Perspectives on change

Sam Miller, AEA 267 Chief Administrator

Sam Miller, AEA 267 Chief Administrator

As an organization, we’ve made a lot of change this year. Choosing a new name, purchasing a new facility, selecting the next Executive Director of Special Education, implementing a regional administrator model, making shifts in personnel to better align with district priorities…as a system, we’ve tackled a lot.

The research on change tells us that, if not managed well, too much change at once can lead to a decrease in organizational efficiency. Put simply, people within the organization become distracted by a “what’s going to happen next” preoccupation rather than being attentive to their role in helping the organization succeed and continually innovate. The leader’s role is to stay out front, keep reiterating the vision, and embrace opportunities to listen to the concerns and expressions of anxiety that others may be feeling. This can be exceptionally challenging in an organization as complex and geographically spread out as ours–but it can still be done.

As we move through the coming months, I want to express again to you that I am interested in your feedback and it is often used to refine and improve decision making. As an example, we’ve used staff feedback around meetings to make improvements to our Regional and Discipline meetings for 2017-2018.

Call, email, stop by (if your travels bring you to Cedar Falls) or set up an appointment to visit. My role is to make clearer the rationale for the decisions that we are making and listen to how they impact you in your role within the agency. I welcome those conversations, and always appreciate the opportunity to discuss the rationale and factors that guided our decision.  I think these honest conversations help all of us to stay on the same page.

Later this spring, I plan to organize a series of meetings at each of our three offices to talk further about our vision, priorities, and how the changes we have made  will positively impact the student, schools, and families we serve.  These meetings will present another opportunity for you to learn more and ask questions that you may have.  

While change can be challenging, it’s an outgrowth of an organization that is dedicated to continuous improvement and in tune with the needs of those it serves. As the author John C. Maxwell points out, “Change is inevitable…growth is optional.” Let’s be an organization that continues to grow and thrive.

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