Stafford Township, New Jersey superintendent George Chidiac on the importance of Change Management in our education system.
Change management has been around since the 1980s as a business process. It is so much a part of our organizational approach that it is now a part of the curriculum in most business schools.
However, a big part of the principles and practices of change management is focused on the people’s side of change, which is, managing people’s resistance to the changes leaders try to make.
“This attempt has not been very successful in ‘pushing’ change past the natural inclination of people to resist it, and so, the result is a perspective where there is a need to lead change, instead of people, so that you ‘pull’ people on the change journey,” said George Chidiac, Stafford Township Superintendent.
In the context of project management, we look at change management as a way to control, and in most cases, curb the amount of change that penetrates our project, instead of trying to create a receptive environment for the change we try to implement, the principles and practices, in the case of project management, are focused on limiting people’s natural inclination to try to improve and enhance the result of their efforts, and this has negative time and costs impacts.
The perception of change as a shift from a steady-state environment is a common thread between these two contradictory change management perspectives. For project management, the change is from the desired path to one that threatens the preconceived boundaries of cost and time, while business change sees it as an incremental movement from an undesirable state to a beneficial one.
“The education system today is far too dynamic to just tick along in a steady-state condition, and experiencing incremental step changes only periodically. Such is too slow especially when the incremental change fails to succeed most of the time” says Chidiac. “Also, projects are way too dynamic to try to curb a team’s desire to improve and enhance them through continuous change. It not only erodes the outcome, it eventually disengages and demotivates them” Chidiac added.
For schools to thrive today, trying to manage individuals within the organization will not work. Schools must create a platform where change is continuous. They need to create teams that are constantly adapting to the environment in which their organization operates.
“Adapting to change will not only involve reacting to disruptive influences, but it will also mean recognizing and seizing opportunities that were created by the current culture or the market. Adapting to change effectively will mean doing what has to be done immediately before the innovative momentum is lost, or before the opportunity goes by,” George Chidiac Said.
So instead of trying to change people so as to manage change, successful adaptation to change requires that we utilize the natural inclination in our team to reach for mastery and purpose to consistently drive adaptive change into our people and organization.
“Instead of limiting the change that creeps into our projects, we should utilize the naturally dynamic environment on projects to dig further into opportunities and innovative ideas to gain the highest benefits of change for our organization,” says George Chidiac.
About George Chidiac
George Chidiac is an experienced administrative leader with a demonstrated history of embracing change in the different roles he played over the past 25 years. He has been able to embrace changes in various educational roles to ensure his leadership role provides the best educational experience possible for his students.