Change. It’s happening all around us. Every day. Every field. Every environment. Most of these changes are very rapid and major; however, one setting that has been extremely slow to change is the educational system. Why? Why is the one aspect that needs to be flexible, fluid, and easily adaptable so incredibly resistive to these improvements? There are numerous reasons… One of the main problems pointed out in the video below is standardized testing; we aren’t going to get into that topic today, but I do want to talk about how we can begin to initiate change within our organizations. We all know it needs to happen, but how? How can we accomplish something that seems so impossible?
Several of my coworkers become very negative when the topic of change and advancing technology comes up. They know it is happening, but they are still so unsure about it. I had one this past week become so angry when he asked a student where the schematic was for the circuit he was trying to troubleshoot, and the student pulled the manual up on his phone, and enlarged the schematic on the display. Several times he mentioned that phones are “becoming our lifelines”, and “making us dumb”, and forcing us to be “dependent on them”. Later I asked, “How would you have found the information you needed in that student’s situation?” He replied, “I would have gone to my filing cabinet and found the manual for the controller”. Remember, this is the same exact manual the student had pulled up on the internet on his phone, it was just the digital version. The content is exactly the same, the platform is the only change in this scenario.
In a change process, we must win over the hearts and the minds of the people involved (Kotter, 2013). If we truly want to bring people to our side, and have them fully committed to making this happen, we must have them believe what we believe and feel the way we feel, not just make them think we have a decent idea (Sinek, 2013). We must figure out what is important to them, and then focus on their feelings in order to change their behavior.
Dr. John Kotter (2013) points out in his video on leading change, that the first step should always be to get the sense of urgency up, and the sense of complacency down. As we say in the industrial field, “Complacency can lead to fatality.” In this essence, we are not talking about complacency being fatal to actual people like in the industrial field, but rather the process or the organization that they are attempting to change. People become complacent when they feel comfortable. They feel like what they are doing is working, and “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” right? Wrong.
We should always be looking for ways to improve, adjustments to make, and processes to better ourselves and our systems. Once we acknowledge there is a problem, then we can see there is a need for change; however if complacency is present, no one understands why you are trying to change (Kotter, 2013).
Kotter (2013) also states that urgency should be the foundation on which change is established. Just like a home built on a rocky foundation-you can build it, and it will stand for a period of time; however, eventually it will fall. The same is true for change without urgency. We may be able to convince people that we have a good idea, but if we do not first establish a sense of urgency as our foundation and identify why we are doing what we are doing, eventually the change effort will fail.
I have decided to implement an e-portfolio platform as an innovation project in the Instrumentation department at Lamar Institute of Technology. Due to several instances of the resistance to change like the one I mentioned previously, I know this is not going to be an openly accepted project in the beginning. I am hoping that starting at the inside of the golden circle with my Why statement identifying why I am doing this, then working out to the How and What statements, will establish a strong foundation and help me influence people to strongly believe in my plan.
I believe the learners in the Instrumentation program at Lamar Institute of Technology are the leaders of tomorrow’s automation and instrumentation industry.
We engage in quality, industry driven education in a collaborative, hands-on, learner-focused environment where students use advancing technology to gain authentic field-experience learning.
We create opportunities for students to learn to design, build, troubleshoot, and think critically, while documenting these learning experiences on their e-portfolios to demonstrate how they have become true innovators in the automation industry.
All royalty-free images retrieved from graphicstock.com
I just sued the school system. Prince Ea. (September 26, 2016). Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://youtu.be/dqTTojTija8
Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency. (Auguest 15, 2013). Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI
Start with why — how great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek | TEDxPugetSound. (September, 29 2013). Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://youtu.be/u4ZoJKF_VuA