Change = learning

All change, in essence, equals learning. I wonder if the successful patterns in education also apply to change. Although I have some experience in education, I would not call my self an educational expert. However, I see some patterns emerging in education which could help adopting change in work or private life.

The only internal motivation is fun

Many educators will agree that motivating your students is one of the hardest things to do. As a teacher myself I learned that motivation is a spectrum, ranging from amotivation at the left, through extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation on the right. Intrinsic motivation is defined as the activity being worthwhile in itself, in other words: it’s fun to do. So how can this be applied to change? Especially when we change feels forced upon us. I think this depends, but, just like inside a classroom, there are basic conditions which need to be met: mental & physical safety, room for err, short feedback loops, clear and challenging goals. May be, I missed some, but I am convinced that in adopting to change these a crucial for succes…and having fun in the process!

Learn by example

An effective learning method is showing how something can be done. Having you’re students repeating that, while you help them understanding it. That’s also how our children learn….how to talk, walk. Especially young children copy the behavior they see from their caretakers. Being parents, teachers or daycare workers. So how can this help change being adopted, by having the role models in the organizations show how to do it. That does not necessarily have to be leadership, but can be “natural” leaders within the organization. Of course transforming a top-down organization it is somewhat conditional for success having leadership taking on that responsibility.

Be patient & compassionate

Change is hard, otherwise it would not be change. Everyone resists change for different, personal reasons. Understanding that, helps to grow patience, which helps to nurture a safer environment for change to occur. I once heard the quote: “everyone is fighting a war you know nothing about”. When I feel my impatience growing this mantra helps me to be more compassionate and patient, because I have to acknowledge the reference point and struggles the other one is dealing with. As a teacher, you sometime tend to see the path a student should take, but remember that everyone must walk their own path in order to learn and adopt to change. Allow for that room and the chances for successful change increase.

In transformation models, approaches or strategies there are lots of thing that can be learned from decades of educational wisdom. I think anyone who helps guiding an organization through times of change should make use of that wisdom. Changing is learning how to adopt or behave differently, there is much that can be learned from the way teachers guide there students through that process, because in essence it is the same.

I am sure there are more parallels to draw and I am curious to your thoughts. Don’t hesitate to share!