Saturday, 7 October 2017


A colleague asked me recently how she should start with the challenges she was facing  and I told her she should read a great book by James Belasco...

Reading 'Teaching the Elephant to Dance' taught me such a lot about the management of change and that changing organisations and structures and cultures is possible. However, it also made me realise that changing anything is a complex task and that is where I learned so much about cultural change, learning leadership, beautiful systems and intelligent accountability.

If you read 'Teaching the Elephant to Dance', you'll learn that organisations are like elephants--slow to change. Importantly, it will remind you that empowered and trusted people are needed to create change and that strong and determined leadership is needed to create the future. Any change requires a powerful and compelling vision that focuses and energises people to embrace that new vision for the future. And, in this negative and bullying culture and landscape that permeates so much of the educational landscape at the moment, participation empowers change and beautiful systems are needed to reinforce the vision... and most importantly that actions matter!

Importantly, as experience and hard knocks teach you, in the world of change management, you have to anticipate the obstacles...
  • Obstacle 1--It always takes longer that you think
  • Obstacle 2--Exaggerated expectations...... everyone wants everything, now!
  • Obstacle 3--Carping skeptics are everywhere
  • Obstacle 4--Procrastination is endemic
  • Obstacle 5--Perfect solutions don't exist
We face enormous challenges in education and it's important that we create the future together rather than simply allowing things to happen to us. We need to understand that people are the key to achieving anything and that culture matters... put simply culture is everything!

Importantly, the last twenty years have taught me time and time again that we can change things for the better and that elephants can learn to dance!

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