Change can be tough, especially in an organization with multiple departments and countless processes. Change management offers a structured approach that can help ease the transition if you’re completely transforming your school or implementing some new technology. This strategy can be a game-changer in adding new technology or making organizational changes in a school, offering benefits like faster and more successful implementations.
We’re here to help with all the details on educational change management if you’re considering making some adjustments.
What Is Change Management in Education?
Change management refers to a systemic approach to tackling a transition or transformation within an organization. We’ll go over some of these strategies later, but you’ll find it in many varieties across different industries. In education, it’s a crucial part of ensuring the successful implementation of new tools and processes. It helps address the often-disconnected nature of schools and ensure a cohesive approach to innovation.
Let’s say you’re rolling out a program that gives students individual laptops. It could — and should — affect teachers’ day-to-day strategies. Some might resist the new tool with a preference for pencil and paper, while others might struggle to use it effectively during instruction. Students may not use them as much or even find them frustrating. These problems could dramatically reduce the value of the laptop program for the school.
On the other hand, you could get ahead of any confusion or frustration if you approached the laptop program with careful planning, discussions with teachers, comprehensive training, and other strategic elements. You could maximize value and give students and teachers a great head-start. Change management offers a structure for these elements to guide schools through change.
3 Steps for Change Management in Schools
Overcoming change has been a business challenge for decades, so you’ll find many different ways to approach it. Some popular change management models include:
- The McKinsey 7-S Framework: This framework focuses on organizational alignment and ensuring interconnectedness between the seven elements of Structure, Strategy, Systems, Skills, Style, and Staff.
- Lewin’s Model: Lewin’s Model is based on three broad stages called Unfreeze, Change, and Refreeze. These stages walk you through eliminating the status quo, making effective changes, and solidifying them into your school’s culture.
- The ADKAR Model: The ADKAR Model centers on five sequential goals for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. It emphasizes looking at these goals from individual and organizational perspectives to achieve full employee support.
Depending on your goal, these models can offer certain advantages. We’ve broken down some common themes into a step-by-step approach to change management in education.
1. Research and Define
Start by collecting all of the information you can, then define the problem in detail and identify potential solutions. The most crucial part of this step is to get input from everyone involved. Consider talking to teachers, administrators, the IT team, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), parents, and anyone else the change might affect.
When you have these discussions, be open-minded and encourage honesty. Ask about how the change might affect their experience. Talk about their concerns and what they would be excited about. See if they have any solutions you haven’t thought of — these conversations can be some of your best resources in preparing for change.
Armed with your research, start narrowing down your solution and your implementation plan. Compare your options as you look for a solution designed for education. Schools are unique from businesses, and you should tailor your resources to that environment.
Once you have a plan, you can start sharing it with others. Here are some elements to consider including in your communications:
- How the change will affect different individuals
- What benefits people can expect and why the school is making the change
- Any new requirements associated with the change, such as workflow adjustments or certifications
- A timeline for implementation
- Training and education
That last point is especially valuable for maximizing your return on investment (ROI). Make sure your team is fully on board with the change and understands how to use new resources or systems. If you’re working with a solutions provider, look for one that offers training services and educational resources. Here at MIP®, for instance, we offer robust product training for our accounting solutions to ease implementation and maximize ROI.
3. Follow Through and Monitor
With a solid foundation, you can now execute the change. Follow your plan and ease into your new process or solution, and be sure to stay flexible throughout the process. Consider assigning a project leader who can champion the change and answer any questions along the way.
Collect data during and after implementation to measure your success — by tracking the results of your program, you can see what’s working and what isn’t. You can celebrate your successes and tweak your strategy if needed.
The Benefits of Change Management in School Administration
Following a change management plan is an excellent strategy with significant benefits for any organizational transition or transformation. Some advantages of change management include:
- Fewer roadblocks and disruptions: A detailed approach to planning can help you prepare for interruptions and potential roadblocks and respond to them quickly. You can avoid problems that might be hard to overcome or could delay the process.
- Cost savings: Many of those roadblocks or disruptions will increase costs or decrease the ROI of your project. For example, if you didn’t run your new software solution by the right people, you may find that it doesn’t fit their workflow well or omits a crucial capability. Scrapping the implementation or changing IT demands could be costly. Change management helps you control expenses.
- Better outcomes: With change management, you have a better chance of reaching your goals since you can mitigate problems and target the school’s needs more effectively.
- Reduced implementation time: You might be able to speed up your transformation with a smoother, well-planned timeline and fewer delays.
- Greater acceptance: Research finds that the success of organizational change hinges on employee attitudes, with resistance to change being a leading obstacle. Change management can help you address feelings of uncertainty, stress, or confusion associated with new solutions. Providing support and meeting employee needs can make the change much easier on team members and more likely to succeed.
Embrace Technological Changes With MIP®
With consistent pressure to cut costs, modern software solutions are an ideal way to improve efficiency and save money in schools. MIP’s accounting system can help you save time and facilitate data-driven decisions, all while keeping your financial processes in-house. Best of all, we offer extensive support to encourage successful change management. From a vast collection of online guides to diverse training opportunities, we’re here to help you succeed.