Buy-In

“Buy-in.” I have heard this term a lot of over these last two weeks.

Leaders at a conference were brainstorming leadership characteristics and many felt one’s ability to get buy-in was important to leading change. In interviews I have heard candidates mention the importance of getting buy-in from stakeholders before introducing change whether it be first or second order change. Ask me about the importance of getting buy-in 10 years ago and I would have probably agreed with those who feel buy-in is necessary before moving forward with change. Today, I think differently.

Author Douglas Reeves states, “Don’t ask us to buy into your ideas for change; challenge us to envision a future that is better than today. Challenge us to consider improvements in our educational systems that will happen only if we replace the skepticism associated with the buy-in imperative with the hope and optimism associated with new ideas, practices, and policies.”

It’s June and build leaders around the country are attending conferences, reflecting, brainstorming and are in the initial stages of preparing for their back to school professional learning. Hopefully, many of us are designing opportunities that will challenge our teachers to move forward. Challenge our teachers to move past “that’s what we have always done”. Challenge our teachers to innovate in ways they have not thought of before. Building leaders need to be challenging teachers to transform learning.

As a building leader, could you imagine having to wait to implement these challenges until you had buy-in? From everyone?

Reeves goes on to state, “It is not rhetoric that persuades us, but evidence at a personal level.”

Educators need to see evidence that the time they invest in changing will warrant success. Educators need to see other’s having success amidst the change before changing themselves.

As I myself begin to brainstorm ideas for the upcoming school year, I seek input from my stakeholders, but I am not seeking permission nor buy-in. I want to listen and then I want to make decisions. Through seeking input and listening, I can begin to discover who my people are. I know who will get in at the ground level and I know who will need to see evidence of others having success. I am reminded of the graphic below:

Your innovators help you in leading the change. They do not require buy-in. To paraphrase a quote from the movie Moneyball, the first guy through the wall get bloody. These are our innovators. Trust me…everyone else is watching. What happens when others see our innovators having success? Their disbelief becomes belief. Their buy-in increases.

I do not believe it is healthy to have a building full of innovators. Balance is key. You need people who may say no the first time. When I hear no, it makes me rethink my “why”. It challenges my thinking. If I can rethink my why and am still compelled to move forward, those who are slower to change; the late majority or the laggards, they will come.

As Amber Teamann says:

As you prepare your professional learning, brainstorm ideas for change and continue to think how you will move your building forward, I encourage you to be the change you wish to see. Do not wait for those who surround you to buy-in. Give them a reason to buy-in. Inspire them! Challenge them! Support them!

Buy-in is not where you begin. Buy-in is the ultimate destination. @matthew_arend

 

 

Tell Our Story

The last day of school was this past Friday and one tradition I have grown to love is piecing together photos from throughout the year into a video and sharing all of these memories that tell our story during the final spirit assembly. While the video reminds this principal just how hard our teachers work and how we find the balance between pushing innovative practices and teaching students that 2+2=4 and learning to read it also serves another purpose.

The video capturing the highlights and memories of the year tell our story. Check it out!

You are probably asking, how do you capture nearly 180 days of instruction into a video at the end of the year? Well…thank you for asking.

We do it as a family! The Sigler community has bought into the notion we have heard so many share about.

“If you do not tell your story, someone else will…” – Eric Sheniger

We tell our story. Each grade level/department has a twitter account and we tell our story each day. We are proud of the work our students and teachers produce and we want our parents, community and the world to see it. In addition to the Twitter accounts, our campus hashtag #siglerlearns is used building wide to share our learning and the learning of others.
We have not always been where we are now. We have grown and developed into the campus we are today. The most important step we had to take was one I took first. I, the principal of the building, had to get comfortable with not being the only one sharing. I had to let go of the control and let the teachers/staff share right along with me. Since then, we have not looked back.
We share, we tweet, we learn. Most importantly, we tell our story. As summer is upon us this video serves as a PSA for anyone and everyone interested in checking us out. It is pinned to our @SiglerStars Twitter account as well as our Sigler Stars Facebook Page . It sits on our website and let’s everyone know what we are about at Sigler Elementary.
***Fast Forward to August***
New teachers arrive. The social media culture may be new to them. They have not been a part of our lifestyle yet. What’s one of the first things we do with them? Tell our story and show them this video of course. One of the things I point out at the conclusion of the video…
Every image in the video, came directly from our social media pages and hashtags.
Who do you let tell your story?
We hope you join us in telling the story and become a part of #SiglerNation.
The following accounts are all linked to #SiglerNation