Ross Gellar Said It Best – “P-I-V-O-T!”
Weiner (2009) looks to “…define organizational readiness for change… (p. 6). In a perfect world, this preamble is necessary to make institutional changes that are costly and time-consuming. Readiness is an essential step in change-making, but as educators are keenly aware, organizations were not given a chance to ready themselves for COVID-19. This is especially true for K-12 education, which is where I find myself amid many changes. Online learning became a reality for the majority overnight; in a world where just days prior, online learning was a choice for the few. This rapid and necessary pivot that many educators and learners have made is nothing that any theory or model could have prepared us for.
Leading in this particular digital learning environment requires empathy, patience and grace. In reading and dissecting the various models and theories of change, Al-Haddad & Kotnour (2015) describe Lewin’s method from 1946 as “…unfreezing the current state of the organization… (p. 248)”. COVID-19 sure did that! I also appreciate the concision on Lewin’s method.
If we indeed are in the change stage of Lewin’s method, this is where good leadership plays a role. On a macro scale, folks look to political leaders in times of world crises such as these. On a micro-scale, in our jobs, for example, we need just as much security and reassurance. Castelli (2016) writes, “… archaic leadership practices and traditional thinking will not propel growth in an ever-changing and highly perplexing transnational marketplace” (p. 217). In the K-12 education system, the shift to digital learning has meant principals and other administrators need to be good leaders. Some are, and some are not.
For some K-12 institutions, their leaders are not digital natives. Therefore, the quick decisions regarding digital learning that needed to happen at the beginning of the pandemic were stalled and hampered due to leadership’s lack of knowledge and experience in online learning environments. Not all districts and leaders had these issues, but unfortunately, I venture to guess many did.
I look forward to moving through this change stage. The days when COVID-19 is in our rear-view, and we can begin to refreeze in the ideological, digital-learning-playgrounds we shall find ourselves enjoying together.
Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: A model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234–262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0215
Castelli, P. A. (2016). Reflective leadership review: a framework for improving organisational performance. Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 217–236. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-08-2015-0112
Weiner, B. J. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(67), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67