I have read several helpful books while working through the Digital Learning and Leading program, but one recent book, Crucial conversations, Tools for talking when stakes are high, has helped alleviate some of the fears I have about having tough conversations with my work colleagues about my blended learning station innovation plan. I have already spoken to my school administration about my plan and have been given an enthusiastic green light! However, I will also need to present and discuss my plan with my colleagues. I work with teachers who range from first years to seasoned veterans and the stakes are high for the conversations surrounding my plans. If they go well, I can launch my blended learning stations with the support of my colleagues, if not then I may fail before I even get started.
The thought of bringing change to my school is both terrifying and exhilarating! Putting the thoughts and plans I have into action is so important to me and because it is important, I want to do it right. I recently read The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals and it has helped me make a plan of action for executing my innovation plan.
One of the most profound pieces of information comes right in the beginning of the book. The day to day buzz in our lives, the activities that we have to get through each day are our whirlwind. This whirlwind goes on and on and it tends to occupy all of our available time. This description fits so perfectly with teaching. Our day to day is non-stop with meetings, planning, paperwork, oh and actual teaching. In the 4DX model, the whirlwind can only be overcome by setting a goal which becomes the focus above and beyond the whirlwind and this goal is the first step in the 4DX plan.
Focusing on the Wildly Important
The first step in the 4DX model is creating a Wildly Important Goal or WIG. One important take away for me in setting my WIG was setting one goal rather than setting many. One important goal is much easier to focus on and complete than many that may end up lost in the whirlwind. A narrow focus on one wildly important goal will help me and my colleagues be successful.
Now that I have a goal for us to focus on, what comes next? We will need to focus on the actions we can take to reach this goal.
Acting on Lead Measures
The second step of the 4DX model defines something called Lead and Lag measures and discusses the importance of each. The easiest way for me to explain this is lead measures are what we can change in order to reach our goal, and the lag measures are the results we see from those changes. An example in the book that is highly relatable is wanting to lose weight. We can focus on lag measures such as our measurements or the number on the scale when we weigh ourselves, or we can focus on the lead measures such as changes we make to our daily calorie intake and how much exercise we get. When I looked at it in that way, it made sense that our lead measures, the things we can do to create change, need to be our focus. Now that we know where to focus, how do we know if we are getting there? How do we know if we are creating the change we want to see? We need to keep score to see our progress.
Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard
The third step of the 4DX model asks us to create a scoreboard to keep track of progress. If we create a scoreboard showing our progress in lead and lag measures, we’re more likely to remain engaged and focused on the goal.
Create a Cadence of Accountability
The final step in 4DX is holding one another accountable through short regular meetings. The meetings do not have one person leading so everyone gets to speak, they are laser focused on the progress toward the goal, and the agenda is set for the progress that should be made by the next meeting.
4DX and beyond! The 5 Stages of Change
The implementation of any type of change will not come without resistance or challenges. To help anticipate these challenges and resistance we will need to look also at the 5 stages of change. These work with each of the four disciplines and will help ensure the success of my innovation plan.
McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2016). The 4 disciplines of execution: achieving your wildly important goals. Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc.