EDLD 5304 - Becoming a Self-Differentiated Leader

Updated: Feb 25, 2019


From the beginning, I have often wondered how I was going to make it happen. I knew I had good verbal skills but would they be enough. I have already had a few setbacks and I can see now that it is not the innovation that is the problem, its simply my presentation. It is all starting to fall into place with the skill I am learning. Like many things learned, these are ones that reading alone will not suffice. i need to not only understand them, I need to practice applying them and integrating them together.



The beginning was to establish my "Why" I wanted to introduce my disruptive innovation. What I my reasoning behind it? What is my driving force which leads me to believe it is truly important. Can I convince others that what I have to say is achievable, regardless of how impossible it may seem. That giving students the choice of how they do it, the ownership for their ePortfolios, and using their own voice and authenticity to create a significant learning environment is possible (Harapnuik,Thibodeaux,& Cummings, 2018). The why is the foundation of the entire project. I will need to have them see my vision, to see the possibilities it can have.



In order to convince others of my innovation, I need to have a strategy of how to influence them. Enter the Influencer Model. Here, I need to remain focused and have a form of measuring what the goal as well as finding the behaviors that are vital actions to produce the change. I also focus on the six sources on influence, personal motivation and ability, social motivation and ability, and structural motivation and ability. Ideally, getting all six on the first attempt guaranties success; the likelihood of that occurring is slim on the outset. It is a cycle of creating changes to reach a majority of individuals. "This ability to create changes in human behavior is called influence and the people who do it, influencers" (Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, Patterson, & Switzler, 2013).



So now I have their attention, just what are we doing? There are two components which go hand in hand to achieve the Wildly Important Goal (WIG). The first is the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) and the 5 stages of change (Covey, Huling, McChesney 2012). The components of any goal are that it must be realistic, it must be achievable and and it must have a measure. The WIG is our goal and we use lead measures to determine what needs to be done, these tie into the Influencer model ability sources. The lag measures determine if we accomplished it after the fact. Lead measures can be adjusted as we progress, lag measures reflect what we did and cannot be adjusted. To determine if we are succeeding, we have a simple scoreboard that is available to all members of the team and can be easily interpreted. A continuous cycle of weekly meeting enables team members discuss issues, provide peer review and assist each other with issues that may arise. When the WIG is achieved, we will develop a new WIG and start the process again.



In order to make it all happen, we need to have crucial conversations. This is the area in which I have to work on the most. Having the greatest WIG, implementation plans, technology, etc., are subject to fade away unless I become a self-differentiated leader who can have crucial conversations with team members to make it all happen. These crucial conversation happen when 3 elements are present, opposing opinions, strong emotions and high stakes are present (Grenny, McMillan, Patterson, & Switzler, 2012). From beginning to end, having crucial conversation requires staying aware of signals that provide information as to whether there will be success or failure. Emotional will run high for me so I must endeavor to keep them in check. I must maintain a safe environment so that the conversation will move forward, keeping in mind what is the best outcome for all so it is not a I win and you lose conversation. It needs to be a win-win. If I can achieve all this during a crucial conversation, then I will be a self-differentiated leader,


Covey, S., Huling, J., & McChesney, C. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: achieving your wildly important goals. New York: Free Press.


Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., Patterson, K., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Grenny, J., McMillan, R., Patterson, K., & Switzler, A. (2012).Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Harapnuik, D., Thibodeaux, T. & Cummings, C. (2018) COVA: Choice, Ownership and Voice through Authentic Learning. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=7291




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