Change Management Will Change Your Life

All of us have been part of an effort that, for some reason, did not turn out as we intended. It could have been something as simple as that new omelet recipe you wanted to try. Why didn’t your omelet look the same as that pretty picture on recipes.com? Or it could have been the 2013 rollout of healthcare.gov, the beleaguered web portal of the Obamacare initiative.

Somewhere along the way, something went wrong with that omelet and with Obamacare’s website. Identifying what went wrong (and quickly) is a big part of what change management is all about.

What is Change Management?

Whether the goal is to make an omelet or to roll out healthcare.gov, it is important to realize that these products came into existence only after the completion of many individual steps. In the case of the omelet, you beat the eggs, warmed the butter, diced the fillings and so forth. Your future omelet will eventually come from this soup of ingredients.

This soup of ingredients undergoes major and minor changes as you progress through the recipe. The current state of your omelet can be called your “as-is state.” From this as-is state, you make a series of observations and form the “baseline” mental image of your omelet. As you move ahead to the next step in your recipe, you remember this baseline and monitor what the next change does to your effort. You can likely identify a problem faster if you pay attention to what things looked like before.

A lot of change management is simply empirical observation. With a good record of changes and whether the result was positive or negative, the bad outcomes can often be minimized and the good outcomes made more frequent.

Advantages of Change Management

In practice, change management has great practical value to the enterprise. Many organizations are subject to regulatory agencies or laws. For example, U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

One technical provision of HIPAA is that healthcare providers must safeguard against unauthorized changes to a health record. In this scenario, change management is not simply a benefit but a requirement. For example, if a patient has a documented history of an allergy to penicillin and his record is erroneously updated to report no allergies present, monitoring may help catch an otherwise deadly mistake.

For undertakings that involve many steps or many changes, change management can offer a clear reversion path. The record of change is the “trail of bread crumbs” that gets your product back to a functional state. Let’s say that you are working on an Excel spreadsheet with many embedded formulas, each of which references a specific location in the spreadsheet.

If you start introducing a lot of changes all at once – moving around columns and updating formulas in the spreadsheet – you may find that some of your formulas no longer work. But which change broke your spreadsheet? If you can’t identify the change(s) that did, you may have to redo all of that work.

Another advantage is that it helps preserve institutional knowledge. In large programming projects, for example, the product manager can review the state of the application over time. Each code change or revision is typically checked in to a repository as a sort of archive. The entire evolution of the application project can be observed by looking at these snapshots in time of the code. As a result one can begin to understand the way the product has changed over time – even if the original programmers have long since left the company.

Challenges of Change Management

Change management is often unpopular due to the increased overhead it brings. In fact, if done poorly, it can bog down the output of the entire organization.

There is a cost associated with change management. That cost can come from the time it takes to train staff to use the new process. There can also be capital expenditures if the company decides to purchase a CM software application.

Perhaps the most serious challenge to consider for change management is the overhead it may bring. If the process of change management is more onerous than making the change itself, the CM process may need improvement. If change management is not handled in an efficient manner, the new process may not gain acceptance and consistent use. Worse, the rank-and-file staff may quietly lower their output to the business as a way to avoid using the change management process.

Recommendations for Change Management

Before rolling out a new process or buying new software, the business should identify key stakeholders for the effort of rolling out change management. A project sponsor should be identified that will act as the owner of the project. Together, the stakeholders and project sponsor should identify what needs the project must fulfill to be considered successful. Desirable features can also be included alongside project requirements.

Once the project team is identified and the goals listed, the team should examine what resources should be involved in determining the necessary steps to accomplish those goals. Many goals in the project will likely reveal an interdependency between two groups within the business: for example, the rank-and-file’s acceptance of the change management systems, and the executives’ ability to provide an efficient and functionally relevant system.

Failure to meet such an interdependency can risk project failure. Therefore, it is important that the project team hold conversations with staff outside the project team to determine what an efficient and functionally relevant change management system might look like. This can mean lots of conversations and interactions with entities across the business.

If requirements, interdependencies, and functional concerns are addressed prior to rollout, the business will have an accurate idea of what their change management system will need to be successful.

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Business Agility in a World of Artificial Intelligence

Business Agility, AI and Remaining Human

“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most intelligent, caring and supervisory roles remaining.” Stephen Hawking.

It doesn’t take one of the world’s greatest living astrophysicists to understand there is a major shift going on in not only our workplaces, but in our society as a whole. The difference between what humans can do and what machines and computers are capable of is shifting, and at an accelerating rate. This reality becomes truly scary to those who currently earn a living by doing repetitive tasks or thinking in repeatable patterns; in other words, most of us.

If you are not able to distinguish what you do from that of a machine or a computer, then how can you really call yourself much more than a human doing? To remain a human being requires more!

The difference between a human doing and a human being?

Your ability to feel and relate.

Going forward, this will be most obvious in those roles that as Professor Hawking reminds us require feelings, leadership and creativity combined with intelligence. For the foreseeable future, this means that your economy will increasingly be influenced by your ability to listen, understand, empathize, create and lead. In short, the more you cultivate your ability to consciously feel, powerfully communicate and relate, the better chance you will have of getting paid. Transacting can be left to our increasingly sophisticated creations.

Even if increasing your ability to use your senses to relate is reduced down to the economics of being employed or not, just that is a positive start! Most of us are now being forced to learn that trying to compete with computers and machines only leads to increased stress and ultimately dis-ease.

“Life in a Spreadsheet”

A good friend, Tim Finucane, came up with this appropriate metaphor over ten years ago, and it rings truer today than when he first coined it. Since the advent of Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel, 30 plus years ago, we have been able to measure job performance with increasing accuracy as well as more intrusiveness. Whereas, spreadsheets were first used to help us perform better, they have now morphed into being used to dictate and monitor increasingly challenging performance metrics. Is it any wonder that each little box in a spreadsheet is called a “cell”? Just like prison, these cells keep getting smaller and just like government budgets, each metric usually increases over time.

Spreadsheet technology gave way to the idea of Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. For your company, these are metrics based almost entirely upon historical performance, yet are prone to increase or tighten every time they are reviewed. This is fine for a machine that you can tweak and improve with newer technology, but when the key components are you and your co-worker, constant increases can stifle your creativity and crush your ability to care. The machine literally drains you of your humanity and what are human beings without that?

Powerful forces, problem or Agile Opportunity?

Thus we have two powerful forces working against us. Firstly, constantly increasing performance metrics keep limiting our ability to be human. Secondly, increasingly efficient computers and machines make obsolete more of our opportunities to earn. The good news is that those who understand these powerful forces and the change they are bringing can begin directly to increase their creativity, as well as hone their ability to sense, relate and lead.

What if this measurement trend also is forcing us to take more personal responsibility to relearn and improve the skills necessary for not just emotional, but social competence? Don’t think this is important? One of the seminars held at this year’s Davos World Economic Forum was titled, “Maintaining Your Humanity”. Even the Elites now get it.

Competing with an increasingly sophisticated computer or machine for jobs that technology can do better is not a winning strategy! Especially if you wish to remain healthy and prosperous. The one area that for the foreseeable future will remain the domain of humans is where feelings and relationships come into play. These areas include but are not limited to:

Customer Service
Healthcare
Sales
Leadership
Music and arts
Each one of these areas of human endeavor requires feeling and sensitivity to succeed. Computers and machines cannot do that. Machines can measure and they can perform without rest, but they cannot not feel anything while performing or when they objectively measure and communicate the results. This job is left for us to interpret and enjoy, or not.
Conclusion: Remain Human, Get Agile, or Be Swallowed by the Technology

If you want to insure your ability to earn a living going forward, you need to begin now to optimize your use of computer and machine skills, while simultaneously rediscovering and mastering your ability to be vibrant human being. Missing this opportunity may not affect you tomorrow, but sooner or later the Technologically Weighted Future we are all tumbling into will catch up to even you!

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Learn How to Avoid Doing Succession Wrong

I have met with CEOs and corporate executives many times during my coaching career. Many I have met with recently have shared how they are planning to retire in the next couple of years, and their executive team plans to follow shortly afterward. I always make it a point to ask about the amount of knowledge, skill and experience that will be walking out of the door when the executive team leaves. What surprises me is the managers frequently agrees with me, and they don’t have a plan to prepare.

I would be inclined to believe that if a C-level executive knows there will be a gap when they leave, shouldn’t the executive begin preparation to close it. Shouldn’t the executive do more than just make a selection of who will be succeeding him/her and the members of the team? A strategic leader would bridge the gap by putting the successors in leadership development training. I am often told the successors are mentored by the individuals they are replacing, but that will not be enough.

The successors will be dealing with a workforce comprised of millennials who have a very different approach to work. Chances are the organization will be changing the way it does things due to innovation, so only a portion of what the mentor offers will be useful. The other dynamic to consider is that employees only stay around for two or three years so chances are the successor will have to develop skills to engage a new employee they do not know.

I agree that the mentoring time with the current executive in the position is needed to close the technical gaps of the position. However, there are still the people skills that are required to ensure successors have the talent to inspire their team to move in the strategic direction developed for the organization. Being fit to execute is crucial when a strategic plan has been developed to keep the company relevant over the next year or so.

An assessment can be used to ensure there is a managerial fit based on the skills needed for the position. The assessment may give insight that the successor may be a better fit in another part of the organization. The assessment will reveal where development is needed for the position. An assessment will also tell you things about the successor you will not be able to detect through daily interaction. One area you will not be able to detect managerial fit is their top three priorities when it comes to working in an organization.

Leadership development is needed to ensure the successor is equipped to execute their portion of the strategic plan. Being fit to execute means that the successor has the skills to be flexible in their leadership. Most leaders fall short in communication. Understanding that one size does not fit all when it comes to communicating with each member of the team can prove to be valuable. There are seven ways to communicate when leading the team. There is a particular situation that dictates when to use each method when addressing a member of the team.

Employee engagement is crucial. The successor should be looking for opportunities to know the new team members and their career aspirations. The new leader must be clear with communicating expectations and what success in the role looks like for supporting the strategic direction. The most important question a leader can ask when attempting to increase employee engagement is, “What help do you need from me?” This question is a game changer.

When succession planning is done right, selections are made based on a personality and skills match which can only be conveyed by an assessment. The successors are going to need to grow their leadership in areas where the assessment indicates where the executive is lacking, so leadership development training will be necessary. If you have a strategic plan in place, the leadership training will also help if new members come on the team. The leadership training will teach the successors how to build relationships as quickly as possible, so there aren’t any gaps when it is time for the old guard to retire.

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5 Top Advantages of Promotional Tents for Events

Business Can Be Taken To Different Locations

Most companies conduct business and engage with potential customers by means of showrooms. However, the problem is, traditional showrooms are rigid and inflexible. If they want to let more people from other places know about their brand, it is best to rent or purchase a marquee tent, which is available at local event companies.

All they need to do is set up the pop up tent at trade shows, community fairs, markets or wherever their customer base is located. They will have their own space and use customized branding so consumers will remember their business.

Boost Engagement Using a Standout Display

Companies can network and engage with prospects at trade events. However, it can be hard to get the people’s attention when there are lots of other businesses around. Therefore, they need to do something to let their company stand above the rest of the crowd.

They can customize their event tents with colored walls of their choice and canopies. They can also print their branding in full-color text complete with graphics. High quality tents can draw more customers and provide them with an opportunity to market their brand and products.

When businesses participate in trade events on a regular basis, a marquee event tent can help a lot.

Tents are versatile and User-Friendly

A number of the biggest companies join extravagant traveling road shows that feature modified trucks and campers. This can be cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses. On the other hand, a tent can be a versatile and cost-efficient solution that offers most of the several advantages given by a motorized showroom.

Modern tents are not only safe; they are also easy to assemble using uncomplicated tools. Basic marquee tents can be assembled by only a few skilled team members, reducing costs in the long run.

Marquee Tents are Effective for Sponsorship

One of the effective ways to develop a brand is by engaging with a community. When a business entails some sort of sponsorship, it would be a great idea to rent a marquee tent for a single event or invest in a customized one to use for a long time. This can be used in community functions, sports events and local farmer’s markets, to name a few. When businesses are active in their community, using a tent with clear, visible branding can provide people with a shaded area during events.

They can optimize their marketing by means of creative brand exposure at sponsored events.

Promotional Tents Are Cost Effective

To minimize costs while keeping their business lean and agile, companies can rent or buy a commercial/event tent from their local event tent company. A marquee tent allows them to set up wherever they are, when they are hosting an event on their property or heading out on the road.

The features of versatile marquee tents include interchangeable canopies and walls, mounting solutions for decorations and lighting plus connecting structures that can create a bigger complex of tents for projects like trade shows.

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Important Factors to Consider When Creating a Website

Purpose of Creating the Website

When a website is built with a purpose in mind, this will let businesses have clearer goals that will enable them to improve the whole planning process. Website projects have different goals including building traffic and improving communications between a brand and its target audience.

Prior to developing a website, it is crucial to know the exact purpose of the website. Businesses should also know the best way to set goals and create a website that meets this ultimate purpose. These important things to consider will help them create a focus and support the whole project.

Web Design and Layout

The way a website is designed, in terms of UI and UX, psychologically affects the way people respond. There is nothing better than a remarkable online user experience. When a website is being developed, one vital factor to keep in mind is creating an appealing design. Clean, quality designs allow viewers to focus on valuable content displayed and the brand’s essence.

Typography

It is very important to understand the typography fundamentals for a website. Texts that are extremely big or small can have an effect on the viewers’ response to them. Fonts should be given close attention, choosing one that directly draws the target audience without compromise to the brand’s purpose.

Security

A lot of websites fall prey to hackers either because of ignorance or poor maintenance. Any website can become a victim of several threats including malware and viruses, among others, particularly due to the latest advancements in technology and constant updates that make websites open to many, different risks.

Performance and Speed

Even if websites have great content, visitors can be discouraged when they are slow due to functionality errors. An optimized website that functions fast can benefit from the following: increase in returning visitors/customers, higher search result ranking (that has an effect on traffic) plus efficient mobile performance. These should always be considered before building a website to make sure of an overall effective performance.

Target Market

It is also important for businesses to know their target market and customers’ requirements to build a website that addresses their needs. For instance, a website designed for fashion enthusiasts is far more different than a site built for engineering professionals. A clear understanding of the market specifications will give a clearer picture of the web design, colors, style theme, layout, call to action and content strategy.

SEO and Important Plugins

SEO is among the most important aspects of a website. Even with great content and other smooth functionalities, everything will be pointless if SEO is not given importance. Creating a website that has a clean SEO code will make it easier to be visible to the target audience.

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6 Elements of Web Design That Are Crucial to Success

1.Call to Action (CTA)

Customers get encouraged to engage with a business when there are calls to action (CTAs) on its website. For instance, words like “Contact us today” shows that a business wants to build a relationship with its customers. However, businesses should make sure that CTAs are relevant to a visitor’s level of engagement with the company.

When visitors are only starting to learn more about a brand, the company can ask them to subscribe to its email newsletter. On the other hand, loyal customers will probably like to join a brand’s loyalty rewards program. No matter what companies want visitors to do at their site, they should add a call to action on all their web pages.

2.Short Loading Time

Whenever people search information on the web, they like the loading time to be as quick as possible. Otherwise, they will leave the website at once. Testing their website beforehand will allow them to determine loading time problems, which can be addressed in time for the site’s release.

Providing customers with a great user experience will increase customer retention so it is best to evaluate a site’s loading time the moment it has launched. With short loading times, customers get the information they need when they need it. When a website fails to deliver, it will be left behind by competition.

3.Active Blog

An active blog enables customers to remain updated on the company’s events, most recent products and other industry-related info. It is an effective way to stay connected with them, particularly if the things that companies post encourage viewers to engage with their brand.

Updating their blog on a regular basis lets customers know more about their brand’s values and willingness to encourage communication. When they deliver fresh, relevant, engaging content to users, their brand becomes recognized, which makes them an authority in the industry.

4.Clean, SEO-Friendly Code

It is crucial for companies to have a clean, SEO-friendly code when they are creating new web pages or optimizing those that already exist. Improving a site’s code can boost the overall ROI (return on investment).An SEO-friendly code give a clean picture of a site’s content to guide search engine spiders.

WordPress and other CMS services offer plug-ins that can make the process of boosting search engine rankings and cleaning up code easier. Since WordPress does not require much knowledge on coding, it is a viable solution for companies that struggle to drive traffic to their sites.

5.Compatibility with Different Browsers

With the progress of technology comes the steady growth of internet browsers. It can be challenging to keep up with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox, to name a few. In designing a website, it is a must to make sure that a website can be reached from different browsers.

A site should register well on the major browsers as well as the older versions. Ignoring this important step may disregard a big percentage of a company’s customer base. It can bring about unnecessary expenses to a developing business.

6.Navigation

When customers find it hard to navigate a website, they will leave and move on to other sites. To make navigation more appealing and efficient, businesses should review their site and look at it in the eyes of a new visitor. They should only choose sensible navigation streams.

Including a site map is an effective way to allow visitors to navigate more easily and search engines to crawl a site. In addition, streamlining navigation by removing pages that are not needed or do not perform can reduce load time, which in turn improves the quality of a brand’s online presence.

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Should You Go for Mobile Sites or Responsive Sites

According to statistics, using mobile devices to conduct searches online has considerably grown in the last two years. As a matter of fact, about 95% of mobile device users depend on their gadgets to look for local products and/or services. For this reason, businesses have to make sure that their websites register well on all kinds of devices to reach this increasing number of mobile users.

It is but wise for large companies with web presence to create a mobile-friendly website that can be clearly viewed from any device. So, when businesses plan to launch a new website, it is best to choose a responsive web design that is able to adapt to any mobile device.

Incorporated with Social Media

Nowadays, websites are required to be integrated with social media. Due to the latest technology, sharing information is now more convenient therefore; businesses that do not incorporate social media fail to benefit from the so-called modern day word-of-mouth marketing.

Social media paves a way for customers to promote a business’ brand, give reviews and be updated about the latest news on the company. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest make it easy for businesses to distribute their written and visual content like product images and brand videos.

Captcha Tests

Businesses that do not have ready captcha tests receive nothing but spam in their contact forms, website forms and comment sections. Such tests that come in the form of random letters and numbers typed before submission of a web-based form, spell the difference between humans and robots.

Including these short captcha tests in their contact forms will make sure that humans alone are able to utilize their site’s resources, which let them save both time and costs.

Efficient Security

As technology evolves, the latest, more advanced security risks have greater chances of compromising a website’s reputation. These include malware, viruses, malicious apps as well as the dangers posed by hackers. Websites have to prevent security breaches on the front and back ends.

Ecommerce sites and other websites designed to conduct online transactions require extra security measures to secure customer personal details. To reduce the possibility of browser-based risks, businesses should include SSL certificates in their websites.

While this is being developed, it is crucial to go over the security features added to the website’s framework and design. It is important, as well, to conduct security checks on a regular basis or else, hire the services of a provider for the job.

Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials, just like offsite reviews, can be used to promote businesses. Including customer testimonials on a site will reveal more about a company’s products, services and customer commitment.

When companies have an existing loyal customer base, they can solicit some online reviews. In case these customers provide their recorded testimonials, this is the right time to make branded videos. The more sincere and detailed testimonials provide more chances of drawing new customers.

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Better Academic Outcomes In Small Schools

Small schools have great variety. We learned that we don’t need standardized schools — that kills the soul! In Chicago we saw fabulous small schools that were Afro-centric, schools that focused on phonics, fabulous small schools about whole language, small schools that are using the city as a place to investigate. Why? Because they were small, they were focused and they beat the odds on academic outcomes. Small schools are the single most powerful intervention that we can imagine for young people. And the evidence at high schools was even more powerful, as you’ll see in our report.

Learning Lessons

There are now data from 25 years on big mistakes we make when we’re reforming high schools. The data reveal these myths:

• Myth One: You can reform schools incrementally. Forget it. You never get to where you thought you were going. Despite your anxiety, work the hard issues up front; you cannot work your way into them. You cut too many deals if you ease off and make everybody happy in the beginning. And I see a lot of people doing that. I’ve seen too many schools start out saying we’re going to break big schools into small schools. They keep almost everything the same. And within three years, they end up with a couple of interdisciplinary classes. The bottom of the school — where failure is more evident — is never touched.
• Myth Two: You can keep the same infrastructure. We’re still going to have the principal, the 16 vice principals, all those deans for discipline, the boys’ deans and the girls’ deans. And department heads and counselors that are organized by an alphabet, and then classroom teachers, who are doing the real work. And what we’re going to do now, maybe, is take the department heads and make them the heads of the small schools. Forget it. This is a time for serious conversation. Where I’ve seen it done well, like in New York City, labor unions have been fabulously supportive. Yet, I keep hearing from management how labor won’t go for it, so they’re not willing to push the limits. You can’t keep the same infrastructure.
• Myth Three: You need a separate ninth grade. One lesson is don’t do a ninth grade school – a kind of vertical, horizontal thing. You just create another threshold, and then the students drop out after ninth grade. If you’re going to build a community, it’s nine-12. And you know what, the seniors do not molest the ninth graders. They help them!
• Myth Four: Veteran teachers are cynical. “Old” teachers can’t and won’t do what’s necessary, and their experience equals burnout. We have seen the limit of treating experienced teachers like they are dead wood. A bunch of schools in New York decided to hire young, excited, amazing young people from Brown and Wesleyan. And they’re all really, really smart. But it would have been nice to have some teachers who know something.
• Myth Five: Standards and standardization are the same. Standards are not the same as standardization. Small schools, by their nature, are very interested in being held accountable — which is one of the remarkable things about small schools. The parking lots aren’t empty at 2:00 p.m. Teachers hold each other accountable; they hold the students accountable; parents hold the teachers accountable; and everybody holds the parents accountable. Kids hold themselves accountable. Standards are not the same as being the same.
• Myth Six: Professional development has to happen from the outside. Teachers have an incredible amount of knowledge, if given the space to say what 20 years inside dysfunctional institutions has done to them. A relation between inside and outside expertise is fragile — and powerful.
• Myth Seven: Tokenism will solve the problem. Two more black faces in an AP class just doesn’t do it for me. You can’t just play with the top and color-coat. You’ve got to take on the whole thing. Whole-school reform is the point.
• Myth Eight: One of my worst nightmares is when people turn small schools into tracks. There was a school somewhere in America, where administrators decided that they’d have five small schools inside one previous big-school building. So one school was going to be the Special Ed school; one was going to be the Chapter One school; one was going to be the pregnant and parenting school; and one was going to be the language school, for the Latino kids. And then, one school was going to be the humanities school, to attract the middle-class white kids back to the school. That’s not what anybody ever meant by small schools. That is a fundamental distortion. Small schools are heterogeneous, and commit to figuring out how to bring the genius out in everyone.
• Myth Nine: The illusion that accountability means rules and surveillance of teachers and students. That is not accountability, that is oppression. Accountability comes from relationships and responsibility. That’s what small schools produce. You can’t hide. It’s a group of committed folks.

Accountability requires autonomy. A big mistake is not giving small schools the autonomy that they need to do the work that they need to do. Small school teachers, and parents, and community members are willing to be held accountable. But the only way they can be held accountable is if you give them the autonomy to develop the curriculum, to organize their time, to figure out their assessment system and the ways that they would measure student progress. We could always close down small schools if they don’t work. However, we don’t close down big high schools when they don’t work. Close small schools down if they don’t work, but first, give them time. Let them grow. Don’t make autonomy a gift that some schools can earn. That’s a setup. Make autonomy a beginning condition. Then put people under the light of surveillance if they screw it up. What we do now is put everybody under the light of surveillance, and it chokes them.

What’s Needed Now?

First, I’m very taken by this “metropolitanization” analysis. It’s a good idea, and very useful to document the space of injustice between what’s happening in urban areas and what’s happening just on the other side of the border. In education, we could easily do that. We could track who’s in Special Ed; who’s getting college-eligible courses; who’s in AP classes; what are the post-graduate outcomes; how much teachers get paid; what are the drop-out rates across our cities; and where are the certified teachers. And we could document pretty easily the redlining of public education.

Second, we need a theory of change. I don’t think it’s hard to imagine where we need to go. That’s not the mystery. How to get there is not so clear; and how to get there systemically is less clear. I’m tired of hearing small schools is not a systemic strategy. It could be a systemic strategy if districts figured out how to learn from small schools rather than crush them. So we need a joint strategy of internal-to-districts work, and external advocacy. There are teachers who are quitting because they won’t teach English only. There are teachers who are refusing to place kids in a bottom track. There are parents who are creating freedom schools in the South, and some of that is getting called home schooling. And not all of those people are our enemies. They are asking for inside help and external push. We need the combination of pilots and protests. We need the melding of internal reform and sit-ins. We need to be working both sides. This is what I mean by the politics of urgency.

Third, we need to offer support for teachers and parents and places not yet engaged in reform. Too many of our friends are teaching and working and committed to schools that haven’t yet done the work. What we can’t do is only go to the places where there’s sufficient energy for change or we will lose some of our most dedicated buddies and friends. I know many of us have committed to staying in places that are not “there” yet, and you’re doing God’s work. Thank you all.

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