Saturday, July 10, 2010

ADKAR Change Management

As you can see from my blog entries so far, I am interested in learning and writing about “educational change management”. I believe that our classrooms need to change to meet the needs of 21st century learners. The bigger idea here is how change takes place within an organization. All organizations need to understand change management to survive and to produce the best product possible. In the case of schools this arguably would translate into producing the most capable learners as the primary objective. How can we manage change to produce the most capable and excellent 21st century schools and learners?

The book “ADKAR, A Model for Change in Business, Government and the Community” outlines the ADKAR principles of change management. It has great information and I am looking forward to attending the certification seminar in August at Banff, Alberta. ADKAR is an acronym that stands for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. I will be writing more about the change management process and also how it relates to educational change. An overview of the steps (taken directly from the book) looks like this:

1. Awareness- represents a person’s understanding of the nature of change, why the change is being made and what the risk is of not changing. Awareness also includes information about the external and internal drivers that created the need for change, as well as “what’s in it for me?”
2. Desire- represents the willingness to support and engage in a change. Desire is ultimately about personal choice, influenced by the nature of the change.
3. Knowledge- represents the information, training and education necessary to know how to change. Knowledge includes information about behaviours, processes, tools, systems, skills, job roles and techniques that are needed to implement a change.
4. Ability- represents the realization or execution of the change. Ability is turning knowledge into action. Ability is when a person or a group has the demonstrated capability to implement the change at the required performance levels.
5. Reinforcement- represents those external and internal factors that sustain a change. External reinforcements could include recognition, rewards and celebrations that are tied to a realization of a change. Internal reinforcements could be a person’s internal satisfaction with his or her achievement or other benefits derived from the change on a personal level.

Of course, there are other models of change management ("Change Leadership", Wagner and Kegan, "Transforming School Culture", Muhammud, "The Heart of Change Field Guide", Cohen). The ADKAR model is particularly interesting in it's simplicity and the research that backs it up as reported in the book and on-line. Regardless of the model, I am looking forward to being a facilitator of change in my school, my school division and all schools. I will write more about the ADKAR model of change management and my experience with it in my school and my school division. What are you doing to promote change in your classroom, your school and your division?

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