Communicate Unpopular Changes

As a cost saving measure, my district has made the decision to purchase and support just one computer platform. This is not a popular change among teachers at my site because the platform selected is not the one they favored. While we have the option of continuing with the platform we’ve been using, I would need to pay all tech support and repair costs out of the school budget, which we cannot afford to do. How can I smooth this transition?

An interesting thing happens when a significant change is implemented in a school setting. Those stakeholders who feel threatened by the change will perceive that the principal’s communication skills have declined! If they are in the majority, you have a serious problem. How can you counteract this? You need to plan ahead, recognizing that even if you’ve been commended for your communication skills in the past and continue to use the same strategies, when enough people are unhappy these strategies will no longer suffice. Make sure that there is a good flow of communication during this transition. Use a variety of communication methods and engage site leaders to help get the message across. For example:

  • Share information frequently, both verbally and in writing.
  • Ask staff for their input on how to make the best of the situation and let them know how this information is being used.
  • Provide a clear timeline for the transition, including installation and training.

It will take work, but this is a time when you cannot communicate too much.

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