years that the organization is going to make a change, and it either never gets off the ground or quickly fizzles out.

The last point is interesting. Why are certain employees, leaders, and educators lacking in confidence that a new initiative will continue? Past initiatives have not succeeded in delivering the promised results. Initiatives often stop when they hit a barrier, and then the educational system moves on to the latest buzzword, book, or speaker.

When someone asks what’s being done to improve leadership skills in an educational system, we often hear about a new book or an idea picked up at a conference. Now, we love books and conferences, but books and conferences are not stand-alone items. As change is introduced, it is best when backed by solid evidence in order to achieve results. If performance gaps exist, leaders can acquire better skills. In other words, research makes the ideas stick and determines how to invest in leadership development.

Of course, research to validate educational work and practices has been available for years, with research priorities shifting from management of schools to instructional leadership. This is a positive trend. We want to see more educational research focused on leadership. Organizational research has focused on two things we are passionate about: (1) a senior leadership model of high-performing leadership, and (2) a leader focus on creating a best-place-to-work environment to help employees achieve their highest potential.

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Excerpt from: Maximize Performance

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