Home' Teacher : October 2010 Contents LEADERSHIP 59
It was important, too, that each priority
working group be led by a strategic thinker
and have a number of staff involved who
were strategic thinkers. We wanted the
various priority working groups to think
well beyond the brief and be able to draw
together diverse kinds of information in
order to implement our strategic plan.
As can be seen in Figure 1, this first stage
involved working with a large number of
people from all parts of the college commu-
nity and beyond. At this stage, we devoted
staff meeting time specifically for consul-
tation and also released groups of staff to
meet for extended periods of time to brain-
storm the possible options.
Once each priority working group had
completed its consultation, it produced a
green paper which first detailed the research
and consultation, and then the specifics of
the initiative to be implemented.
All green papers were first submitted
to the implementation working group for
approval. This step was vital to ensure that
the various priority working group initia-
tives were in line with the strategic plan and
that the implementation of all plans could
be tracked together.
Once the green paper was approved, it
was then released to staff for comment.
To assist in directing the feedback we
adopted a modified strengths-weaknesses-
opportunities-threats or SWOT analytical
model for staff to use. This assisted in col-
lating responses and also provided valuable
feedback as to what staff saw as the essen-
tial parts of each initiative.
The priority working group then
addressed feedback from that, modifying
the initiative as required before producing
a final white paper.
Once a white paper was approved by the
implementation working group for final
release and implementation, it was commu-
nicated to the college community. This was
an essential part of the process since it con-
firmed the details of the initiative, including
the plan for implementation.
The priority working group responsible
for an initiative would then begin the imple-
mentation as detailed in the white paper. As
each priority working group implemented
its initiatives it was essential that it was held
accountable for implementing the initiative
as approved by the implementation work-
Throughout the implementation phase,
each priority working group reported back
to the college community at various stages
of the project. At times, some projects were
launched with great fanfare to assist the
college community to let go of the old and
embrace a new approach.
In planning to implement the strategic
plan, we, the executive team, spent a full
weekend developing the structure and proc-
ess required over the ensuing five years. In
doing that, we also realised the depth of
expertise and the capacity of leaders that we
already had in the college to effect change
Our strategic plan was not, in the words
of the plan, about 'business as usual,' but
about 'a major investment in change.' The
enormity of the change being implemented
did create stress for people in the college
The change process is managed well
when people are kept informed. We knew
that commu nication needed to be a central
component of the work that each prior-
ity working group and the implementa-
tion working group undertook, but we
learned that just because you r message
goes out doesn't mean it's heard or indeed
taken onboard by people. When it comes
to implementing change, it's a mistake to
make assumptions about what people know
We added another level of communica-
tion so that detailed information that had
been made available in white papers could
be presented and discussed with key stake-
holders to address major issues and con-
cerns arising from an initiative.
As various initiatives were implemented it
was vital that the college leadership listened
to, identified and, if possible, addressed
emerging concerns from the college commu-
nity. At some stages when there was signifi-
cant change occurring it became necessary
to make adjustments to some of the changes
or slow down the pace of change. Celebrat-
ing the success of each change along the way
was good for staff and students as it assisted
in recognising the new without dwelling on
what was now in the past.
It was interesting to observe some mem-
bers of the community through the change
process. Some staff and students were over-
whelmed by the amount and scope of the
change, and some suffered from change
fatigue. There were also some staff who
only realised the extent or impact of the
change when it was actually implemented.
We've found that significant change
is possible within a complex school envi-
ronment, so long as your strategic plan is
enabled by project-specific planning and
implementation that is carefully managed,
coordinated and communicated.
Ian He witt is Assistant Head of School --
Learning and Teaching at Marist College
Canbe rra. Carmel Luck is Assistant
Head of School -- Staff at Marist College.
Chris Morrissey is Deputy Headmaster
at Marist College. Richard Sidorko is
Headmaster at Marist College. This is an
edited version of their paper, 'Taking it to
the next le vel: Leading change,' presented
at the Fifth International Conference on
Catholic Educational Leadership hosted
in August by the Australian Catholic
University in Sydney.
w ww.maristc. act.edu. au
For the full paper, visit ww w.acu.edu.
He witt_ Ian_ Luck_Carmel_ Morrissey_
Chris _ Sidorko_ Richard.pdf
Reeves D.B. (2009) Leading Change in
Your School: How to conquer myths,
build commitment and get results.
Alexandria , VA: ASCD.
Links Archive September 2010 November 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page