If a survey was taken asking about someone’s most preferred words, odds are that the words ‘change’ and ‘management’ would score very low on that list. For many, the thought of change is daunting at best. You may have even heard something along the lines of the saying, “There are three things in life that are certain: death, change, and taxes.” And management? Is there another word quite as unglamorous in its connotations of wading through sticky situations, and making tough decisions? But what if these two words put together had the potential to unlock new creativity? What if they had the ability to shift a culture to new and better heights? What if change and management are really two of the most powerful words? Harnessing the power of change management when it comes to a new student information system can cause life change – from our youngest students, to our most senior educators. So what would successful SIS change management look like?
Know the “Why”
If you’re looking at making a change, there’s usually a reason, and the same goes when looking for a new SIS. You or your organization are unhappy with the status quo. Perhaps you’ve seen a new mountain top or even had a taste of the view from above, and it has given you a vision for what could be. The problem is that in the valley, where most of your day-to-day operations and personnel may live, it’s sometimes hard to see the mountaintop. In the midst of change management, you should be ready as a leader to constantly cast the vision and the “why” of where you’re headed, because vision leaks and dissipates easily in the throes of life.
Know the “Who”
As you lead your team towards a new SIS through healthy change management, know that you will have champions who are on fire, ready to start yesterday, and who will not only take setbacks in stride, but will learn and grow in the process. Use these champions to spread a culture of ‘we can do this,’ because you will also have detractors who are resistant to change and who may even be the bad apple trying to spoil the whole bunch. How can you empower your champions? How can you encourage and come alongside your detractors?
Know the “What”
In education, you already have a good idea of your weekly, monthly, yearly cadence. What are your key dates that will become milestones of success in marking progress during this SIS change management? What will be your contingencies if there are hiccups along the way? Plan out specific measurable steps that are based around key dates but that also match the pacing needed based on your team’s ability and size.
Communicate and Celebrate
Communication is key and cannot be overstated! A healthy SIS migration involves communicating where you’re at and what’s next. It entails listening and responding to others when they are unsure and need help. And perhaps most importantly, it means celebrating large and small victories along the way! Meetings are often unavoidable, but parties are optional and strongly encouraged. So communicate, celebrate, and watch your team make its way to the top of the mountain!