Stage 1: Adult Learning and Leadership

Try This: Postcards from the Future

What’s the difference between change leadership and change management?

In an article in Forbes, John Kotter, whose organization Kotter International helps leaders deliver transformational change, describes change management as:

 a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control. The goal is often to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change.

Conversely, change leadership:

concerns the driving forces, visions and processes that fuel large-scale transformation.

Change leadership requires a clear vision of what could be.  Leaders need to make time both for themselves and for their teams to work out that vision.

How do you do it?  Here’s a quick strategy described by Chip and Dan Heath in their book Switch:

Postcards from the future 

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A postcard from the future or destination postcard is a vivid picture from the near term future that shows what could be possible. (Switch, p. 76).  To create this postcard, imagine you are in that future – What is happening around you?  What do you see that tells you have reached your goals?  What do people say? Describe it in a concise (postcard length) and concrete way.

This strategy is particularly helpful in fields like education where our bottom line is not in fact the bottom line.  Instead of just focusing on numbers to guide your actions, you can use this clear and shared vision to drive your leadership.  For example if you want students to be self-directed learners who are curious about their world, describe what that would look like in a classroom. What would you hear students saying? What would you hear teachers saying? Put that in your postcard and return to it every few months to reflect your progress.

Need some help?  Check out this step by step process for creating your postcards.  Let us know what you come up with!

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