above dealt with the specific framework of the action research project,
Partnership for Learning. The results and reflections covered both
my change and change in those with whom I worked. While P4L
provided significant opportunities for change, several other areas
provided oppotunities for my personal progress. Two key areas this
program effected are my interaction skills and my
project planning approach.
The TAO of Giving and Receiving Wisdom by Huang gave me a new
frame of reference. It was the beginning of a better understanding
of where and how I could change. I began to see the value of empowering
rather than producing ~ process rather than product.
I began to see how to listen with an openness in
order to shift from rebuttal and defense to collaboration.
and Fullan's Leading in a Culture of Change gave me a key
to working with dissenters. I noted, "The
idea of appreciating resistance and seeing dissent as a potential
source of new ideas and breakthroughs has changed how I approach
this issue. I have moved from marshalling resources to overwhelm
any oppostion to respecting resisters. They may have ideas or alternatives
I have missed and, when I get to implementation, I need their support.
Respect from them comes from my respect
key that opened an insight for me was in Cashman's Leadership
from the Inside Out. The concept that strengths can become
counterproductive was a signigicant clue as to why my enthusiasm
was 'not working.' The reflection
activity added awareness of challenges and ways to move beyond
those habits. It led to developing a working
chart for progress.
Planning and Collaboration
Participating in and observing many opportunities for collaboration
in this program has given me new insight into working with groups.
In the interest of efficiency, my approach has been to come the
meeting with some sense of a how to proceed. This often meant to
me not only 'what,' but also 'how' and 'when.' In my thinking, it
was easier to proceed if there was a framework with which to start
or target at which to shoot. I could sense that this often caused
participants discomfort. I did not get the collaboration I sought.
I knew it was too 'top-down', but was unsure how to make a change.
several venues I gained several insights that have changed my approach.
The first revelation was that efficiency was not always the most
effective way to achieve a goal. Fifteen months ago, I began outlining
an academic technology plan for Principia. I was working with the
trainer and the US tech coordinator. I did not include administrators
or any teachers. My approach was "Get it done and sell it!"
After all, I was the authority; I had the vision.
observation of the partnerships in this project, through several
several projects in the courses Managing Technology for Change and
Leadership and Technology, I have gained new insights and a new
plan for developing that instrument. I built on the foundations
mentioned above in Interaction Skills with ideas in both DeMarco
and Lister's Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams and
in Zander and Zander's The Art of Possibility. Beginning
in the fall, I will begin with the College and St. Louis campus
computing committees to think through issues and approaches. The
timing is right: those groups are moving from functional computer
decisions to philosophical policy issues.
also learned to value my own skills and not be apologetic. Sometimes
that has come from a peer, on occasion from a professor.
In the face of the managerial IT thinking this is not always easy,
but the genuine appreciation of the teachers and their interest
in these ideas feeds my passion and encourages my heart.