Systemic Enablers

Recently, the Real Schools team came together at Victoria’s gorgeous Phillip Island for a conference geared around how we can get better at what we do – partnering with schools.

We spent a whole day in the company of one of the world’s leading trainers and mentors of facilitators, Colin James.  It was a privilege and we learned so, so much.

Colin challenged us on why there are times when we provide great Professional Learning Days … yet there’s still a possibility that people don’t change a thing.  Sound like a familiar phenomenon?

Colin then spoke to three Systemic Enablers (which can also be Systemic Blockers) that I think are relevant for us at Real Schools and for you in schools.

Systemic Enabler 1 – They don’t WANT TO CHANGE

Perhaps your staff have some limiting beliefs about practice in place that no amount of PL will change.  Perhaps there are fears, doubts or objections that we need to address before the PL has even a chance to stick.

Systemic Enabler 2 – They don’t know HOW TO CHANGE

There’s something technical missing – such as knowledge, specific training, skills, contextually relevant examples, tips about application or keys to getting started.

Systemic Enabler 3 – They don’t have the CHANCE TO CHANGE

There’s simply no time to experiment with a new way or working, or more prevalently, there isn’t permission from leadership to struggle or fail at first.  Often there’s support, modelling, mentoring, coaching or emotional safety missing.

What is it for you &/or your school when it comes to collectively changing, improving or transforming practice?  Because you’ll need all three Systemic Enablers in place for authentic change to be triggered.

Is it:

  • That they WANT to change and know HOW to change – but don’t have the CHANCE to change?
  • That they know HOW to change and have the CHANCE to change – but they don’t WANT to change?
  • That they WANT to change and have the CHANCE to change – but they just don’t know HOW to change?

Once your school answers these questions … you can get started on making things a lot better.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. As the above might sound, leading a culture where the system enables success (rather than blocks it) can be hard and confronting. We can work on that. Head to this link and find out more about my Leading School Culture workshop that I’m running soon in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.


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