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20 / 60 / 20 Rule

In implementing any change or school improvement initiative I find the 20 / 60 / 20 rule applies.

20% of people will be keen, enthusiastic and work hard to implement the strategy.
60% of people are sitting on the fence and could adopt it if they can see the benefits of the initiative and are supported to implement it OR could reject the initiative and keep doing what they have always done.
20% of people are stuck and won’t change no matter how convincing you are or how much support is provided.

Don’t put all of your energy into the 20% who WON’T change. I believe it’s like a farmer working with barren ground. You are unlikely to make any difference.

It is important to have those difficult conversations by using “I” statements to let them know that you have noticed their resistance but resist the temptation of diluting the change or putting all of your energy into convincing them. Remember, the behaviour you turn a blind eye to is the standard you accept. But don’t put all of your energy into appeasing the high maintenance staff by watering down the initiative.

Instead, focus your energy and support on the 60% who are sitting on the fence and could go either way. Convince them why the initiative is needed and paint a clear picture about what is in it for the students (and for them) as a result of successful implementation. Keep up the support until the initiative is imbedded and momentum has been built to the stage of “that’s how we do things around here!”

Once you have the momentum and 80% on board then the other 20% are a minority.

PS Don’t forget to keep cheering those who are doing it well!