Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coherence making

How can school leaders effect culture change in these incredibly difficult times?  Budgets are stressed with a number of districts anticipating bankruptcy in a few years if the recent pattern of eroding state and local support continues.  Pressure to improve student achievement and to close the achievement gap continues to increase expectations in spite of the difficult financial times.

What is a school leader to do?  Michael Fullan talks about coherence making in "Leading in a Culture of Change."  According to Fullan, the complexity found in the challenges facing public education also provide opportunity for creativity.  However, if chaos is too severe, staff can become overwhelmed.  Balancing chaos and coherence is a key characteristic of successful leaders.

Successful leaders recognize that they do not have the control leaders may have had in the past.  Instead, today's leaders are successful when they create conditions so staff take the vision of the organization as their own.  When staff collaborate to work through the ambiguities and challenges of difficult-to-solve problems, they are best able to meet the challenges facing public schools today.

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