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Leadership and Change. Jeffrey J. Smith Ed.D. Superintendent of Balsz Schools Phoenix, Arizona jsmith@balsz.k12.az.us. 1. Leadership and Change. As superintendent you have many pressing issues to deal with

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leadership and change
Leadership and Change

Jeffrey J. Smith Ed.D.Superintendent of Balsz SchoolsPhoenix, Arizonajsmith@balsz.k12.az.us


leadership and change1
Leadership and Change

As superintendent you have many pressing issues to deal with

Deciding what to change and how to lead change is a major consideration for any school system

The following are some helpful tips on how to manage and lead change in your organization


positive energy vs negative energy
Positive Energy vs. Negative Energy

Are you moving toward what you want or away from what you don’t want?

Positive energy attracts momentum because you are working toward a preferred future

Negative energy wears you down in ways you might not even know. Wearing you down with worry, emotionally hijacking your thoughts. When we are worn down emotionally we cannot make the best decisions

“In my experience, men go to greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire”

Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code


changes are like waves
Changes are like Waves

It seems only logical to be on the lookout for the next wave that might swamp your boat but you might be surprised how many leaders are not prepared when a wave of change swamps the organization

Be careful not to be so focused on present issues that you pass up on incremental changes that can move you in the right direction

Putting together various strategies can bring synergy to an approximation of your destination- kind of like tacking in the wind

“We can’t change the direction of the wind but we can change

the direction of our sails”


the change you seek should matter
The Change You Seek Should Matter

The wrong fight can debilitate an organization, fighting over things that don’t really matter, wasting time and energy

Big changes are about big things that have the potential to fundamentally change the performance and success of your schools

Discussing things that matter engages people

No matter how conflict avoidant a culture may be in general, most people are willing to fight for things that will dramatically improve their well-being and that of their students

Things that matter stir passions and controversy


does the change have a sense of noble purpose
Does the Change have a Sense of Noble Purpose?

A Noble Purpose energizes people to go above and beyond

People have a more significant investment in the change

It should affect all levels of the organization

There should be no personal advantage to you

You should be able to explain the change so the average person understands and agrees with the need

Navigating change involves a logical and cerebral discussion of the facts. However successful change efforts also include an emotional connection to the people in the organization

Noble fights are not always tidy, but they are worth the struggle


focus on the future
Focus on the Future

Make the change not only believable and desirable but compelling- so compelling in fact that not making it happen becomes the problem

A truly compelling future vision focuses people so intently on real, achievable benefits they are willing to work through the costs and controversies associated with achieving those benefits

Make gains explicit, especially at key moments in the process

The key is always looking out in front of the organization and considering every option

“Leadership is serious meddling in other people’s lives” Max Dupree


success and failure are a result of leadership
Success and Failure are a Result of Leadership

One thing both successful and dysfunctional organizations have in common is leadership

Successful organizations got there through leadership and failing organizations got there through leadership

Some want to blame the families, the students and the environment for the poor performance of students. The truth is that most of the choices made that lead to a widening of the achievement gap are made by schools

Develop a patient focus on building strategic intent into

sustainable reality


leadership is about authority not power
Leadership is about Authority not Power

Power- (do it or else!) When we resort to power it is because our authority broke down. Asserting power damages relationships

Authority- The skill of getting people to willingly comply because of your personal influence

Give people what they need and they will give you what you need

Leadership is not about lighting a fire under people’s butts it’s about lighting a fire in their hearts


make it sport not war
Make it Sport not War

Characteristics of War

Firestorms, friendly fire, collateral damage and civilian casualties

You risk devolving into a messy protracted civil war that can bog down the district

Characteristics of Sport

Timelines, rules of engagement, definition of the field of play including what is out of bounds

Sport involves consequential uncertainty

Your role is to be cheerleader, coach and referee

Judge behavior without regard to personal preference

The greatest conqueror is he who overcomes the enemy without a blow   -- Chinese Proverb


universal reactions to change
Universal Reactions to Change

People feel awkward and ill at ease

They think about what they lose not gain

They feel alone, even if others are doing the same thing

They feel they can only handle so much change

Everyone is at a different level of readiness for change

Some are concerned they do not have enough resources

When the pressure is off, people revert


for any questions feel free to contact
For any questions feel free to contact:

Dr. Jeff Smith


Balsz School District


602 629-6410