Managing Concerns around Transition and Change

The R3 Program and TIF/TCM grants are huge changes that Pitt County Schools will continue to tackle over the next four years. Even though the core program was developed by teachers and educators, we have to recognize that it is a change and change is scary. This post reveals some of the frameworks I use in thinking about managing transitions and the concerns that arise around implementing change.

When it comes to doing something new, different, dangerous, or innovative the individuals we work with will approach that change differently. Some individuals will automatically dismiss it. They don’t care and don’t want another change. When I taught middle school, my principal called those people CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything). On the other hand, there are those that immediately jump through any flaming hoop to try something new as soon as they hear about it. In between are the rest of us.  However, no matter where the individuals fall with regards to the change, we all have to come together to hit a common target.

Over the last seven years, I’ve had an opportunity to study different models of change and transition. I want to briefly feature two concepts that have helped me frame change and transitions. I’m not an expert in these, so instead, just want to make you think, like I have been thinking. William Bridges’ book Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change is one framework that I think about and use a lot. The other is the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) by Hall and Hord that is managed by AIR (American Institute for Research). Both provide me a way to think about and maintain positive presuppositions about individuals who don’t immediately embrace the change that is in front of them.

Taking Charge of Change is a three minute video using Bridges model that helped me frame why some people don’t immediately adopt an innovation.  Change doesn’t start with trying something new. Instead it starts with an ending. It starts with jumping out of a perfectly good plane, by ending what is comfortable and normal. For me, this analogy helps to frame the support others need in order to even consider a change.

Stages of Concern is another model that I use to help think about and prepare support for others about change. The idea is that in order to adopt a change, an individual has to manage seven levels of concern. Each individual moves through these stages in order to adopt the change. It is not a clean linear structure. Individuals move through each stage with different speed. Sometimes they revert back to prior levels. This framework gives me a way to think through the concern a person has with regards to any change and then frame what they might need with regards to support.  Below is a quote from the video (link is in the quote) that helps explain the seven stages of concern.

There are seven Stages of Concern numbered from 0 to 6. Stage 0 is where the individual is unconcerned. The individual indicates little concern or involvement with the innovation. Stage 1 is where the user has informational concerns. The user would like to know more about the innovation. Stage 2 is where the user has personal concerns. The user is concerned about how using the innovation will affect him or her. Stage 3 is where the user has management concerns. The user is concerned primarily with managing processes, tasks, and resources. Stage 4 is where the user has consequence concerns. The user is concerned about how the innovation is impacting the students. Stage 5 is where the user has collaboration concerns. The user is interested in how colleagues are using the innovation. Stage 6 is where the user has refocusing concerns. The user is concerned with making the innovation work even better. Stages of Concern Video (AIR, 2017)

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