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Leading a cultural change: where do you start? Barbara Laidlaw Brentwood Secondary College Watsons Road, Glen Waverley 3150 ph: 8545 0300 fax:8545 0355 [email protected]

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Leading a cultural change: where do you start?Barbara LaidlawBrentwood Secondary CollegeWatsons Road, Glen Waverley 3150ph: 8545 0300 fax:8545 [email protected]

Transformational leaders “know what is wanted, communicate those intentions successfully, empower others, and know when and how to stay on course and when to change”.

Developing and maintaining relationships is a key part of this process of developing a shared vision for the future of a school, as is innovating new ideas and evaluating their progress and overall effectiveness.

Thomas Sergiovanni, Leadership and Organisational Culture(1984)

Sergiovanni s leadership domains
Sergiovanni’s Leadership Domains






THE-Secondary College

Human: supports, encourages, motivates

Technical: plans, organizes, coordinates, manages resources.

Educational: professional knowledge about learning,

‘Community of Learners’.

Symbolic: modelling goals and behaviours,

‘walk-the-talk’, eg, how we speak to students – please & thankyou

Cultural: strengthens & articulates values,

beliefs, cultures and traditions.


[Blueprint for Victorian Schools – Building Leadership Capacity]

November 2002 the position was advertised: LT2 Information Resources/Library Services ManagerWhy did I apply? I needed a sea-change!Research the position: No tour of the school! No background on the vacancy! Not much on the library page on the web site! The ICT manager’s job e-mailed to me!I walked around the outside of the school on Sunday morning to try to get ‘something’ about the place!

Prepare for the interview:I went into ‘swat for the exam’ mode!Thankyou to my coaches: Joy Board - Beaconhills College, Pakenham Chris Clayton – Cranbourne S.C. Mary Manning & the SLAV publicationsPrepared an ‘Action Plan’ to leave with the panel for the last question:“Do you have anything you would like to add?”(included in your notes)

History of Brentwood Secondary College library

Long-serving staff:

1 full time library manager,

1 0.7 Teacher-librarian (2 history classes),

1 0.5 library assistant

Premise behind decisions affecting the library prior to the arrival of the current Principal:

Books are ‘out’, the internet is ‘in’.


  • no need for much of a budget to waste on books

  • no need for more library staff because there’s no need to buy many books

    Thus 75% of the book stock was >10yrs old

I came to BSC with a completely different approach to the library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

This was a sideways step on the career ladder and I was relieved to have a change of leadership position.

I changed how I thought about my role as Head of the Library.

INSIDE-OUT THINKING library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

“The way we see the problem is the problem.”

“ ‘Inside-out’ means to start first with self; even more fundamentally, to start with the most inside part of self – with your paradigms, your character, and your motives.”

“ The ‘inside-out’ approach says that private victories precede public victories … it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves.”

‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen R. Covey(1990)

The 3 ‘R’s’ vital for a learning community library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.




How can I hope to have students library. This was an opportunity to do things differently. and teachers enjoy coming to the library if I don’t show that I’m happy to be here too?

Relax > Smile > Chat > Greet them

Every time they come into the library!

ESTABLISHING PRIORITIES: library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • Have a plan with a time-line

  • Discuss this with a ‘critical’ but ‘sympathetic’ friend

  • Get your own ‘house’ in order first

  • Set short-term goals – the ‘to-do’ list

  • Keep checking in on your long term goals

THE LIBRARY TEAM library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • Listen a lot and speak a little

  • Ask non-judgemental questions

  • Don’t be comparative about previous schools

  • Build trust through building relationships

  • Act on matters that are important to the team

Distributed leadership empowers team members. library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

Performance Development:

  • What are their particular skills and areas of expertise?

  • What PD would they like to undertake?

    Make this happen!

    Be the ‘guide on the side’ with your staff and not the ‘sage on the stage’!

    Leadership that is genuinely devolved builds confidence and strengthens your team

Advertise! Advertise! Advertise! library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

Success breeds success!

  • Spread the word about how good your team is!

  • Praise your staff to students and teachers.

  • If a colleague thanks you for a job, ask them to thank your team member who actually made it happen!

  • Students are keen observers of adults and they KNOW what library staff think of each other and of the teachers.

  • Big people are the role models for the young people & they see and hear EVERYTHING

2006 BSC library team: library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • 1 full time Library Manager appointed start of Term 2

  • 1 0.7 teacher librarian who has control of the fiction budget, Premier’s Challenge, Yr 7 program, author visits, reading club

  • 1 Library Technician: cataloguing, invoices, AV & library bookings on-line

  • 1 Library Technician: the Library monitors, library displays, circulation

  • 1 0.5 Library Assistant: AV equipment & off-air recording, book processing

  • Integration aides whose students are absent

    Use data to support the application for an increase in staffing

Staff Difficulties: library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • It’s tough – get some PD if you need it & keep a member of the Principal team informed

  • Focus on the work and service to the clientele

  • Keep expectations clear and explicit

  • OHS and Work-Cover claims – are not personal. Get independent advice eg a workplace assessor

  • Examine your own behaviour & monitor your own reactions

  • Check that Duty Statements accurately reflect the tasks, including hours of duty

  • Get your own copy of the SSO guidelines and check that you are managing within these

  • ‘Behaviour unchallenged is behaviour condoned’ Poor work practices that have become entrenched have also become normalised. To challenge these will cause upset.

Have fun! Share a laugh! Have a joke! library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.


Easter Bunny

Morning Tea on Report Writing days

Go out for Arvo Tea

Have lunch together for ‘special’ birthdays

Most of us spend more time during the week with work colleagues than we do with our families!

LIBRARY SERVICES library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

‘Outside-in’ approach:

What do library users want and what do they value?

Focus on customer service because that is what they will notice!

Teachers: library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • Faculty orders given the highest priority

  • Buy the resources they suggest & notify them when they’ve arrived

  • Faculty/Staff meetings in the library to display new resources

  • ‘Books & Bubbly’ gathering

  • PLT on Webquests

  • Support teachers with planning assignments

  • ‘Value added’ – make their time worthwhile

  • Discourage any talk of ‘us & them’ in your team by keeping the focus on student learning

Finance library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • Use data to apply for a budget increase

  • Your relationship with the Business Manager is crucial

  • Be accurate & efficient

  • Excel spreadsheet of library suppliers

  • Excel spreadsheet: Subscriptions

  • Accounting Excel Spreadsheet

    Improves your tracking of orders

    Provides a service to Heads of Faculty

    Streamlines your contact with suppliers

The students build connectedness with this click go generation andrew fuller

Relax with them library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.


Greet them as they come into the library

Music before school

Board Games

Chess Club


Fiction: browsing

Use fine money to buy popular magazines



Special events

Food: Easter Eggs, Black Cats

The students: build connectedness with this ‘click & go’ generation. (Andrew Fuller)

How do you measure your success with the students? library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • Sheer volume of students in the library at recreational times, class bookings and students on passes

  • The happy ‘vibe’

  • Kids talking to you

  • Students putting pressure on the teachers to book into the library

  • The volume of items borrowed

Library monitors
LIBRARY MONITORS library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

  • Distributed leadership – Library Technician

  • A student leadership position in the college

  • Have status: celebrate their contribution

    graduation from training party

    & badge presented by the Principal

  • Newsletter

  • School Magazine team photo

  • Genuine responsibilities

  • Place to belong for the ‘lost & lonelies’

  • Develops social skills and confidence through providing customer service

The library manager as an educational leader
The Library Manager as an educational leader library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.

First: manage yourself!

  • Your personal image

  • Dress code

  • Work ethic

  • Work practices

  • Manner

  • Relationships

  • Conversations

    What are you saying to the school community about yourself? Consider the ‘inside-out’ message.

Contribute to and lead educational discourse
Contribute to library. This was an opportunity to do things differently.and leadeducational discourse

  • Know your stuff: library. This was an opportunity to do things differently. the Blueprint, The Flagships Strategies, VELS, PoLTS, D.E.&T. initiatives.

  • Read professional journals/newsletters: SLAV ; the ‘Education Times’, the AEU; the VIT eg, ‘the Renewal of Registration’ discussion paper.

  • ‘Inside-out’ thinking: read literature on educational leadership & change management: Elmore, Fullan, Hargreaves, Marzano, Perkins, Sergiovanni.

  • Go to the ‘big event’ PD that is on offer, rich and stimulating.

  • Clean up conductor of the orchestra? the library

  • Throw out the old books with no ‘pick-up’ attraction for the kids. Be RUTHLESS!

  • Create room on the shelves for books that staff & students are encouraged to ask for!

  • Start collecting data: age of the collection; circulation; loss rate; bookings for library spaces; numbers of students at lunchtime.

  • Make sure that cataloguing is consistent without being unnecessarily pedantic. Kids can’t cope with huge Dewey Numbers!

  • Master Plan conductor of the orchestra? Process: Library design conference - invite your AP to go with you!

  • Have a go at using the school’s report package

  • Join School Council

  • Get onto the Management Committee

  • Education Sub-committees

  • PLTs: Professional Learning Teams

  • Deliver PD to staff

  • Talk to ALL staff, visit staff rooms, go to social gatherings

  • Get library events onto the school calendar

into a new jobCultures do not change by mandate;

they change by the specific displacement

of existing norms, values, structures and processes by others;

The process of cultural change depends fundamentally on modelling the new values and behaviours that you expect to displace the existing ones.”

Richard Elmore, 2004

There are 3 parts to the process
There are 3 parts to the process into a new job

  • The written application

  • The interview

  • Referees

    Research the school: website; Charter; curriculum; ‘network’ – ask your contacts.

The written application the purpose of the application is to get you short listed for an interview
The written application: into a new jobthe purpose of the application is to get you short-listed for an interview!

  • Opening letter: give the panel some ‘flavour’ of who you are, your educational philosophy and what you bring to the college.

CURRICULUM VITAE into a new job

  • Name

  • Home address

  • Business address

  • Record number

  • Classification

  • Current (leadership) position

  • Qualifications: post-graduate first

  • Professional memberships

  • Professional work history: chronological order starting with the most current; include the years

    [ 2003 – current; 2002-1997]

  • Subjects taught

Positions of Responsibility Relevant to the position: into a new job

  • List chronologically from most recent & most senior, back. Use the school as the sub-heading

    Professional Development:

  • Organise with sub-headings, eg, Management & Educational Leadership; Curriculum.

  • List chronologically from most recent


Choose carefully

  • Principal/AP – your leadership

  • Peer – collegial relationship & significant understanding of your work

  • Library team member

  • Professional courtesies: inform Principal; ask the referee in person; give referees a copy of application; indicate particular areas you want them to emphasise.

  • Gender balance.

  • Tell all referees when you are short-listed or you receive notification that you will not be interviewed.

Selection criteria

  • Don’t ‘exaggerate’.

  • All examples used must be able to be substantiated.

  • Avoid repetition and don’t pad it out

  • Avoid empty ‘EDUSPEAK’!

  • Have the application edited

Selection criteria cont
SELECTION CRITERIA cont: into a new job

  • A.T.Q.! Answer the Question!

  • Include aspects of the Duty Statement through the answers to the criteria.

  • Demonstrated capacity: code for ‘can develop the skills’, ‘not necessarily experienced’, show the ‘transferable skills’ relevant to the position.

  • Demonstrated ability: experience to a high level.

  • Examples of experience: WHAT you did; WHY; WHO was involved; HOW did you plan – implement – evaluate; OUTCOMES.

  • Use paragraphs and dot-points.

The interview
The interview into a new job

  • Do your homework.

  • Questions will come from the selection criteria.

  • Draft questions & plan responses: vision; educational trends; library team; charter priorities; professional learning; student learning.

  • Extended answer with follow up questions.

  • Organise a ‘mock interview’.

  • You can prepare question/s for the panel.

  • Prepare a concluding statement to draw the interview to a positive conclusion.

Recruitment on line
Recruitment-on-line: into a new job

  • Register yourself and elect to be notified of library positions and/or Leading Teacher vacancies.

  • Check your e-mail.

  • Prepare a basic application as a word doc.

  • Alter it according to the selection criteria for the individual school. Check the document to make sure you use the correct name of the school.

  • Copy and paste into the on-line application.

  • Check with the college that they received your application.

  • Send a hard-copy (or more if specified) to arrive by the closing date.

Good luck
GOOD LUCK! into a new job

Are you the custodian into a new job


are you the conductor?