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Three Faces of Effective Change

June 29, 2011

We can make this happen! (IStockPhoto)

There are many experts on change–Michael Fullan, Rob Evans, and the Heath Brothers (Switch) are three that come to mind. Many other people have written about change within the topic of leadership–leaders as agents of change. Recently, I read an article, Three Visionaries for Change, by David Perkins from HGSE and Project Zero. I liked the way he thinks about change and what it takes to make paint a portrait for how effective change can happen in schools. He writes about the three visionaries of change:
  • conceptual visionary
  • practical visionary
  • political visionary
Effective and lasting change requires that all three visionaries are actively working on behalf of change. For the most part, each visionary is a separate person or group of people. Perkins doesn’t believe that one person can fill all three roles.
  • Conceptual visionary is the person doing the research, formulating a plan, and thinking about structure, function, and evaluation of the work.
  • Practical visionary is the person who is actually implementing the work.
  • Political visionary is the person who is advancing the work in the larger community, finding resources, and providing support at a higher level.
For there to be effective lasting progress on a project, all three visionaries have to be collaborating.  Perkins concludes his article with the following:
So if we really want sustained innovation in a setting, we need all three visionaries. Bear this in mind as you and your colleagues join together to foster teaching for understanding. Look for the visionaries, cultivate them, cherish them. Don’t try to be them all, but be one when you can.
What do you think about his model?
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