Leading Sustainable Change

By Judy Bruce

Ever wondered what it really takes to create enduring school wide change? In this article we share some key insights from the Grow Waitaha evidence based resource, Leading Sustainable Change.

In post earthquake Christchurch, 17 school leaders were interviewed about their experiences of leading sustainable change within school contexts. Through an analysis of the leaders’ experiences and by drawing upon evidence based research and literature on organisational change, authors (Ben Rosenfield, Dr Gabrielle Wall and Dr Chris Jansen) were able to publish this very insightful resource: Leading Sustainable Change. 

The resource provides a concise and insightful overview of the leading change process. There are four main sections: 

  • Before implementing change
    • understanding scope
    • responsive leadership
    • building unity, gaining buy-in
  • Addressing resistance
    • common reasons for resistance
    • empower supporters to influence the fringe
    • allow for people to choose other pathways
  • Implementing change
    • pool risk by sharing responsibility
    • control the pace of change
    • empower stakeholders, especially staff
    • allow space for trial and error
    • encourage broader collaboration 
  • Sustaining change
    • maintain an active model of continuous improvement
    • invest in your staff members’ success
    • entrench changes within the culture

 In each of the above sections, lessons learned from school leaders are shared, as well as useful models and tools for leading change. 

At the start of the resource, there is a quick guide which contains 10 tips for leading sustainable change. This is a highly recommended, accessible read for experienced and emerging leaders. It is especially relevant for school leaders undergoing large property projects, as was the case in post earthquake Christchurch. 

The resource is attached to this article, and can also be found on the Grow Waitaha website. 


Leading-sustainable-change-Grow Waitaha   PDF, 6.6 MB