Session five (the halfway point of the course! #milestone) was certainly thought-provoking, and left me with many more questions than answers. While some might find this a frustrating result, I was intrigued and energized to reflect and research. As soon as I returned home from this session, my partner and I discussed the topic:
Him: What was the topic of your course tonight?
Me: We tackled how to lead a real, transformative, organizational change process.
Him: Wow, that’s a great topic. So how did it turn out? How does one lead organizational change?
Me: (pause) You know what, I still don’t know.
That was my big question in my notes to myself at the end of the session: how does a leader or a team of leaders affect real cultural change? And how do you know when the change has occurred – what are the look-fors? Of course, these are big, remaining questions, because there is no simple answer. If there was a formula for organizational change, then the process would be easy and would happen without resistance, confusion, anxiety, or frustration from members of the organization.
With all of that being said, we did engage in some profitable discussions about possible frameworks to guide major change, as well as baby steps for understanding and managing small changes that we could each affect right now, in our classrooms or in our departments. We drew connections between the Personal Leadership Resources in the OLF (problem-solving expertise, perceiving and managing emotions, optimism, self-efficacy, and resilience) and their importance for change leaders. We also drew on various versions of collaborative inquiry as a tool to frame the change process. A new framing of collaborative inquiry that I was introduced to is the See-Do-Get Model: 1) What do I see now?/What is my vision?/What do I want to see? 2) Take an action that you think will move towards the vision 3) Reflect on the results, what you get out of your action, see if it changes what you see.
There were so many more activities and discussions: we watched a TED Talk, discussed the importance of vision and values, and engaged in a case study. As I return to my lingering big question – HOW does one lead successful organization change – I am seeking more thoughts, resources, feedback, etc. If anyone out there as anything to share about leaders and the change process, please comment.