Helping flagpole huggers

I was at the ADE Institute in Reading last week and I listened to a great talk on Change Management.

In the talk three types of people were explored when an organisation is going through change -

speed swimmer - embraces change quickly

shark spotter - looks for danger before committing

flagpole hugger - those who resist change.

I have a big interest in leadership and coaching and I love looking at ways to help people become more confident in learning and teaching with technology.

Sometimes I get a bit disappointed when people who coach others become frustrated with them when they feel that those receiving the help continue to be resistant or are slow to adopt new ideas.

We as educators, with our experience, are very lucky to be in a position to help others as our experience and willingness to help will ultimately make a positive impact on the learning experiences of lots of children.

Here are some ideas and pointers when helping those ‘flagpole huggers’ who are resistant to change.

  • Prioritise and spend time on building positive relationships and trust with the teachers you are helping.
  • Show understanding of the workload that teachers have. A new initiative can be tough to manage. Suggest ways that the use of technology can help to manage workload.
  • Offer discreet one-to-one support to teachers. Sometimes people can be very anxious about new approaches and may not want to talk about their progress in front of others. One-to-one support with someone who a teacher trusts can make a great impact on their confidence.
  • Celebrate small amounts of progress and achievements in private or as part of a group - as long as the person is happy with this.

One last tip is to never, ever give up with someone in a school. In my experience there is always an underlying reason why someone is resistant to change and if you always remember this and continue to be there if they ever need support then you will eventually help them make a positive impact with technology.

2 replies

March 27, 2024

The flagpole-hugger/shark-spotter/speed-swimmer metaphors I find are really helpful to think about managing change – I still remember hearing it at some Apple event about a decade ago! Probably the most useful insight is that ultimately what is needed is a boat: a way to bring everyone with you to the desired future destination. And then to decide (which literally means ‘to cut off’)…burning the flag to show that the old approach is no longer available!

March 27, 2024

Your pointers are very helpful and important. Thank you!

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